Greensand Country, in partnership with The Greensand Trust runs an annual Greensand Champions scheme. These are groups or individual young people who are doing something amazing for the Greensand Country environment.
Our aim is to celebrate positive environmental action, support the achievements of those young people doing great work and challenge ourselves and others to do more – together we can really make a difference and help improve our local environment.
Greensand Champions 2022 Winner:
- Redborne Environmental Group – Run by staff members, Claire Bassett and Mark Brockway at Redborne Upper School, the Environmental Group has a student membership of more than 10, mostly Year 11 students. The group has been active in getting outdoors and engaging in local environmental conservation work in Ampthill and Flitwick.They have driven forward significant recycling improvements within the school. On January 20, 2022, they presented their concerns about environmental degradation and climate change to an audience of Central Bedfordshire Council and town and parish councillors, local businesspeople and residents. This Student COP1 event took significant preparation and research by the students, looking at information affecting Greensand Country communities, and making well thought out, local and specific requests for change, such as re-wilding corridors, river regeneration, EV infrastructure, home insulation support. This included analysing maps of woodland cover and identifying issues of compartmentalisation of wildlife, identifying issue with local river systems that contribute to flooding and researching local solutions, identifying our area as an EV charging “black hole”, finding out about community carbon footprints and identifying home heating as a major contributor locally.
Greensand Champions 2022 Runners Up:
- Flitwick Scout Group – Flitwick Scout Group undertook a number of volunteering projects to help the young people engage with local nature and to learn about growing plants. The Beavers, aged 6-8 years old grew potatoes in buckets, looking after them at home and bringing them back for harvesting and weighing; they planted bulbs on their allotment; went for a flower-spotting walk in Flitwick Wood and learned about animals and their habitats in Manor Park. They made bird feeders and had a fantastic time hiking through the stream and up the hills of Barton Springs. They also learned about the importance of Fair Trade.Many of the Cubs, aged 8-10 completed the Naturalist badge last year by visiting Flitwick Wood and making observations about changes in plants and wildlife through the different seasons. Some of the Cubs completed the Gardener Badge by finding out what seasons are best for growing a variety of vegetables, what tools are needed, and then tending the vegetables at the Group allotment regularly through the Summer. The Cubs also made bird feeders. The Cubs also went litter picking and learned how to separate recyclable rubbish from non-recyclable.When Scouts weren’t able to meet regularly due to COVID-19, some of the leaders kept the allotment going, successfully growing a wide selection of vegetables, with spectacular success with pumpkins! Flitwick Cubs and Scouts and leaders also took part in helping to plant 2,000 blackthorn, hawthorn and hazel trees at Bromham Scout Campsite as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy in celebration of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.
- Swallowfield Lower School -For 10 years, our Eco-Committee, with members from each year, has shared ideas to and from their peers. The volunteers have been gardening our polytunnel, planting our wildlife area, composting fruit waste, collecting recycling, monitoring school energy use, participated in Switch Off Fortnight and Waste Week. Children created and enhanced bug hotels and hedgehog houses and planted an orchard including local heritage varieties from MSOG.The students’ work in the polytunnel provided food for the kitchen, plants and vegetables for sale to parents. An annual sunflower growing competition encourages home growing. Wildflowers are sown in the grounds every year and bulbs are planted all over the grounds and recently in the community with our Parish Council. Foundation plant vegetables, fruit and flowers to take home, recycling materials to do so. They taste the result of their vegetable growing in school. The students also took part in the RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch, creating bird feeders. Planting Woodland Trust trees over time, sees our Wildlife Area growing into a wildlife haven as well as an enjoyable resource, promoting health and wellbeing, especially during lockdowns.Children separate different waste and then Eco members deliver this to be processed. The students have also been working closely with Waste Week and the Great British Spring Clean to promote take home activities and the individual actions they can do with their families. Our monthly newsletter contains regular updates on our environmental activities to keep whole family engagement and awareness. Our latest scheme being part of ‘Recycle to Read’.
- Barnabas Oley C of E Primary School – As a school we have an Eco-Friendly Ethos and encourage pupils to recycle. We use different teaching methods, which includes the importance of insects, plants, trees and pretty much the whole eco system and how they impact ourenvironment. With this in mind, we collect empty crisp packets, used batteries and ink cartridges and send these off to be recycled. We have obtained three water butts and use rainwater collected on our various recycled and up-cycled planters donated by our local community such as drainpipes, old tyres as well as used catering baked bin tins from our school kitchen. We plant seeds from our weekly fruit deliveries to grow peppers and tomatoes, as well as other crops, which we harvest and use in our school cooking lessons. We encourage wildlife and have many bird boxes, a bird table, a hedgehog house and various handmade bug hotels positioned around the school together with a small pond which is home to several newts. The pupils have painted and decorated pebbles and wood slices, which brighten the school up. We have decorated a tree, cut down locally and used this as log seating and have an old electrical cable wire drum as a table for the children to work at. Finally, following lots of fundraising events, our PTA very kindly purchased benches and a chair made entirely out of recycled CD covers!
- Olly and Zac Knibbs – Olly and Zac have been volunteering to make a difference to the area of Greensand Country on their walk to school each day. They have taken the time to pick up litter and learn about the landscape they walk through. This has helped to keep the local area tidy and ensure that the waste is correctly sorted.