Eco Schools 2018-19
Welcome to the Hermitage Academy Eco Schools web page. We are now nearing the end of the first year of our Eco Schools journey and what a year it has been!
Our Eco Committee has now met 5 times with only one more meeting to go this academic year. Each i-time class voted for their Eco Rep to sit on the committee and then the reps shared with their classes what was spoken about at the meetings. During the meetings the Eco Reps learned about the journey to gaining a Green Flag, heard the findings of the Environmental Review of the school pupils had carried out and then chose Litter, Food and the Environment and Biodiversity as the 3 topics they wished to improve upon over the next 2 years. They informed their classmates about the various Eco projects that were going on, about the Anti-Litter Campaign, about what the climate emergency really is and about future Eco activities that pupils could get involved in. They also chose an Eco charity to support: ACT, a local charity that works with various groups, including the unemployed and those with mental health issues, to improve local landscapes, benefitting the whole community.
There were many very successful projects throughout the year. There was a different campaign each month in the drive against litter: posters were put up around the school, pupils were spoken to at assembly and posters were put on the dining tables. However, the most effective strategy was when Senior Management blocked access to the teaching corridors during break and lunch and wheeled bins around the dining hall, encouraging pupils to put their litter in the bin. Mr Simpson’s S1 Maths class carried out monthly litter picks and it will be interesting to see the results to discover whether any of the campaigns were particularly successful. Local litter picks in Helensburgh, Rhu and Garelochhead were also advertised in school so pupils could choose to participate if they wished. We will continue working on this over the next academic year too.
Waste Management is technically a different topic but as people are now recognising how important it is right now and because a lot of the Eco Committee confused it with litter, we are tackling it at the same time. We are fund-raising to buy bins to collect different streams of litter with Terracycle and Recycling for Good Causes. S1 & S2 participated in a sponsored litter pick of the woods behind the school to raise funds for this and ACT, which was facilitated by a donation from the PTA for litter picking equipment. We will continue our actions on this topic next term too.
For Biodiversity members of the Eco Club were encouraged to sign up as Hedgehog Champions and they also learned about polar bears and the impact of the loss of local wildlife. Seedbombs were sold at the Eco Schools stall before Christmas so pupils could encourage wildlife into their gardens and the Gardening Club have planted sweet peas and poached egg plants to encourage wildlife. Additionally, Mr Mason kindly made a bird feeder for the Gardening Club, which will soon be erected. Finally, as well as funding for tools and plants for the Gardening Club, the PTA also kindly donated funds for a wormery, which will be housed in the Biology department, to be used in lessons and to provide compost for the garden.
Our third topic, Food and the Environment, is closely related to Biodiversity and many projects straddle both. The Gardening Club have also planted potatoes and our star project, creating a Community Kitchen Garden in Hermitage Park, which is funded by the National Lottery, will also see many edible plants being grown. So far, we have planted potatoes and soft fruit bushes but plans include growing a mixture of herbs, fruit and vegetables for a variety of uses, including making chutneys, jams, soups and soaps, as well as feeding local wildlife. For Fairtrade Fortnight pupils tried to sell 90kg of Fairtrade Rice, which would have enabled a farmer in Malawi to send a child to secondary school for a year, however we did not reach this target so we will simply send a donation instead.
When the new academic year starts in August, there is plenty more work to be done: new committee members to be elected, a second Environmental Review to be performed and a Curricular Audit to be conducted. We will continue with our Anti-Litter Campaign, the Gardening Club and the Hermitage Park project, while trying to set up further recycling streams. We are looking for more enthusiastic pupils with great ideas and the desire to work towards improving the school, the local community and the world. If this sounds like you, please join in!
Please use the links at the side of the page to discover more detail about our Committee, our Club and any Events (including our monthly trips to Hermitage Park where, thanks to funding from the National Lottery Fund, we are creating a Community Kitchen Garden).