Great Missenden are proud to have been a Green Flag Eco-School for more than 5 years. Last term our ECO warrior team carried out an Environmental Review to inform an action plan to work towards renewing our Green Flag this summer.
Having been awarded a Silver Star National Travel Award for our Travel Plan last year, we are also continuing our efforts to support and promote cycling, walking and other sustainable methods of travel. As well as Walk to School week last term and carrying out surveys to monitor and promote shifting away from cars as far as possible, this term 24 Year 5 children will be taking part in a Level 2 Bikeability training programme, to support safe cycling on roads.
The new after-school Eco Club had its first meeting on January 15th, where Mrs May explained the Eco Warriors' developing Action Plan and how the Eco Club might be able to help achieve its aims. The Eco Club members had lots of ideas about things they would like to do, which we discussed while 'up-cycling' some tin cans into pencil or plant pots. Pippa also presented us with a fabulous poster, encouraging people to recycle.
We were also delighted to receive 20 brand new litter pickers, kindly donated to the school by Mr Shaw. Both the Eco Club and Eco Warriors will be out litter-picking soon!
24th January: Litter-picking was put on hold this week due to the snow! Instead, eco-clubbers stayed warm inside and produce some fantastic posters promoting Great Missenden's Switch Off Fortnight, which starts on January 27th. The Eco Warriors have been taking meter readings and checking classrooms in preparation. Most classes are already very good at turning lights off and heating down as they go out, but we hope to see our energy use reduce further during the coming two weeks. It's a reminder to think about how we could reduce our energy use at home too. We also talked about the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch, which is coming up this weekend. Have a look at the RSPB's website for details of how to take part.
The Eco Warriors introduced Switch Off Fortnight with an assembly to the school and have been monitoring classroom and whole school energy use throughout the month. Children in their classes shared what they had been switching off at home too and following the KS2 Eco-Warriors visit to the Greatmoor Energy from Waste facility in early March, the Eco-Warrior team will be planning an assembly to share all that's been going on in school so far this year and what more we can all do to make our school even more eco-friendly.
Meanwhile, the Eco Club have learned about garden birds from our resident expert Edward and had a visit from the Walder-Davis family who shared some of their delicious home-made snacks and talked about the challenge they have given themselves to make a new eco-friendly decision every day. We were inspired by their commitment and ideas and will be trying out some of these in the club and at home.
Most recently, the Club learned about different types of lichens and how their presence can be used to indicate how clean our air is. We went on a lichen hunt and found lots of lichen that thrives in clean air as well as lichens that like high levels of nitrogen - so a mixed picture. It was amazing how much we found once we started looking. We also managed to collect half a bin-bagful of rubbish on our second litter-picking walk around the grounds!
On 5th March the Key Stage Two Eco Warriors and SNAG members visited the Greatmoor Energy From Waste facility. The children learned about what can and cannot be recycled and what happens to our black-bag, non-recyclable, rubbish. Instead of being put into the adjacent landfill site, our non-recyclable waste is burned at Greatmoor. This heats up water in a boiler and the resulting steam powers a turbine, which generates electricity.
It was a fascinating visit, we were particularly awed by the enormous grab cranes moving huge volumes of rubbish at a time, the view into the incinerator and the massive fans cooling the water before it is fed back into the boiler. The children were a credit to us, with the Greatmoor Education Manager commenting on their exemplary behaviour during the visit.
It was great to see that in our area non-recyclable waste is not going to landfill but is instead being used to generate electricity. It's also really important to understand that it is still more efficient and environmentally-friendly to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we possibly can.
At Eco Club we have been making posters to promote the Eco-Warriors' soon-to-be-launched recycling schemes. We have also built superb sculptures out of home-made cardboard construction pieces and made awesome suits of armour! Eco superstars Benji and Amelie, on their own initiative, have also collected signatures from members of staff who have pledged to stop buying single-use coffee cups and to use re-usable ones instead.