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Dingwall Academy Roots & Shoots Group update


Since the last post we have been very busy in Dingwall Academy. With many different projects within the school. Here is an update on all the different projects below:

Pupils from our Autism Base

  • Feeding the birds over the winter

We made our own fat balls to feed the birds over the winter. To make the fat balls we melted lard and mixed seed into the melted lard. We then made them into balls and out them into the freezer until they were hard. We have been checking every few days to ensure that the birds have a good supply of food. We are hoping to do some bird watching this term and see what species of birds have been visiting the bird table.

  •  Growing our own vegtables

We had a go at growing our own vegtables. We had pots and in the class we started to grow tomatoes, courgettes and some cress. The Courgettes grew very well.  When the plants got big enough we planted them outside.  See the pictures below of our vegtables.

  • Making new things out of recycled plastic bags

We had a go at making a new thing out of plastic bags. To do this we took plastic bags and using greaseproof paper and an iron melted together about 6 bags. This then gave us a material which was thick and could now be sewn or stuck together. The items we made included a purse and a folder to keep jotters in.

  • Visiting the Greenhouse in Dingwall

 We had a visit to the Greenhouse in Dingwall. This is a local shop which serves the community. It takes unwanted goods and sells them to help the community. They also sell vintage clothing and get local children involved in a variety of projects to help keep them of the streets. When we went to visit we got shown around the Greenhouse and they explained to us what role they played in the community. They had a great book section. The Greenhouse is a great place to have in the community and we had a good time being shown around and hope to go back soon.

Diggers Group

  • Eating our own garlic bread:  After returning to school in August, the DiGGers group (Dingwall Academy Gardening Group) had their work cut out battling all the weeds!  We had a good crop of garlic and made garlic bread.

garlic bread and soup in the shed

Garlic bread and soup in the shed!

  • Walking Stick Cabbage competition:  In the autumn, we measured the cabbages and found a winner. The competition raised £70 which went to the school’s Malawi appeal. At a cost of £6.15 per child, our donation will feed eleven children for a whole year!  We have planted the cabbages into the school garden so they can continue growing – we plan to cut the stems and dry them out to make walking sticks in two years time!! 
Measuring walking stick cabbages The Cabbages were on display in the local garden centre all summer
  • Selling produce to staff:  We had a large amount of potatoes to dig up as well as onions, garlic, parsnips and carrots.  We kept some produce for our own Christmas dinner (in December). 
Collecting potatoes
    • Collecting potatoes

    We grew fresh crops of lettuce and picked leaves from our Curly Kale plants in order to fill a total of nine organic boxes which we sold to teachers in school in order to raise funds for our seeds next year.  Everyone gave us great feedback and kept asking if we had any more!

    Produce in our organic boxes
    Produce in our organic boxes


  • Christmas dinner out in the shed: 

It consisted of potato/carrot/parsnip mash and a cookup of garlic/onions/brussel sprouts/curley kale/bacon/walnuts and even a walking stick cabbage leaf too!   

carrots and parsnips carrots and parsnips for our Christmas Dinner

DiGGers pulling crackers for their Christmas dinner in the shed DiGGers pulling crackers for their Christmas dinner in the shed

It was served with gravy and we had grown everything (except the bacon and walnuts!) in the school garden.

S2 elective classes

S2 classes now study a gardening course on rotation twice a week for nine weeks.  Groups of five pupils tend two small raised beds each and have so far grown lettuce and raddish and sprouted beanshoots to eat.

chick pea sprouts
Chick peas start to sprout

The current groups are studying biodiversity and have had a visit from a local bee-keeper.  We are also in the process of designing and making “bug hotels” to put around the school grounds so that future groups can monitor them and hopefully see more wildlife as time goes on.

raised beds Raised beds ready for classes to plant up

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