On behalf of the Eco Council I am proud to announce the launch of The Willows Biodiversity Photo Competition. I would like to invite all Willows eco warriors and members of the Willows community to think about biodiversity, the ‘variety of life’ around us. It is an opportunity to share how you connect with nature. For more information see the attached document.
Our Eco council believe that every living thing in this world has a purpose and should be respected, that we as humans have a responsibility to look after all living things on Earth. But in order to respect, we need to understand. Learning about different species of trees, birds or insects and how they survive, reproduce and benefit other living things can be awe-inspiring. This knowledge leads to respect.
Here at The Willows, as well as learning about the natural world in our curriculum, we have planted bee friendly plants, made bug hotels, made bird feeders and fed the birds and we have 'wild' areas around our field to attract wildlife. And school closure has not stopped our Willows children and families helping the wildlife around them. They have gone for walks and appreciated the wonders of nature, picked up litter, fed the birds and created bird spotting books, built bug hotels, planted seeds, looked after their garden, watched hedgehogs on a night cam and built a nature pond. We are also running a biodiversity competition to encourage our community to do even more for local nature.
If you would like to do more, the following link to the RSPB website gives lots of great ideas to help you connect with nature.
During March we made our own bird feeders out of plastic bottles. Then we looked for a suitable place to hang them around school. We decided on a quiet corner of the field where children playing wouldn't disturb the birds. We also decided to pile up all the fallen branches to create a den for small wild animals.
Looking for the best spot
Birds need water as well
Hanging our homemade bird feeders
Creating a hedgehog den
The den building team!
Preparing our new Planters!
March was a busy month for Eco warriors! After receiving our new planters, we worked hard to fill them. We used gravel, cardboard, dry leaves, soil harvested from the school grounds and compost harvested from our compost bins. They are almost ready for planting and sowing seeds!
After gravel & cardboard, in go dead leaves
Then the soil and compost
Filling the planters was hard work!
Collecting soil for the planters
Our focus for March and April is ‘Healthy Living: Healthy Minds and Healthy Bodies.’ People are part of the environment. It is important for both us and our world to be healthy. How can we promote choices that are good for us and good for the environment? At The Willows we are very proud of all the physical activity we already do and we also take part in 'Wellness Wednesday' every first Wednesday of each half term where we learn about the importance of mental, emotional, social and physical health.
We will also extend this by encouraging children to make healthy food choices by referring to new posters and key information in the lunch hall, setting up and maintaining new planters to grow fruit and vegetables in school and learning about Mindfulness, how to practise it & how it can it can help our minds stay happy and healthy.
Mindfulness is a special way of thinking that can help us with our problems. Using mindfulness can help us enjoy our lives more, in a calm and relaxed way. Mindfulness is thinking about what we are doing right now, at this very moment and not worrying about the past and the future, just being in the present.
Our focus for February is Plastic Pollution in our Oceans: What can we can do? We have brainstormed ideas for ways we can reduce single use plastic at The Willows and in our homes by learning the ‘5 Rs’
Refuse: Say no to plastic bags, straws, takeaway cups, balloons. Do you really need these?
Reduce: Cut down on the amount of ‘stuff’ you use. Don’t impulse buy. Simplify your life! Reduce the general waste you create.
Reuse: Bags, bottles, plastic food tubs can be used over and over again. If things break, try to repair them instead of throwing them away and buying new.
Recycle: What you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse; recycle. Some plastic is easy to recycle, but other plastic is harder. Check out www.terracycle.co.uk for local drop off points for items you can’t put in your recycling bin.
Our focus for January was Learning about Climate Change and what we can do. We have learnt about Climate Change through a whole school assembly and some of the Year 5 and 6 children made posters to highlight the issues.
We are continuing our campaign to reduce waste by promoting what we recycle in school; bottle tops (milk and screw top drink lids only), pens, batteries, stamps and snack packets (no sweet or cereal bar packets). We have extended this to bread bags (only sliced loaf bags, NOT those from pitta, brioche, baguette, rolls or bagels)
Information about current themes are displayed in the Eco Book and on the Eco Board, both in the main corridor at school.
Our focus for December was A More Sustainable Christmas where we learnt about ways we can be more sustainable, for example, choosing seasonal, local food, supporting local independent shops, recycling trees, using LED lights, rethinking presents; homemade or up-cycled gifts and using cards, wrap and crackers without glitter and plastic.
Our focus for November was Waste: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, where we learnt about which materials objects and packaging are made from and how we can recycle them. We improved our composting system and we set up a recycling centre for all members of our community to use and we now recycle our milk cartons, bottle tops, pens, batteries, stamps and snack packets.
Please feel free to bring in your screw top drink lids and milk carton lids, which go to the Pathfinder Guide dog charity, any writing implements (except pencils) which are taken to Rymans for recycling, used postage stamps (these go to Wythenshawe hospital) and any crisp or snack packets (recycled by www.terracycle.co.uk)
November 2019: The Willows Eco-Council has a new lease of life!
Mrs Mitchell took over as Eco Co-ordinator in November and along with a very dedicated Eco-Council, has helped The Willows to achieve the Eco Schools Bronze Award. First we completed an Environmental Review and then formulated an Action Plan (you can see a copy of both documents in our Eco-Council book and on our Eco-Board in the main corridor). There are four levels to achieve; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Green Flag. To get all the way to the Green Flag Award we must work through all ‘7 Steps’ based on ’10 topics.’
Children not allowed on the school website have been omitted from this picture.