At the end of last term Insch primary Eco Schools Committee welcomed assessors from Eco Schools Scotland. Pupils showed them the well established wildlife garden which includes a pond with frogs, a log pile for minibeasts, bird feeders, a variety of shrubs, trees and flowers, a willow shelter and bat boxes made and donated by a local pensioners’ group.
In addition the tour included a project which is currently being worked on, the new Peacock Garden (named for the mural there) which will be used for vegetable growing. Building firm GPH kindly donated timber from which Mr Loveday, the janitor, will use to create planters. The top soil is another generous gift, donated by a parent who has a farm nearby, and Kellockbank have kindly provided the school with seeds, free of charge.
The pupils at the school have been very resourceful in getting the project off the ground at minimal cost. It is planned to move the existing bottle greenhouse to the Peacock Garden. This sheltered area is easily accessible from the school, and will provide all classes with the opportunity to grow, tend, harvest and prepare fresh produce for consumption.
The eco school committee were commended on their ability to discuss and explain the work carried out so far in the school, and that contained in their actions plans for the year. The latter includes a Fruity Friday initiative to get people (staff too) to try a variety of new fresh fruit. The school is also about to embark on an audit of food waste with a view to composting all of it on site as soon as possible, thanks to support from the charity ‘Aberdeen Forward’.
The assessors visited all classes to hear about the impressive array of curricular based eco activities taking place throughout the school including tattie growing, food miles studies, investigations into seasonal produce and making compostable plant pots for seedlings.
Eco schools co-ordinator and P7 teacher Mr Johnston was delighted to receive a phone call the next day announcing that the school had been awarded the coveted ‘Green Flag’ status. He said: “This is the result of a lot of hard work by pupils, staff and local businesses. The most gratifying thing was how few recommendations the assessors made following the visit. These are largely already covered by our future action plans. We were commended on ideas like the eco diary which all classes add to whenever they carry out related activities. I am really pleased that the environmental awareness had become embedded in the school with everyone trying to do their own little bit to make a difference.”
The school’s next problem is where to hang the flag! Initially it will be in the school hall but Mr Johnston hopes a suitable pole can be found to display it proudly outside the school. The eco committee plans to hold a community litter pick next month - posters will be displayed in the village soon.