Eco Club was established in 1999 by a now retired teacher, Mr Wilkinson and is now run by Mrs Meik, Mrs Jacobs, Mrs Price and community-based volunteers.
The club is made up of 20 pupils from Year 3 up to Year 6, who meet weekly and lead the school in a number of environmental schemes and activities. As a result for their work and the level to which they have raised environmental issues in our community, the school was awarded their fifth Green Flag award last year- which is an outstanding achievement.
Our environmental schemes include:
School Recycling Station
Fruit waste is collected and recycled as compost in the compost area, it is then used on the school grounds. Waste paper is collected from classrooms and offices and sent away for recycling. Children also bring waste card and vegetable peelings from home for composting. Plastics are also collected and taken away by staff for recycling.
The compost area and some of the compost that has been made.
The school has a long-established Wildlife garden and a variety of wild flower species. There is also seating (made from recycled plastic) which enables the area to be used as an outside classroom. This project has recovered an area of barren wasteland and encouraged a wide range of plants, flowers and insects. The Prayer Garden is also an area where children can relax and appreciate the plants and surroundings. Both gardens, as well as other borders and rockery are tended by pupils, supported by staff and community volunteers. Children encourage birds in winter months via home-made bird feeders and nesting boxes.
Children’s Garden and bug houses.
Home-made nesting boxes and mini beast habitats.
Provision of raised beds by local groups, Gentoo and Ayton Allotment Association have enabled pupils to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Tasting what we made!
Going, going, gone!
Looking after the Birds
Each winter the children in Eco club make food to take care of the birds.
Pupils monitor energy readings monthly and form frequent patrols to ‘spot’ left on lights. They give feedback to the whole school in school assemblies. They will subsequently monitor the positive effect of recently fitted double glazing in the school on energy usage.
Eco bought a water butt which collects water from the school roof. This is used to water the garden. Recently, water saving devices were fitted to all hand basins in pupil toilets and new disabled and staff toilets are fitted with efficient water-saving cisterns.
Other achievements include:
Sunderland in Bloom 2007 and 2008
We have won the Conservation Award for two consecutive years.
Walk to School Award
Pupils won a competition by Living Streets promoting walking to school. We were visited by their regional co-ordinator who offered us support in encouraging this in our school and lobbying the council to improve local footpaths and underpasses.
Awareness raising initiatives:
Frequent ‘family’ gardening days.
In October, we hosted staff and pupil representatives from various schools across Sunderland at the request of the LA Sustainability officer. This was part of the LA’s driving to promote Eco Schools. Eco Club pupils and staff gave presentations about establishing eco initiatives in a school community, including a tour of the school premises. This was reported in the local press and a great success. Visiting schools told us that it gave them great ideas and inspiration. Other schools have visited individually to gain inspiration.
Eco Club had a stall at Washington Old Hall open day to raise awareness and raise profile of our work.
Eco Club lead assemblies to keep other pupils up-to-date and raise awareness of issues, including global impact.
Overall consequences of Eco Club’s work
Through the great work of Eco Club, the pupils in our school have a sense of pride in their environment. There is no graffiti or vandalism and any litter is extremely rare. Pupils are very tuned in to recycling and energy conservation. They care for the gardens and enjoy the wildlife.
Their work had enfolded the whole community, widening out to involve families in recycling, composting, caring for the grounds and most recently, supporting many other schools across Sunderland to establish similar initiatives.
Our Eco Code