Great Missenden are proud to have been a Green Flag Eco-School since 2010. Since carrying out an environmental review in the Autumn Term, the Eco Warrior team have been working hard on promoting activities focused on the priorities they identified:
Linked in to saving energy and healthy living, and having been awarded a Silver Star National Travel Award for our Travel Plan last year, we are continuing our efforts to support and promote cycling, walking and other sustainable methods of travel. As well as two Walk to School weeks each year and carrying out surveys to monitor and promote shifting away from cars as far as possible, each year we run an optional Level 2 Bikeability training programme for Year 5 children, to support safe cycling on roads.
The Eco Warriors are delighted to hear that the Songwriting Club's first composition has been inspired by their passion for combating climate change! You can listen to a recording of it on the music page of our website under https://www.greatmissendenschool.co.uk/music/
23rd May: It's National Walk to School Week! Thanks to the Eco-Warriors that managed to get to school early this week and monitor travel down Church Street. We were really excited to see many more people enjoying a sunny walk or bike ride cycle to school on Wednesday than the previous days, and counted just 4 cars driving past us right up to the school gates. Let's hope this encourages more families to use the car less whenever they can and make journeys to school as active as possible.
Summer is a great time to get out on bikes and some of our pupils took part in the Chartridge Family Bike Ride last weekend. If you'd like to cycle more, here are some links to some useful websites:
We are hoping to be able to offer Bikeability training to Year 5s in the Autumn Term, so get out on your bikes over the summer Year 4s to make sure you can control your bike confidently and ride without stabilisers!
On the subject of cycling, the Official Tour de France Sportive in the UK, L'Etape UK, is coming to the Chilterns in July. The race consists of three professionally designed routes suitable for all abilities, in addition to the Tour de France Fan Park offering fun for the whole family at Penn House, Amersham, HP7 0PS.
The Eco-Warriors led an assembly on Thursday 9th May updating us on all the eco-related activities going on in school. They used short films they had made to explain our eco-code, and launched three new recycling collection schemes:
As well as showing films about using less plastics such as glitter, reducing waste, saving energy and recycling more, the Eco-Warriors reminded the school that we are carrying on our focus on healthy living and health minds this year and explained that they are talking to the JLT and the Senior Leadership Team about our school grounds and the ideas you have given us for helping make the playgrounds tidier. The litter pickers kindly donated by Mr and Mrs Shaw were used when we took part in the Great British Spring Clean and are being used to help keep our grounds tidy.
As classes began moving into classrooms in our new teaching block this week, we were pleased to hear from Mr Light, our premises manager, that the underfloor heating within the new build is powered through an air source heat pump!
At Eco Club we made posters to the Eco-Warriors' recycling and school grounds activities. We 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, collected signatures from members of staff who have pledged to stop buying single-use coffee cups and to use re-usable ones instead.
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.
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 Toby, Jake and their mum, 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 of 2019. We were inspired by their commitment and ideas and will be trying out some of these in the club and at home. Search for @365EcoDecisions on Facebook or in Messenger to find their page.
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!
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 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!