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Fearnhill Eco Action Team – Mission Update!

Since the Fearnhill pond was completed, there has been a lot of activity at Fearnhill.  Shortly after the Easter holidays a group of Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils took part in a Woodland Trust Tree for All campaign which saw them in the middle of a field in their wellies helping to plant trees to create Hartswood forest, an area that is going to develop to be the largest native woodland in England.  Three lucky pupils were also selected to take part in a memorial tree planting as part of the redevelopment of the town that the school is in.

Planting trees for Hartland Forest

At the end of the Summer term, the whole of Year 8 took part in an Environmental day.  There was a variety of activities on offer including a talk from the local wildlife park who brought in several items to show the pupils; a bearded dragon, corn snake and a lesser hedgehog tenrec, as well as some seized goods from customs including a pair of £16,000 Gucci shoes made of snake skin and some tiger skins.  They talked about endangered animals and what threats they face. After the talk the pupils researched other endangered plant and animal species and made presentations about what they had learnt.


The pupils also took part in a litter survey of our school site and found the results quite shocking, finding over 50 pieces in 15 minutes. There is now an increased anti-litter campaign involving all year groups, promoting ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’.

Looking at the species brought in by Paradise Wildlife Park

The final activity of the day was a sponsored run.  The pupils did very well, either running, walking, skipping or hopping around the school track and several managed over ten laps in less than an hour.  The pupils decided that they wanted the money raised to be used to sponsor an acre of rain-forest, sponsor an orangutan, and donation to a local wildlife trust.

The sponsored run/jog/walk/three-legged race!

Also at the end of the summer term last year, the whole of Year 9 took part in a Science CREST day run by the British Science Association.  Again, the theme was the Environment.  The pupils had to participate in a variety of activities, run by the members of the Science faculty, that involved four themes:

  • Creativity
  • Engineering
  • Science
  • Technology
Preparing the site

The activities included:

  • creating then having to work out how to clear up a mini oil spill and what effects an oil spill will have on its environment
  • building a wind turbine out of recycled materials
  • surveying the plant and animal species found around Fearnhill School
  • purifying dirty water so it was safe to drink to explain that not every one in the world lives in the same type of environment and not everyone has the same resources
  • building eight raised allotment beds for the Fearnhill Fruit and Vegetable Garden with the help of some Year 12s who gave up their free time.  This activity was a massive success, due to the hard work of the pupils.  They marked out the area, dug up the turf, made the raised beds, filled them with a total of 7 tonnes of earth and then constructed nets to protect the veg soon to be growing in the beds; all in ONE day!
Constructing the raised beds

Pupil quotes at the end of the days activities:

‘‘I am now more aware of my environment’’

‘‘It was fun being set different challenges’’

‘‘I want to grow my own veg!’’

140 Year 9 pupils were successful in achieving the Bronze CREST award and will shortly receive certificates from the British Science Foundation who initiated the day.

Making the frame for the net covers

The Fearnhill Eco Club is now fully up and running, the pupils voted to call it Eco Action Team [EAT], and the group is growing rapidly with more and more pupils interested in helping to run the allotments that were built during the CREST day.  There is a late crop of lettuce, beetroots and radishes, ready for the school canteen now!  The EAT have been on a visit to an underwater photography display that focused on the threats that species face due to over fishing, and they have had a meeting with Phil Williams, a charismatic inspiring man who travels around the UK doing talks to schools and businesses about the plight of the rain-forest as well as our local environment.  They are currently planning an environmental-themed fund-raising day to raise money for the EAT to do more valuable work around the school and also to raise awareness of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots.

The net covers for the raised beds

It has been a hectic few months and it doesn’t seem to be slowing, with a Get Your Grown-ups growing event in the pipeline , a whole school survey to find out how the pupils feel we can make the school more environmentally friendly and a group of 20 Year 13 pupils preparing to make a presentation at the Student Earth Summit, Fearnhill is trying hard to raise awareness of the whole school community about the need to us to take care of our environment!

The Stevenage Underwater Photographic Display with Peter Ta'Bois

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