ECO SCHOOLS Green Flag Assessment - October 2018
On Tuesday 16th October, we welcomed Mrs Stewart, an Eco-Schools Assessor, and shared our school's Eco journey so far with her. She was very impressed with all the projects we are undertaking and how Eco-friendly our school is. She also gave us some very good ideas about how to develop our work.
She decided that our school deserved the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award... we are very proud of our efforts and pleased they have been recognised to achieve this prestigious award. We are waiting for our certificate to come in the post!!
Improving the School Grounds - October 2018
Identifying trees in our school grounds - October 2018
We are working towards gaining the RSPB Wildlife Challenge Silver Award - this is our latest activity. We invited Eco friends to join us in a leaf identification walk around the school grounds. This counts towards the 'experiencing nature' strand of our journey towards achieving the Silver Award.
Children, parents, friends and staff all came together on Saturday 6th October to make improvements to our school garden. Many hours of weeding, cutting back, tidying and waste disposal was undertaken as the garden had almost transformed into a jungle over the summer holidays. See the slideshow below to see the 'before', 'during' and 'after' photographs. Everyone's efforts mean that the children can begin to use the garden again to enjoy and support curriculum work.
Clearing the Raised Beds
Over the summer holidays, the beds became a little overgrown. We spent some time with Mrs Rhodes cutting things back and harvesting the remaining vegetables. We have grown some lovely rhubarb. We found a very jumpy amphibian living amongst our plants too!
Helping Nature - Bird Kebabs
As part of our work towards achieving the RSPB Silver award, we decided to make bird kebabs. No, no, that's not kebabs made out of birds! We made up many yummy kebabs of food (apples, wholegrain bread, cheese and raisins), hung them up outside in our garden, and waited for the birds to invite themselves for lunch!!
Meet the Eco-Team 2018-2019
We've achieved the RSPB Wild Challenge Bronze Award! July 2018
Sensing and Exploring Nature - July 2018
As part of our RSPB Wild Challenge award, we undertook an experiencing nature activity. This involved evaluating how well B&Q's Garden Paint range does actually reflect the colours of nature. We used their colour palette to investigate this. We found that they matched perfectly!
Harvesting and tasting our produce!
We picked our broad beans and invited children to come and join us on the playground to sample them. Despite the heat, our plants are continuing to grow well... a big thank you to After School Club who have been helping with the watering. A few weeks later, we enjoyed picking our peas, broad beans, onions, courgettes and potatoes.
We have used an area of our raised vegetable beds on the playground to grow some wild flowers. The raised bed in the garden that we had mostly cleared needs further work - we are hoping to plant bulbs in this and sow wildflowers in the next academic year.
The Eco-Team were keen to give bees, as some species are in decline or 'at risk', a helping hand by growing a few native wildflowers.
Monitoring Electricity Usage
We have been monitoring our usage of electricity for some time now and are pleased to announce that consumption has reduced this term following our assembly at the end of the Spring Term. The Eco-Team are evaluating how well classrooms are abiding to our newly revised Eco-Code on a daily basis.
Things are growing well...already we have harvested a bunch of radishes...which the Eco Team were keen to try!
Following the clearing of our wildlife pond and the purchase of pond dipping equipment, classes were invited to use the equipment to help establish which living creatures are present in our pond. We found lots of life! We identified lots of different creatures using information and classification sheets.
RSPB Wildlife Challenge Award
As part of our work towards achieving the RSPB Wildlife Challenge Bronze Award, we invited pupils, during our Hedgehog Awareness assembly, to come and work with us to make Hedgehog shelters - 'Hog Houses'. Following the RSPB instructions to make these, lots of children joined the Eco Team to make some. The following week, we put them in the hedgerows at the end of our school field. Many children also made 'Hog Houses' at home and sent photographs in of their handiwork!
Hedgehog Awareness & Update Assembly
The Eco Team updated the school community with their news...
The whole school have voted to adopt a marine animal - either the dolphin or sea turtle. The results were shared - the dolphin won! The adoption certificate and information about the pod we've adopted from the WWF, using the money raised at the Christmas Fayre, is displayed on the Eco Board. The class that is deemed to be the best at following our newly revised Eco Code each week will be given the dolphin cuddly mascot to take care of.
The garden is very lively with birds nesting in the boxes we've installed and a duck has decided to hatch her ducklings by our wildlife pond. We have 13 very cute ducklings living right in the heart of our school. See the photographs below... We have put up tally charts, on the Eco board, to complete when a particular type of bird is spotted through the windows so that we can track our visitors.
It is Hedgehog awareness week 6th- 13th May so the Eco Team reminded children of ways to help hedgehogs and of what to do if they found a hedgehog in trouble. We decided to show children how to make a hedgehog house and have invited pupils to our next meeting to help us make some to put at the end of our school field. Children have been given leaflets outlining instructions of how to make these hedgehog homes at home with their parents and the number for a local sanctuary if they should find a hog in trouble.
We used the money we raised at the Christmas to sponsor the Ileach dolphin pod in the Scottish Hebrides. Our adoption will help the WWF protect marine life, create more protected areas in key marine habitats and promote ways to reduce the accidental ‘bycatch’ of dolphins by encouraging the use of selective fishing gear.
Planting for Wildlife...
The Eco Team, with Mrs Rhodes, have been working really hard to clear a raised bed in our school garden so that we can sow some wild flower seeds. The bed was full of long grass and gravel which made the job very difficult...but we persevered and managed to clear most of it! Watch this space for developments...
Raised Beds - April
Spring Term 2018
Biodiversity Work - March 2018
Archie very kindly brought some frog spawn to add to our pond. Mrs Rhodes brought some bird nests and a box to provide a safe haven for birds wanting to a place to stay. We added these to some of the tree branches.
Update Assembly - March 2018
The Eco Team led an update assembly to inform the school community about our projects including: revising the school's Eco Code; clearing the pond; working with a mentor from West Lancs Community Voluntary Services to make a good start to the growing season in the raised beds and planting bulbs at the front of school. As we are working towards applying for Eco-Schools Green Flag status, we are currently monitoring electricity usage and have appealed to the school community to help reduce the amount we use.
With the money raised from the Christmas Fayre, we have decided to sponsor a marine animal through the WWF. This is in response to what we discovered during our recent 'Darwin Day' about the amount of plastic that is in our oceans and the affect it is having on animals. The 'toy' animal which we will receive as part of the adoption pack will be the mascot of whichever class is judged to be the most eco-friendly each week. It is down to a whole school vote as to whether to adopt a dolphin or a sea turtle.
Improving the School Grounds
The Eco Team have undertaken an environmental review which has enabled us to see how well (or not) the school is performing across all nine Eco-School topics. This has helped us to gain a realistic picture of our current environmental and sustainability performance inside and outside of the classroom. From this review, we decided to spend some time planting some daffodil and crocus bulbs at the front of school and tidied up any litter that had blown onto our premises. Mrs Brookes, one of our parents, very kindly donated the bulbs that we planted - thank you!
Mrs Rhodes, another parent, is a very valued member of our Eco Team and she, with Mrs Bradley, helped us with the planting.
The Eco Team have been fortunate to receive further help to improve the raised beds from Mrs Alison Wall, a mentor from West Lancs Voluntary Community Services.
Alison worked with the Eco Team to help begin getting the beds ready for the growing season and undertake some seed sowing inside, where the children learnt about various types of seeds and the different techniques required. They planted some herbs and some rhubarb in the raised beds in a section of one of the beds. Watch this space for more growing projects...
Clearing the Pond
The environmental review also highlighted the need to clear the pond located in the heart of our school. This is a fabulous resource that we are keen to ensure is used frequently by all classes. The pond was thick with vegetation. Mrs Rhodes, a parent helper, has very kindly taken the lead in ensuring the pond is cleared to allow living things/ecosystems to flourish. We hope to encourage classes to use the pond and garden to enhance learning in many curriculum areas. We are looking into ways of facilitating further improvement of the pond - e.g. better covers and replenishment of rotten wood surrounding the edge.
Autumn Term 2017
The Eco Team decided to try and raise some money for future projects. They worked tirelessly to plant 80 crocus bulbs and decorate the pots to look like Rudolph. They also made a range of decorations and Mrs Bradley made a beautiful wreath which we raffled.
How do fireworks and bonfires affect pets and wildlife?
The Eco Team led an assembly to raise awareness - October 23rd 2017
The Eco Team delivered a fantastic assembly today, during which they explored how fireworks and bonfires can frighten pets and wildlife. They shared some top tips for helping animals to feel safe on bonfire night.
They also linked their message to our ongoing British Values work. They gave information about a Government Petition that was set up last year to allow the public to share their opinion that fireworks should only be let off on traditional celebration dates.
Because fireworks now occur at all times of the day and evening for many weeks during the autumn and winter, pet and animal owners struggle to keep their companion animals safe during this extended time.
Many people think it is unfair that animals have to experience stress and fear because fireworks are let off on lots of different nights not just the traditional nights.
A petition is a list that people add their names to if they agree with an idea. It's a way to make people in power listen when a group thinks something should be changed.
The petition got 104,038 signatures and the issue was debated in Parliament. Click on the link to watch a video that explains more about this… http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/36467346
Harvesting our Vegetables - October 2017
During the summer holidays, our vegetables grew but unfortunately so did the weeds!! We managed to harvest some pumpkins, courgettes, apples, potatoes, beans and rhubarb. We also found some very exciting, living creatures in our beds!
We have quite a task ahead of us to clear the weeds and get ready to grow new plants. Fortunately, we have a new parent on board the Eco Team - Mrs Rhodes - who will be very generously sharing her time and expertise to help us with the raised beds. We have also secured some mentor time with a lady called Alison Wall who works for West Lancs Community Voluntary Services. She will be coming to work with the Eco Team to develop the beds very soon.
Adding to our raised beds - June 2017
Mrs Walmsley and Mrs Russmann have very kindly passed some further plants to us for our raised beds. Many of the seedlings previously planted are not doing so well but we do have some beans and peas growing. We have added the new plants - rhubarb, pumpkins, courgettes and tomatoes. Fingers crossed that they grow well!
Planting our seedlings - May 2017
Following weeding and replenishing some of the top soil in two of our raised beds, the Eco Team worked really hard to transfer the seedlings that we had grown. Despite lots of TLC, some of the seeds didn't thrive into healthy plants.
Hedgehog Awareness Week - May 2017
The Eco Team planned and delivered a fantastic assembly which aimed to inform the children about hedgehogs, the reasons for their rapid decline and how they could help a hog in trouble. They also designed an information leaflet, which all pupils took home, to share with parents/carers to support and reinforce the messages delivered during the assembly. Thank you to one of our Governors - Dawn Forster - who brought this initiative to our attention, acquired lots of reading material for us and took a keen interest in this project.
If you find a hedgehog during the daytime, it is likely that it is in trouble.
Woodlands - a local sanctuary in Holmeswood, give useful advice on their website:
Developing our raised beds - March/April/May 2017
Following an audit, the Eco Team decided to improve the school grounds. They decided an area of priority was to develop the raised beds on the playground. Very kindly, one of our Governors - Robert Johnson, provided us with a range of seeds which we have planted. They are starting to grow and we will be transferring the seedlings to the raised beds shortly.
We have received a delivery of a one tonne grab bag of top soil/compost which has been funded by 'All About Food Ltd' - a local company in Skelmersdale. This will be used to replenish the beds with fresh soil before transferring the seedlings.
Woodland Trust - March 2017
Over the next 10 years the Woodland Trust is aiming to plant 64 million trees. We have planted 30 of these at the end of our school field!
We planted 10 Silver Birch, 10 Hazel and 10 Rowan trees.
Great British Clean Up #litterheroes
We took part in the 'Great British Spring Clean'. This is an important campaign, in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, with one simple ambition - to bring together people from across the country to clear up the litter that blights our towns, villages, countryside and coastline.
With this in mind, we were determined to do our bit for our community. In just over an hour, we collected 12.5kg of litter from Hesketh Lane and Fermor Road. We were very proud of our efforts.