08-Jul-2021

Huntingdonshire District Council is delighted to see the success of the very first Schools Environment Week (28 June - 4 July), which saw 19 schools participate, reaching 6,756 children across the district.

Each school signed up to the project has received a pack of educational resources, pictorial meadow seeds to work towards doubling nature within their school grounds, a selection of water-saving devices and activities provided by Anglian Water and a wide selection of electronic resources and lessons suitable for different age ranges. We have also created a competition for schools to win a hot composter or water butt, supplied by Anglian Water.

Executive Councillor for Operations and Environment, Councillor Marge Beuttell, said: "It is extremely important for us to play our part in educating future generations about the importance of protecting and enhancing our environment, with the week designed to improve awareness of topics such as littering, recycling, biodiversity and open spaces, along with more global issues. Moving forward we hope to grow the Schools Environment Week and have a significant impact on the Huntingdon residents of tomorrow, empowering them with the education to help protect what makes Huntingdonshire a great place to live."

We worked closely with a number of different organisations to combine projects working towards the same end goal of improving environmental education for young people. A huge thank you to internal departments who have contributed resources and expertise to create the pack of resources. A special thank you to Anglian Water for providing water-saving devices, activities, and prizes for our Schools Environment Week competition.

During Schools Environment Week, Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) led sessions online with primary schools to raise awareness of the harmful effects of plastic pollution on the environment. Rivers trust staff will engage pupils in collecting and surveying plastic in their schools.

Around 80% of all marine litter comes from a land source, many items finding their way to the ocean via drains and our rivers, so tackling the problem at its source is essential.

Thanks to the online citizen science portal, developed for the project by The Rivers Trust specifically for schools, children and their teachers could learn about the harms of plastic pollution as they carry out a litter pick. They also collected, sent in and collated valuable data for the Preventing Plastic Pollution project as citizen scientists. Alongside the citizen science portal for schools, PPP also developed complete lesson plans and other resources to provide teachers with follow‐up lessons or for teachers to be able to carry out the activity independently with their class. Follow up activities are also available online.

Project Manager for The Rivers Trust, Clare Whitelegg, said: "It has been great fun and really rewarding to lead this session remotely for a number of classes in the Great Ouse lately. The activity has generated some really great discussions with pupils. It is very heartening to see how engaged young people are with this issue and that they really want to be involved in making change for the better in their local environments"