SCHOOLCHILDREN are joining the stampede that will see a herd of mini rhinos popping up across Hampshire next summer.

As well as life-sized sculptures of the majestic endangered animal creating an unforgettable trail through Southampton, mini versions will be making a welcome addition to the public art extravaganza.

Businesses throughout the county have already been quick to snap up the chance to be part of Marwell Wildlife’s Go! Rhinos project and now schools are being invited to join in the fun that promises to boost the local economy.

The first school to get their mini rhino is Bishop’s Waltham Infant School but bosses at Marwell are urging others to get involved in the schools programme and make next year’s event a huge success.

Ginene Evans, head teacher of Bishop’s Waltham Infant School, said: “We are all very excited to be involved with Go! Rhinos. A huge part of our teaching is children learning about different cultures and looking at animal species and conservation.

“This fits in very nicely with our curriculum and will help children to be aware of issues that animals face in the wild.”

Each school will get their own mini rhino sculpture that pupils can decorate before being added to the trail through Southampton.

The Daily Echo-backed programme is designed to get children learning about rhinos and raise awareness about conservation.

Kirstie Mathieson, project manager, said: “We are thrilled that Bishop’s Waltham Infant School have joined our charge. Our Go! Rhinos Project is a unique way to learn about rhinos – it’s creative, interactive and fun. “Thousands of people will be able to enjoy the work that pupils have produced.”

Schools will be given an education pack full of activities, rhino facts and a school visit from a Marwell Wildlife education officer. Together it will all cost £375.

For more information call Kirstie on 01962 777931.