Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Green Governor comes to school

Edge of Exmoor, Near Porlock, Somerset, England, United Kingdom by Rob Cousins
Edge of Exmoor, Near Porlock, Somerset, England, United Kingdom

A few weeks ago I was chosen to be the Green Governor for our local primary schools with a remit to look at ways the schools impact on the environment and to share possibilities and discussions with the children about the environment. Sounds daunting.......not really as we have been living it for the last 3 years, it seemed to me that I could finally contribute on a level that I felt reasonably competent in.

Two weeks ago a date was arranged and I had planned my activity with the helpful suggestions of Richard from WigglyWigglers. Having collected 2 weeks worth of recyclable materials, a few plastic bags, egg boxes and a load of rubbish, having washed it thoroughly , I arrived with a box full of stuff. It was raining.My youngest son did all he could to reassure me that it would be ' cool' and that I would probably not bore them to death. Gentle river sounds acted as background music in the room as about 30 children gathered and eyed me up. I told them I was passionate about the countryside and was going to tell them all about rubbish. After all we live in a fantastically beautiful part of the UK where many people come on holiday, walk in the hills in an area of outstanding beauty.

Last week the children enjoyed a woodland walk and bringing back the nice feelings about the woodland I asked them how they would feel if someone would come into the woodland and empty a bag, just like this........

The teacher's face was a bit shocked as I emptied a large black bin liner full of 'washed' containers, papers and plastic bottles onto the floor. The children's emotions ranged from sad to very angry. I also had asked 2 children to bring their lunchboxes in and after opening to pass it to each other from which they ascertained that it was not pleasant to deal with other people's rubbish.

Often we believe that children do not know what happens in the world but they convinced me that they not only took the environment seriously but that they wanted to know what happens to rubbish when the men pick it up. Surprised reactions when told that it is dumped in a landfill site. What could they do?

Three words - reduce, reuse and recycle :

Some suggestions on what to do with yoghurt pots were planting seeds in them, using them as paint pots, keeping small treasures in them.

The trays that are used for packing vegetables and meats in could be used to sort items in your wardrobe, keep jewellery in, plant seeds.

They had however never heard of the natural rubbish eaters....those wonderful wiggly crawlies that eat a variety of materials and turn it into compost.

I do believe that in 30 mins I managed to convince them that rubbish is worth talking about.At the end of the talk, my youngest son stood up and showed them his favourite glass which has sensible suggestions on such as :
walk more
put rubbish in bins
respect wildlife areas

The next step is for the children in the school council to discuss how the rubbish generated at the school can be processed and how they can obtain a wormery. I can't wait!


Ali said...

congratulations at being Green Governor ~ I think it's a great idea!!

Sally said...

Was ver much uplifed by reading this this morning. What a lovely way to present this information to children and to motivate them to do the littel things that count every day. Great stuff and keep up the good work. I hope this inspires other school governors to give it a try.