We were contacted by Ruby, a year 11 pupil at North Cestrian School, Trafford, who wanted to show the Green City team her School’s Eco Club volunteering poster.  After a few exchanges of emails with Ruby and the school’s Deputy Head, it was revealed that the school is doing so much work to instil a sense of responsibility for the planet and society.  We invited Ruby to tell us more about the inspiring work taking place at the school…

I am Ruby, a member of the Eco Club and student leader at North Cestrian who is motivated to make a difference. North Cestrian has developed a theme of environmental awareness, led by students and supported by staff. We began with a small Eco Club, showing passion and generosity of spirit through school litter picks, making bird feeders, and increasing the number of waste bins. By the next year, this had expanded to educational visits to RHS Garden Bridgwater and creating our own on-site garden. We now lead themed non-uniform days in support of environmental charities, installed solar panels on the roof, conduct litter picks in Altrincham and the local community, assist John Leigh Park with leaf clearing and composting, plant vegetation at a local care home, and grow fruit trees for use in the school canteen.

In 2019, I joined the Eco-Club in its early development, knowing it would be a revolutionary group for school transformation. My first session involved creating bird feeders and hanging them around the school. Our next session was a litter pick, and with teamwork, we collected 15kg in one week from the local area.

I then participated in weekly meetings to discuss potential ways the school could implement better systems or invest in more environmentally friendly equipment. For example, one session discussed purchasing more bins to reduce litter. When more bins were purchased, our team decided to organize them so varied materials could be recycled. Subsequently, the club color-coded the bins, such as blue for plastic, to facilitate recycling – the stepping stones for a greener school.

We believe creating a greener world and environmental protection should be taken seriously. No animal should suffer because of our ignorance, nor should they become extinct due to human activities. Sustainability should be a key consideration, and the planet’s health is linked to our own. We understand that it is up to the younger generation to turn words into action and that we have the ultimate power to bring about change.

Routinely, groups engage in litter-picking. With the school’s “Cestrian character” education, students are encouraged to research their favourite subjects to advance their awareness of the world. I have completed my reflections on Seaspiracy – a documentary on unsustainable fishing. A 2018 report from the United Nations states, “by 2050, 90% of fish populations will be depleted.” Since then, I have led a review into the sustainable fishing certificate for our school dinner providers.

North Cestrian School is a place where we take environmental issues seriously. As a Year 11 student, I can safely say that our contributions in tackling environmental problems have, of course, been small scale and local, but we will have produced caring global citizens who will champion the cause into the future.

North Cestrian Pupils litter picking
North Cestrian Pupils litter picking

Matthew Bell, Deputy Headmaster at North Cestrian School added, “We envision a safe environment to foster the love of learning. Though, we aim for students to engage in academic subjects, we also want to instil a sense of responsibility – the importance of the environment and how everyone has an impact on our planet and society.

“In school we educate students about climate change, not only through Geography and Science lessons, but also many students have joined the school’s “Eco Club” and “Gardening Club.” For example, they are passionate about litter picking and discussing about ways to combat the challenges our school faces. A change we made was that the single-use plastic bottles were a prevalent thing seen in the playgrounds where too many became litter. With the introduction of a “North Cestrian water bottle” and the multiple stations for water refills, less students are buying water from the canteen which successfully leads to less litter and minimisation rather than recycling.”

School gardening club
School gardening club
Gardening club North Cestiran School
Gardening club at North Cestiran Schoo
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