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Ringwood School Update – People

Many of our projects are not confined to one school term. And several straddle the people, animals and environment divide! PEP TALK, our campaign for the eradication of non-recyclable yogurt pots is an example of both. Running and building throughout the year, it was inspired by graphic images of marine life wrecked by plastic in the Pacific. This simple idea from a school has had real resonance in business with Yeo Valley who have lent massive support and producing their new four pack yoghurts in PET. Students have talked to many groups, such as WRAP, individuals and groups such as Laverstoke Park about the campaign. The path has been, and continues to be challenging, but images of the animals endure, and the next step for these ‘core’ students is the production of a video.

A visit to a company over the county boundary was inspiring. ‘New Earth Solutions’ screen and sort ALL plastics and send them for recycling. Here people and local politics meets environment and it is difficult for students to understand why their own county is supporting more gravel extraction with landfill to follow.

Below –  in discussion at Yeo Valley

Below: Laverstoke Park – interested in selling their products in PET!

 The school as a whole does a great deal for people and for charity. This includes entire days devoted to raising money for a particular charity and entire tutor groups doing likewise. As we cannot claim that these are organised by Roots and Shoots groups, we have omitted them and only included events either organised by Roots and Shoots students or involved them heavily. 

We begin with the story of our participation in a ‘Jane Goodall Day’ at Bournemouth University where we met Dr Jane herself. The story is best told through the voices of Anna  H, Anna S and Ellie B who wrote this for the school newspaper.

On Sunday 22nd May a group of six students from Ringwood School went to Bournemouth University to meet with primary, secondary and university students that are involved with Jane Goodall’s ‘Roots and Shoots’ program. There are now 1,200 Roots and Shoots groups.


The occasion was to mark the 5Oth anniversary of Dr Goodall’s groundbreaking work with the chimpanzees of Gombe. Artworks inspired by the life and work of Dr Goodall were exhibited in the foyer of the University’s Kimmeridge House.


The morning included us presenting our own Roots and Shoots work (and our own art) and looking at the work done by other groups. Our school’s work was projected on a huge screen for all to see. Jane Goodall then walked around the hall to look at the work that the groups had done talked to students individually. Later in the morning Jane gave a truly inspiring lecture about her childhood, her upbringing and how she first got interested in the social life of chimpanzees. We then heard the news, hot off the press, that a beautiful new French rose had just been named ‘Jane Goodall’.


Anna H. said ‘It was a brilliant day and I especially enjoyed her story of the eagle and the wren!’ This story, one of several interesting anecdotes, was used to illustrate the support Jane had been given by many people so that she, like the eagle and then wren, could soar to great heights. We were empowered to follow her lead. 


Dr Jane also introduced us to her new campaign that plans to prevent the trade in ‘bush meat’ and urged us to think and plan for the future of the environment. That, said Jane, was something that chimpanzees could not do!

Students Anna S. and Eleanor B. enthusiastically reported after the lecture, “The day was a huge success and we all enjoyed it. We met lots of great people that we will no doubt keep in touch with! “

Dr Jane asked why man, as the most intellectual creature ever to walk the planet, is destroying it. As a collection of environmentally aware people, everyone in the lecture theatre could relate to that. She urged us to think and plan for the future of the environment. That, she said, was something uniquely human that chimpanzees could not do! We learned about the origin of her mascot, ‘Mr H’, who was passed around the audience. We were also given our own ‘Mr H’ as a reminder of a brilliant day and of our duties to people, animals and the environment.

And the best part of this motivational day? It was difficult to say and opinions of our six students varied. The films of Dr Jane’s work in the afternoon?  Learning that Jane had to work by serving at the Wessex Hotel, Bournemouth to get out to Africa? This was a great lesson for students who want to work in conservation.  Dr Jane’s primate impressions? Everyone agreed they were masterpieces and suggest she makes a recording of them and makes it available as to all Roots & Shoots schools!

Spreading the news

We are in tune with Dr Jane’s message (above) that man, the most intellectual creature ever to walk this planet, often appears bent on destroying it. We do need to plan for the future of the environment, and our Roots and Shoots students have tried very hard to spread this message, talking in their own time, individually and in groups to as many people as possible. Ellie B and Anna S, two of the authors above, have, with another six students worked in reception all year where they meet the public and have had a huge influence on school recycling. Anna S, Anna H and Ellie B have been part of small student teams who have given evening talks about Roots and Shoots and our work, to the Rotary Club and to Hale Climate Change Group. Anna H has opened the door to a small village primary school, meeting with the Head Teacher and paving the way for our new Year 7s to introduce the school to environmental work, including Roots and Shoots.

Head Girl, Abbie G set up a visit to Ringwood Infant School when ten students, a mixture of Sixth Form and Year 7, explained how recycling helps the environment. Abbie reported that lots of the children were well informed and were very quick to sort our pre-prepared bags of ‘rubbish’ into a recyclable pile and a non recyclable pile. At the end of the session they were able to give each child a recycled pencil (made from old newspaper) and a recycled ruler (made from old CD cases). These were kindly donated by New Forest District council.   Our students were invited back to the school’s ‘Rubbish Fashion Show’ three days later and five managed to attend this truly great event where children modelled garments made from recycled wrapping paper! 

Our students introduced Ringwood Juniors to the RHS scarecrow competition knowing it would help them to develop their recycling. The scarecrow had to comply with an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme and obviously recycled materials had to be used.

Accompanied by Agent O on their day off from school, students Lizzie, Verity and Evelyn returned to help with construction! . Lizzie said, “We had a lovely time seeing our old teachers, friends and sisters and getting a bit messy! We also had a great time going back to the playgrounds at break and seeing the changes of our old school.”

This image shows the white rabbit scarecrow. It reached the finals so was exhibited at RHS Wisley all summer. Sadly it didn’t win! We hope that next year, these schools will record these shared events for Roots and Shoots!

The international community

Fairtrade Fortnight started immediately after February half term so is not a summer term event but the events that followed make it worthy of recording.  Students made plans early: and sent away for Fairtrade bunting in January. Such was the demand that within a week no more was available!  Fairtrade Roots and Shoots student made their own design on a piece of Fairtrade cotton and created a lavish display in reception along with the items kindly donated by Timber of Ringwood.

Bunting with infants

Abbie, together with a sixth form team, organised another bunting painting session – at Ringwood Infants. The youngsters spent ten minutes listening to sixth formers explaining what Fairtrade means.  It seems the youngsters understood and much enjoyed their afternoon decorating bunting. Their bunting and ours (some shown below) was then sent to the Fairtrade Foundation for their attempt to break the world record for the longest piece of bunting. The event took place in London last May.

Ringwood School does much with the international community. A school visit to Kenya this summer, for instance, allows students to enjoy Kenya whilst also putting something into the community. We cannot claim this or similar events to be directly connected with Roots and Shoots, so will focus on other events.

Tools for Africa

This summer, after listening to a talk by a spokesperson from Tools for Self Reliance, two large

 groups of students maintained our East African connection by cleaning, polishing and packing tools for the organisation.  Students wrote letters and packed them with the tools before sending the boxes out to community groups in Africa.  The fact that students recognise the importance of this charity is illustrated by the fact that we now have several students who now volunteer at Tools for Self Reliance in Ringwood on Saturdays.

Fairtrade Producers visit

In July, children from our feeder Infant and Junior Schools were treated to a cookery demonstration by the Fairtrade Foundation and our brilliant Agent ‘A ‘who made her legendary Fairtrade Rocky Road.  This was part of our Year 9 Eco and Fairtrade Day when we were lucky enough to be joined by Kate J, Educational Officer of the Fairtrade Foundation.  She brought in Celia M, a representative from Divine chocolate and Joseph, of Panda Flowers which produces about 200,000 roses per day - 40 % of which are Fairtrade. The three visitors stopped off at Ringwood as part of a national tour.  While some students learnt about Fairtrade flowers, others enjoyed a video conference with children on a cocoa cooperative in Ghana. Others learnt about the importance of Fairtrade cotton and tested its physical properties while English students created the drama ‘Fair Play’ and PE held games of Fairtrade basketball and football.

Joseph K said of the day: “I am delighted to be finding out about how schools like Ringwood are campaigning for Fairtrade and talking with pupils of all ages about the difference Fairtrade is making to workers at Panda Flowers and their families.”


Eco and Fairtrade Day is a whole school annual event; again we cannot claim it is specific to Roots and Shoots. However, knowing that certain Roots and Shoots students have done a great deal to promote sustainability throughout the year, those 7 and 8 Roots and Shoots students who had made a significant contribution were invited as a ‘thank you’.  They particularly enjoyed the cookery demonstrations!

Traidcraft visit with a display of Fairtrade products

Students are always keen to extend people’s awareness of the range of goods that can be fairly traded and arranged for an external agent, Agent Maureen H. to set up a big display of Fairtrade products during break. This introduced students to a Fairtrade world beyond chocolate, tea and coffee. The range of products was staggering! The impressive display drew on products available from Traidcraft as well as local shops and supermarkets.

Spreading the Word…

Ringwood is a Fairtrade town and by inviting councillors to our meetings and by having small groups of students attending theirs, we help them maintain that status. We have also joined the Hampshire Fairtrade Network to spread the word still further. In July, Fairtrade Roots and Shoots students were invited to talk to Christchurch, in neighbouring Dorset to further their quest to become a Fairtrade town. 

Principal Chrono-bot Grace has written her own account.

It was nerve-racking experience for three students on Wednesday 6th July as they visited Christchurch Harbour hotel to give a presentation to Christchurch town council and other visitors including the Mayor of Christchurch! Christchurch Borough wanted to follow the example of Ringwood Town to obtain its own Fairtrade status and to do this they needed information and support from their council, schools and businesses. 

The evening consisted of a number of presentations including one given by Rosie, Emma and Grace. The students explained to the council the importance of Fairtrade and the hugely significant impact our small lifestyle choices can have on people in developing countries. They also showcased just a small sample of Ringwood School’s Fairtrade awareness events not only in the school but also in the wider community.

 A Christchurch Town Council member said, “Christchurch councillors are now truly excited by the prospect of becoming a Fairtrade Borough.”

At the end of the presentations Fairtrade snacks were served and it was time to mingle! The students were lucky enough to speak to managers of hotels, retail stores and a holiday park all of whom were impressed and inspired by the presentation. Overall, it was a truly exciting evening, and one that will be remembered by all who attended. Let’s hope that Christchurch follows in the footsteps of Ringwood and the message of Fairtrade continues to spread across our privileged communities.        

Fairtrade Friday

Sixth formers arranged a great event in the canteen that focussed on Fairtrade food. They asked all students in our Fairtrade group to bake or buy Fairtrade products for sale at break. Year 8 Roots and Shoots students organised Fairtrade games for the event.  A local pub provided a chocolate fountain and one of our principal Chronobots, Connor, was able to use this to serve fruit dipped into melted chocolate! The huge success of this event is shown by the photographs.

Fair Share

Agent W. came up with a great idea in mid July; Fair Swap, a staff clothes swap. In the true spirit if reduce, reuse and recycle she invited staff to bring in unwanted clothes and to swap them. The Languages Department was subsequently deluged. And many, many clothes were exchanged.  As a great extension to our Wear Fair fashion show evening, Agent W, ably assisted by six Year 10 students organised and ran a ‘Share Fair’ stall with the remaining clothes, allowing further sale or exchange of second hand clothes.  There were winners all round as money now exchanged hands, providing welcome funds for the donating charity shops, students loved helping and buyers were delighted with their ethical purchases! 

Wear Fair!

In July, students staged a night of glamour! A ‘Wear Fair’ Fairtrade and Vintage fashion show that highlighted a fairer deal for Third World traders and that raised money for both charities and for the East Africa appeal.   

The event was entirely organised by five Year 12 students, Rosie F, Emma K, Hannah D, Grace Hand Helen W who drew on the support and experience of our 2010-11, Head Girl Abigail G.  

The following account was written by Year 9 students Anna and Ellie, and was edited by Grace.

‘WEAR FAIR’ our second Fairtrade and Vintage fashion show allowed students to showcase its work for Fairtrade while 40 models strutted their stuff on the catwalk to the background of an entertaining commentary by Year 13 students Ed and Paddy.

The garments, many sourced from Timber of Ringwood, were produced by companies such as People and Planet, Bibico, KoolSkools, People Tree, Bishopston Trading Company, Nomads and Traidcraft. They were selected to appeal to all ages, and were modelled with great panache and enthusiasm by pupils from Year 7 to Year 12, and by a large number of teaching and non-teaching staff. Esme Fernandez-Lee, at three years old, was the youngest model and gained a rich round of applause!

Anna S (Year 9) and Eleanor B (Year 9) also modelled garments they had made and ‘upcycled’ themselves from old, unwanted materials.  The plastic strips for Ellie’s extravagant and innovative ‘ball gown’ started life in a skip!

A mix of current music and careful stage lighting were provided by BTEC students and gave the backdrop for the Fashion Show. Information about Fairtrade and Fairtrade products was available for those wishing to find out more about the way in which the companies such as KoolSkools who provided the clothes, work hard in the fashion industry to ensure that garment workers in developing countries earn a fair wage in dignified working conditions. 

Fairtrade refreshments were provided by the PTA. We decided not to charge for entry and provided a free glass of Fairtrade wine. The event made £350 in donations which was divided between East Africa appeal, via ‘Send a Cow’ and the charity shops who supplied clothes.

Grace has subsequently added her own comment for Roots & Shoots,

“The evening was a huge success and really highlighted the spirit and enthusiasm of students eager to make a difference to those in the wider world. After all the concept of Fairtrade is about improving the welfare of millions across the globe and through the fashion show  students were able to make people aware of that Fairtrade clothing is affordable, stylish and ethical.” 

Right: Fairtrade refreshments – always served where possible. Photo shows the line-up of Fairtrade food and drink before Share Fair.





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