Coppice Valley Primary School: Making Space for Nature
Over the May half term, a young roe deer found its way into our nature area and took up residence for the week. We’ve got secure fencing all the way around the site with no gaps, so it must have jumped over, lured in by our spacious grounds. Our wild cherry saplings, planted for the Jubilee have taken quite a beating, providing a nutritious snack for a growing deer! Although we’d rather not lose our Jubilee Wood to wildlife, we have to view this as part and parcel of making space for nature in our school grounds. A few years ago, we set out to develop our space into a haven for nature, so I suppose a wild animal like a deer making a home in our grounds is the ultimate test of that intention. We have some wonderful photos and footage, taken with a drone camera by the Dealhoy family who attend the school and live overlooking our field. Lauren (year 5) named the deer Platinum for the Jubilee. Platinum has now moved on to pastures new, but we hope to see him again.
It’s been a good week for nature and the environment at Coppice Valley as we also just achieved our Eco-Schools Green Flag Award. This is the top honour from the international Eco Schools organisation and has taken several years of hard work from our staff and pupils to achieve. The Eco Schools award accreditors said, “Your greatest successes are centred around young people’s engagement and enjoyment in your Eco-Schools work. This is so heartening to see. We were especially happy to see that the development of your outdoor spaces has improved wellbeing in school. This is really a testament to the Eco-Committee and staff at your school who have demonstrated that being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be difficult and no doubt created a future generation of environmentalists in the process – well done!”
Often, we do think that being environmentally friendly is too hard. It does require you to change some habits and think differently but it doesn’t need to be difficult. In school, we have so many things to do in a day and many different priorities to attend to. We know that if we make any of our systems too challenging that we just won’t stick to them. It’s like going on a crash diet – fine for a few days but not sustainable. With this in mind, our Eco-actions are simple but effective. Here are some of the things we do that maybe you can try at home.
1. Have small food waste bins in each classroom for snack-time fruit and vegetable skins.
2. Invest in a wormery or compost bins for your food waste. We turn our waste into fertiliser for our allotment beds.
3. Recycling bins for paper and card in the classrooms and glass, plastic and tin in the kitchen.
4. Up-cycle milk cartons into plant pots. We made a fabulous hanging herb garden!
5. Make a bee garden. We used an old tyre lined with up-cycled plastic to create a little drinking pond for bees and surrounded it with bee friendly plants.
It’s the little things that make a big difference. Who knows what nature you might bring into your garden.