Helping schools achieve 'eco school status'
Sustainability is currently the biggest issue we face both locally and globally. As an environmental organisation Newground is working to be a part of the solution for environmental sustainability in the 21st century. One part of our work is on the Fylde coast, where we have been working with over 400 children from four schools to support the schools in achieving eco school status.
The programme is funded by local company AGC who have their European head office in Thornton Cleveleys and are involved in finding environmental solutions in Industry. The programme is in it’s seventh year and has had a big impact on local schools and local children.
The work has included 41 workshops and outdoor activities which built towards a celebration outdoor conference. Children and young people aged from six to sixteen have learnt traditional skills, developing sustainable practices learning about local ecology and conservation. The project has also supported the setting up and running of “eco committees”, which are a pupil led parent and teacher body that meet half-termly to drive the school’s environmental programme.
Workshop activities included habitat creation, pyrography, bird watching and outdoor cooking. Other activities included:
- Using natural materials to make Christmas decorations
- Bird surveying feeding into the RSPB big bird watch
- Elder jewellery making, using small elder branches to make beads for necklaces and bracelets.
- Healthy eating with smoothie making
- Natural cordage making from raffia and nettles
- Paper making from old used paper
- Making model rafts from natural materials
- Map making using natural materials
- Tree Identification
Dan McDermott, Education and Training Coordinator at Newground, led the sessions which he says are taking schools in a positive direction: “With the environmental challenges facing us now it’s vital we see schools getting involved in the eco-schools programmes. These are led by the children themselves, so giving them the right support while keeping all the activities fun, engaging and environmentally friendly is important.”
One school staff member commented: “The eco committee look forward to every visit from Newground and, as a school, we are able to carry on with what Dan brings to the eco club. We benefit very much as an eco council and a school by having Newground staff here.”
The newest addition to the project is a Fairtrade Forest School Programme which Newground will be running at Anchorsholme School. Look out for news on the website about this through the New Year.