Schools in the north east are celebrating after pupils took part in a ‘green’ competition with local bus operator, Stagecoach North East, and were selected as winners with a £250 prize.
Lord Blyton Primary School in South Shields, Fairfield Primary School in Stockton, St Mary’s RC Primary School and Broadway Junior School in Sunderland, Atkinson Road Primary School, Milecastle Primary School and Lemington Riverside Primary School in Newcastle and Lynnfield Primary School in Hartlepool entered the eco competition launched by Stagecoach North East as part of its annual Green Week campaign.
Pupils from Reception to Year Six at the various schools took part and were tasked with listing all the ‘green’ activities their school had recently undertaken, including weekly recycling of paper and card, litter picks and energy monitoring.
The youngsters also demonstrated their word skills with an ‘eco’ wordsearch and artistic talents with bright and colourful pictures of an environmentally friendly activity, and the schools were selected as winners from all the schools in the north east, thanks to their efforts.
With a designated ‘Eco Warrior’ team, pupils at Lord Blyton Primary School in South Shields meet weekly to discuss environmental issues and to carry out the various 'green' activities. Taking the environment seriously, the pupils take part in school gardening club and the school provides daily healthy snacks such as fruit, and encourage pupils to choose healthy modes of transport to travel to and from school.
The school was presented with a £250 cheque which will be used to buy eco friendly items for everyone to benefit from, including recycling bins for school. As a thank you to the school and to reward the youngsters for their hard work, the school received a visit from assistant operations manager, Carl Trodden, who works at the bus depot in South Shields.
During his visit, Carl talked to pupils about the ‘green’ activities that take place around the depot, such as sorting waste into bags for recycling, collecting litter and saving energy by using lights that turn off when room are not in use, to help protect the environment.
Eight-year-old Lacey, a pupil at Lord Blyton Primary School, said: "I think that it is really important that we take part in 'green activities' because it helps us to make the world a better place.”
Carl said: “The pupils at Lord Blyton Primary School sent in a fantastic range of colourful activity sheets and thought up some great ideas to be ‘green,’ so well done to all the youngsters who took part.
“The children really enjoyed the visit and it was lovely to see them so enthused about the environment, which they are clearly passionate about. I hope the school can add to its green credentials with the prize and keep up the great work they are doing.”
Lisa Georgeson, Year Three Teacher at Lord Blyton Primary School, said: "I lead the Eco-team in school and will be meeting with the 'Eco-Warriors' to discuss how to spend the prize money. However, they have already talked about buying compost bins to put in the playground, to collect and re-use the fruit peelings, and the possibility of buying plants and bird feeders to enhance our outdoor area further and to encourage nature into the school grounds.
“We participate in various 'green' events, most recently the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and we just recently received our Bronze Schools Eco Award, so we are delighted to receive this prize from Stagecoach North East too.”
Fairfield Primary School, which currently has a Silver Eco Award, also has a designated ‘Eco Heroes’ group ranging from Year 1 to Year 6, which meets regularly to discuss environmental issues and to carry out the various 'green' activities. Taking the environment seriously, the pupils recently raised over £100 to support WWF in their work with endangered Adelie penguins, as part of a topic to look at the wider world, and regularly take part in the Forest Schools programme which explores outdoor and woodland education.
The school has an afterschool Gardening Club where the children are encouraged to grow their own produce, some of which is later used as ingredients for its after school Cookery Club. It also has a wild area and an outdoor classroom, where children have been involved in creating a bug hotel from recycled materials.
The Eco Heroes team were also presented with a £250 cheque which will be used to buy a pond to further the eco work across the school and where the pupils can take part in pond dipping.
Six-year-old Alyysa, a pupil at Fairfield Primary School and member of the Eco Heroes, said: “When I found out we had won the prize I felt happy and excited that we will have our own pond. I’m looking forward to seeing some frogs and lily pads. I really like Eco Heroes because we can talk about what we can do to save electricity and power in our school.”
Mr Ruffel, Headteacher at Fairfield Primary School, said: “As a school, we are very proud of the efforts that all of our children make to improve their local environment and the world we live in. We are particularly proud of the hard work that our eco-heroes put in to make sure these issues take centre stage in school. Well done everyone, and thank you very much to Stagecoach for recognising our commitment to being green.”
The schools also received goody bags and mini sunflower seeded pots, so they could grow their own plants.