On a sunny day in June, 37 pupils from four Herefordshire schools came together to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth. The trip was organised as part of the prize for their winning entries in a schools energy and waste poster competition organised by Jane Denny, Energy Management Officer for Herefordshire Council.
The competition coincided with the launch of an office energy saving campaign and a new alternate weekly waste collection service. Winning energy poster designs are displayed across Herefordshire Council Offices encouraging staff to be more energy efficient and the waste designs are on the sides of the new refuse collection vehicles reminding everyone to reduce, re-use, recycle and compost.
The overall prize winners were – Theo Ceney from the Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School, Tom James from Whitecross, Hereford, High School and Specialist Sports College, Zach Bennett from St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School and Alisha Worthy from Kimbolton St James Church of England Primary School.
The remaining 33 pupils were selected by the schools based on their Eco Schools involvement and the relevance to their current work on sustainability. Herefordshire Schools are very successful in delivering sustainable development education (ESD) and participating in the Eco Schools Award Scheme. Herefordshire Council actively supports them in this through visits, assemblies, workshops, coordinator meetings, courses, celebration events, conferences and activity days.
A trip to CAT was seen as a relevant and exciting reward for the winning schools with the added bonus of inspiring them with new ideas to take back to their schools. During the visit the pupils explored many aspects of sustainable living, from the educational displays on site and teaching sessions delivered by the expert tutors in ESD. Both secondary and primary pupils engaged in an interactive carbon calculator where they learnt what uses up the most energy in their daily lives and how to make lifestyle choices that make a difference to their impact on the planet. Primary pupils had fun analysing the materials in everyday products we consume and how best to manage it to reduce our ecological impact. Meanwhile Secondary pupils were busily engaged with playing CAT’s version of the popular card game trumps known as ‘Energy Trumps’.
Teachers were very enthusiastic about their trip and were inspired to take back many ideas to their schools to help make them more sustainable. A teacher from one of the secondary schools commented that the learning experience really complemented what they are currently doing on educating for sustainability in the classroom and they would like to return with a greater number of pupils next time . For more information about educational visits to CAT please contact Gabrielle Ashton education @cat.org.uk