Nothing is environment alone, as is evidenced by the story of our bee campaign and mini wildflower meadow, but this section describes other environmental projects of our summer term.
DOWN TO THE WOODS!
When our students worked with teachers from nearby village schools in October, they met James White of Bushcraft.
Do you know 8 different ways of making fire when out in the wild? We didn’t! We were finally able to invite him to our school. He knows how to survive in the wild, how to forage and to manage woodland sustainably, so shared some of his practices with students. Under the cover of our summer gazebos, put up to protect from yet more pouring rain, students learnt a little about survival in the wild and had the opportunity to develop their own survival skills. As the photos show, despite terrible weather, they managed to raise fire and to burn sticks harvested from the grounds. As usual, sixth formers were particularly helpful.
THE ENVIRONMENT AND WASTE
NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK VISITS
With the New Forest on our doorstep, how many of our students know it well? Leanne Atkinson and assistants from the National Parks Authority have already worked with our Jubilee meal Chronobots earlier in the year. They returned to introduce more students to the delights of the New Forest and set up an attractive ‘best of the Forest’ display. Deborah Lucas of New Forest District Council introduced students to the huge problems of litter. She was looking at reasons for young people’s litter habits. Could our students help to find a solution? They had a very good go and dug two shallow graves. Here they buried a variety of products as ‘landfill’ (to be exhumed in the autumn!)
AN ENVIRONMENTAL SCULPTURE
“Reuse before recycle” is our mantra, and in line with this, staff and students collected plastic milk bottles for two weeks. We asked Chris Cudlip, environmental sculptor to guide students towards the making of a distinctive item out of waste, a polar bear! The project took all day, even though twenty Spanish exchange students joined the group. The bear takes pride of place on the lawn where it reflects our concern for climate change. (Students had a reminder presentation about climate change before the construction session). We hope this thought-provoking sculpture shows reuse at its best. What a statement it makes.
OTHER CREATIVE USES OF WASTE
The design technology department produce lots of small fragments of metal throughout the year, so students fashioned it into useful items – anything from bird scarers to jewellery! Some students have learnt how to make wallets from old tetra paks. This makes a particularly good message as Hampshire sadly does not recycle tetra paks!
Reducing the number of miles travelled by food is an aim of both catering manager, Sara Wood and of the Roots & Shoots group. This year, we have managed to grow a range of vegetables in raised beds and on the school allotment and these were served in our ’25 mile menu’ to visitors and staff.
Right – a few of our summer vegetables; very behind thanks to the weather.
Below: students prepared a simple lunch of locally produced food, sourced within the 25 mile radius.
OUR DIAMOND JUBILEE LUNCH
Our Jubilee Lunch, served to staff and visitors, was another celebration of the very best of local food, and is described under ‘Community’.
A-BUZZ WITH WILLOW
Our large willow deer, constructed by Year 7 and 8 students in 2007 became so decrepit that it was removed, to be replaced by another. Our bee campaign (see ‘Bee Cause’ above) has an impetus of its own with a beautiful wildflower meadow area very much in evidence. Ms Jensen, working with a few Year 9 students, has therefore created a BEE in willow!
We were told that the London Olympics would be ‘the greenest Olympics ever.’ While that remains to be seen, guided by Ms Geddes, students used that most sustainable of woods, willow, to create a suitably celebratory Olympics atmosphere in the school. The willow was harvested two weeks earlier by Chronobots visiting Minstead Study Centre to work with Morgan’s Vale children, and the sets of rings now hang from trees. Spot the rings!
Himalayan Balsam and Birdwatch
Is this project ‘environment’, ‘community’ or ‘animals’? Probably all three!
We were lucky with the weather for our second community Himalayan Balsam ‘pull’ in the Avon Valley. The day dawned bright, warm and sunny after heavy rain throughout the previous day and night. The result was that a new threat appeared on our risk assessment – mosquitoes! Students were able to remove a good quantity of this exotic plant. The ‘pull’ was carried out with Joanne Gore from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust who are steadily attempting to remove Himalayan Balsam throughout the New Forest. This beautiful plant was introduced because it is so attractive. Unfortunately it spreads easily down rivers and quickly out-competes native species so has to be eradicated.
When the work was complete, students transferred to Blashford Lakes (see photo above) and were able to enjoy an early morning birdwatch, courtesy of Bob Chapman, Lakes Warden. Our wildlifers particularly enjoyed watching the terns on their nests. The photos show our keenest wildlifers waist deep in Himalayan balsam.
We noticed that plastic bag use has crept up again since early campaigns persuaded us to buy bags for life and eco bags. After hearing from Polly Whyte (above) we are especially mindful of the effects on wildlife and of the collection of plastics in the oceans. The average individual in England uses 500 plastic bags in a year.
We hoped that by making a plastic bag monster, students would see what 500 bags look like and the anti plastic bag campaign will take on a new impetus. So we made two monsters and we chose our ECO DAY to bring the monsters out and film their exploits! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkLgO2rS1lw