The challenging issues of climate change and plastic pollution are at the forefront of many people’s minds at the moment. That includes dozens of environmentally conscious pupils at St Peter’s Junior School in Ruddington – who have got together to form ‘The Green Team.’
The seed was sewn after a group of schoolchildren attended last year’s WE Day event in London which inspired them to think about sustainability, raise awareness of green issues and take action to protect the planet on which we live.
Deputy Head, Mr Mawer, explains: “After that, a representative of WE Day came into school and provided some workshops for our older children and, on the back of that, ‘The Green Team’ was born. Back in September 2019 I invited all children across the school to apply for The Green Team if they were interested in environmental issues. I was hoping for about twenty – a nice manageable group – but 52 applied! I didn’t have the heart to turn any of them away. It’s year 5 and 6 doing the ‘Action Plan’ but year 3 and 4 have also got involved with events like the tree planting.”
The Green Team’s Mission Statement says:-
“Climate Change is an issue that everyone needs to do something about.
The Green Team is about raising awareness but it is also about TAKING ACTION.
- taking action in schools
- taking action at home
- taking action in and around the community”
The current tree planting initiative came about after one of The Green Team discovered that free trees are available for planting via The Woodland Trust. After putting in an application to the charity the school was successful and granted 270 trees. 105 of these arrived a couple of weeks’ ago – which pupils and volunteers have already planted in a designated area of the grounds. This borders existing, mature woodland which was planted by former pupils some 25 years’ ago. Varieties supplied this time include Silver Birch, Rowan, Hazel and Blackthorn.
Eleven year-old Mila, who’s Chair of The Green Team, tells us: “Lots of people’s mums and dads and grandparents came in to help us with the tree planting along with Mr Rogers, Mr Herbison and Mr Peel. Mr Rogers helped with all the digging and showing us exactly how to do it… it looks like he’s done it before!”
The remaining 165 trees have since arrived and are due to be planted out this Monday (16th March). Ruddington artist-curator, Tristram Aver, who’s become well known in our village for his tree themed artwork, told RUDDINGTON.info: “This is truly inspirational. Motivated and energised by the Climate Emergency, these young pioneers are planting trees that will outgrow themselves for the benefit of future generations of pupils, which in the long run will improve the quality of air around the school, and help protect St. Peters’ enclave of lush green fields and borders. With such a positive message, the knock-on effect of the St Peter’s Green Team will hopefully inspire more Ruddington residents – not just the children – to join in with discussions and implement planting schemes throughout the village, and not just within the confines of their own gardens.”
Tree planting is just one of dozens of points in an Action Plan identified by the pupils to make our village – and our world – a better place. The long list, through which the Green Team is currently working, includes planting bee-friendly plants and flowers, the creation of ‘bug hotels’, recycling, having a ‘no light on’ day, reducing plastics and plastic packaging, encouraging the use of glass rather than plastic milk bottles, using metal straws, encouraging school kitchen staff to stop buying products containing palm oil, reusing items wherever possible and extending the school’s Walking Bus initiative. They are also pledging work with Mr & Mrs Preston at Ruddington’s The Bottle Top on eco-friendly initiatives.
Eleven year-old Olivia remembers: “When I was little my dad used to take me outside in the summer and we used to save bees who got tangled in something then give them sugar and water and leave them on a flower. There are 36 trees cut down per minute and it’s destroying all the animals’ homes – especially in rain forests like The Amazon. By 2030 fifty per cent of it will be gone – so we need to stop it.”
“People are driving everywhere but I like to walk” says ten year-old Mia. “When you drive you make greenhouse gases – which are melting the ice where polar bears and penguins live.”
Eddie, who’s also ten, says: “I was taught how urgent the problem is and I figured out it wasn’t going to fix itself and people need to do it. I hope to inspire others to help change as well.”
Eleven year-old Bella says she was motivated to take action by seeing the state of the beaches when she was on holiday: “All the time we’d just see crisp packets and plastic in the sand, and it’s just upsetting, so I’m driven to do it.”
Green Team Chair Mila adds: “What I’m really passionate about – and what really angered me – was how much single use plastic we’re using. It’s a massive amount every day, and I decided I want to make a change to the world.”
As the team gets through its action plan, objectives that have been completed are stuck on to a previously ‘dead’ tree in the form of leaves, flowers or fruit to show what’s been achieved. By the summer it’s hoped no branches will be bare and that the tree will have come ‘alive’!
Mr Mawer concludes: “With the catastrophic, global, environmental issues we have, it’s this generation which are going to do something about previous generations’ shortcomings protecting the planet. If our 52 children can be agents of change then that will be a great start for having climate action representatives from Ruddington. Some of the people speak with such passion that I feel really privileged to be part of this group.”
If you’d like to contact ‘The Green Team’ to offer them any suggestions, feedback, help or advice, you can email them at: email@example.com.