St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust has been officially placed on the global ‘Earth Day’ map due to its continued commitment to protecting the environment.
The trust is the only academy group in Yorkshire to feature on the worldwide map, which details how the schools marked Earth Day (22 April) this year.
An impressive line-up of speakers – including UK Government, The Woodland Trust, food waste charity ‘Too Good to Go’, The University of York, climate action solutions company, Ashden, and The Bishop of Middlesbrough – are just a small selection of the organisations who answered questions from the children as part of a special, virtual event.
Margaret Land, sustainability officer for St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, said: “Without any prompting, the children delivered some fantastic questions for our speakers to answer. ‘Is moving to Mars a realistic solution?’ and ‘how can we make sure our voices are heard?’ are just a couple of the wonderful examples. Our students are passionate about how their daily actions impact on the environment around them and the speakers really inspired this further.
“The theme for Earth Day this year is ‘Restore our Earth’, and our schools continued their commitment to protect the planet by planting trees, litter picking, making bird feeders and helping the wildlife to thrive. Every day is ‘Earth Day’ for the students and staff at St Margaret Clitherow as we continue to work towards the 2030 nationwide ‘Let’s Go (carbon) Zero’ campaign.”
Two of the Trust’s schools – St. John of Beverley RC Primary, Beverley, and St. Aelred’s RC Primary, York – took part in a live Q&A on the 21 April with Alex Green from the Ashden Trust, who introduced some of their global award winners who have developed pioneering solutions to the climate crises. Alex is leading the national schools’ campaign ‘Let’s Go Zero’ of which the Trust is a flagship representative.
Other specific activities at the individual schools included:
· St Francis Xavier Secondary School in Richmond planted 100 meters of mixed native hedge saplings (kindly donated by the Woodland Trust) as part of their ongoing green corridor project. The school has also volunteered to be part of the eduCCate Global climate change initiative with staff across several subjects being trained up.
· St Mary’s R.C. Primary School, Richmond Reception and Nursery children looked at caring for local wildlife, making a collection of different bird feeders for the outside areas. Other year groups looked at the Eden Project, deforestation of the Amazon, climate change and the effects of plastic in the ocean.
· Sacred Heart School in Northallerton has recently been successful in their application to the British Trust for Ornithology and have been given books and binoculars to help make their forest school area a bird friendly zone.
· All staff and children at St Wilfred’s RC Primary in York took part in a dedicated curriculum day to celebrate Earth Day. Each phase of school focussed on a different ‘we care’ statement, which links to the message of ‘Laudato Si’, for example, ‘We care about the world’s oceans’.
· St Mary & St Joseph RC Primary in Pocklington launched a recycling sculpture project. Children wore green as well as created a rainbow from coloured rubbish.
· Our Lady and St Peter RC Primary School, Bridlington did some seashore beach combing and litter picking. Children wore green themed costumes – green in every sense – colour, recyclable/ recycled materials. The school also had a no electric-light day, and a range of event looked at the bio-diversity of the school grounds and how it can be improved.
St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust is currently applying for government funding towards the school’s decarbonisation plans and wants to apply for energy efficiency measures, such as insulation and solar PV, for all the Trust’s schools.