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School is proud of eco ambassadors
5:21pm Wednesday 16th May 2012 in Green living
SOLAR power is responsible for pumping water back for reuse in the stunning water feature in Ringwood School’s climate change garden, one of the more recent green initiatives.
Children admire the stone gecko while learning about water conservation, alternative energy, drought tolerant planting and sustainable gardening, this small garden has it all.
The school already has a solar PV system fitted to its roof so the extra panel in the climate change garden came as no surprise to the 1,600 pupils, and more specifically the 150 pupils who are actively involved in one or more of the eco or Fairtrade groups.
Gill Hickman is head of biology at the school and is the eco co-ordinator. “It is the student engagement with everything that is the most significant feature of the school’s green status.
They are our ambassadors. What we do here is fairly unique as you cannot have a tiny eco group in a school this size.”
Naturally with Gill’s teaching commitment, she couldn’t possible run all the eco groups at the school without some help.
“I could not do this without the sixth form and the older students who are really focused and good at taking responsibility,” she says.
Kirsty was one of a group of students from the school helping to remove Himalayan Balsam, an invasive plant, from Docken’s Water with Hampshire Wildlife Trust.
“We physically had to pull it out and then burn it. I help out in the bio and eco groups in the lower school. It is really good working with the younger pupils. Ellie tells me about the liaison the school has with other schools. “We go out to the local feeder schools and tell them about recycling, getting the younger children to sort things into recycling piles and things like that.”
Robbie talks about the school’s Fairtrade status. “It is not just about having Fairtrade goods in the school but as Ringwood is a Fairtrade town, it extends into the local community as well. It is good to raise awareness of what goes on at home as well.”
During Fairtrade Fortnight held earlier this year there were a number of events at the school including a fashion show and cake and produce sales with as many ingredients for the cakes as possible being fairly traded. “The money raised from sales is reinvested into more Fairtrade produce and to fund other projects,” explains Gill.
Iona has found that helping out in one of the school gardens has given her a new found interest. “It helps you learn about what you can do and to plan and care for you own vegetables. I help in our garden at home now.”
Liam and Leon became interested in the eco groups at the school after reading posters when they first joined the school. “I wanted to learn more,” says Leon, “and now I am an eco-warrior and with my team we go round the school and do paper recycling.”
Four of the students recently had the fantastic opportunity of interviewing actor Colin Firth in his eco shop in Chiswick, finding it hugely inspiring.
And inspiration is the feeling you are left with having spoken to Gill and her group of students.
“We really care about the impact we have on the environment” says Robbie.
“You want children to carry on doing this throughout their lives, not just in school,” signs off Gill.