Students environment project reaps rewards

A fantastic opportunity was grasped by a group of Year 8 environmental students from Maricourt Catholic High School thanks to Mrs Ashby, the school’s science technician and students Charlie Carr, Neve Rice, Finn McCann, Hannah Welch and William Gilbert and its Naturescape Group.

In the wooded area at the front of the school, the group set up cameras to look at wildlife, planted wildflowers and created a pond containing tadpoles and frogs. They also built hedgehog houses, two bug hotels, bird boxes and bird feeders.

Mrs Lawler, assistant associate head, contacted national fit out and refurbishment specialist business, Overbury, who were running a Dragon’s Den-inspired competition to engage science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students in Liverpool to think about the sustainability impact of their schools.

This competition required a group of pupils to complete an audit, present the results, generate ideas or strategies which could address the environmental issues within the school and then put together a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch to a panel of experts.

The young people were required to pitch for a £5,000 prize, which the winning school could use to put the winning strategy into place. So Charlie, Neve, Finn, Hannah and William took up the challenge!

For the audit, they spent two weeks interviewing members of staff about the school, notably site manager Mr Vose; Mr Daly who leads PSHE and the school council; Mrs Ashby who formed the Naturescape Group in school; Mr McCabe the school chaplain and Mrs Jones, catering manager.

They gathered their findings together and decided on two projects.

The first project focused on reducing food waste. The school has a disused garden space and they decided to grow vegetables and herbs for the school kitchen, such as tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs.  Added to this, they proposed to create a wormery to create the compost and to use grey water for the garden.

The second project looked at how to engage students in litter picking activities. They created a rota of students who would pick litter around the school. But they also wanted to do litter picking in the community so as to make a difference to the local area.

They estimated that this would all cost £2,650 and with the help of Mr Daly, learned the art of presenting.

The pupils presented their pitch via Microsoft Teams to a panel of experts from Overbury. After a nervous start they did an incredible presentation! They were the youngest pupils to present from all the schools that took part in the competition. The team of experts from Overbury were really impressed and had nothing but positive comments for the students.

Following a nervous wait, the news arrived that Maricourt Catholic High School would receive a £2,500 contribution towards the initiative to recycle food waste. The pupils’ project, suggesting both litter picking and a compost bin or wormery, allowing them to recycle food waste into a vegetable garden at the school had impressed the judges and the environment project received the all important go ahead.

Following the wonderful news, Victoria Dootson, sustainability manager for Overbury, came to the school to congratulate the students on a fantastic achievement and they celebrated with pizza.

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