Hermitage Academy Eco Schools Newsletter – June 2018
When I first joined Hermitage Academy in June 2017, I was surprised to discover that we don’t have any Green Flags, the award given by Eco Schools Scotland to recognise a school’s efforts and successes in making their community (school, local and global) a more environmentally friendly one.
Exams and the run up to them are always a busy period so, despite a lot of effort, we didn’t get Eco Schools started as quickly as we would have liked however things are slowly starting to move forward. Miss Callaghan (Social Subjects) and Mrs McLeod (Modern Languages) are the main leaders of this group with Dr Rootham (Social Subjects) and Miss Sutherland (Science) giving a great deal of support. We also have a link from every other area of school life, from English to Art, janitors to catering staff and have already reached out to a few community groups, including a very successful link with the Friends of Hermitage Park – more on that later. The only link missing is parents of pupils … which we will be working on in the coming academic year.
By now some of our new S6 cohort have chosen to be Ambassadors of Eco Schools and will be vital in taking this group forward. In August/ September elections will take place during i-time for Eco class reps and the 2018-19 Eco Committee will be formed. Some of our new S5 & S6 pupils have been undertaking an Environmental Review of the school and the results will be used to allow pupils to make an informed choice on which 3 Eco Schools Scotland topics they wish to work on for the following 2 years, with the aim of achieving Hermitage Academy’s first Green Flag.
In the meantime, Friends of Hermitage Park, who have been working so hard on renovating the park, were very keen to establish a link with the school and, on Tuesday 22nd May, a first group of 13 pupils and 3 teachers spent the morning collaborating with the Friends to improve the park. We walked from school to the park and back again and in between spent 2 hours gardening: some chopping down invasive rhododendrons, some planting lupin seeds and a Japanese tree called Cryptomeria japonica, some creating a log pile. Despite feeling exhausted by the end of the trip, everyone involved agreed it was an excellent experience, and everyone was keen to repeat it. A second trip is going out on Thursday 28th June but it has been oversubscribed so some pupils will have to wait for the next trip. This collaboration has been so successful it will now become a more or less monthly event (weather dependent).
More S5 & S6 pupils have been working hard in the background to apply for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project, again in collaboration with Friends of Hermitage Park. They have kindly allowed us to use a plot in their demonstration garden for a kitchen garden. Pupils have developed blueprints for various themed kitchen gardens which the Eco Committee will vote on in September and the pupils have recorded a video for the application explaining their ideas. The project will go ahead anyway but if we receive the funding, we will be able to buy equipment and materials to give greater scope to our work. We should find out in September whether or not we have been successful.
So all pupils should keep an eye on the plasma screens and listen to the bulletin for further information, both about the Eco Schools group and about a variety of eco themed announcements including litter picks and international eco days. And if you fancy joining in, the more the merrier!