A group of Year 11 students started work in the school’s Eco Garden, as part of their Science and ASDAN award. Throughout the day each student took responsibility for an area of the garden, where they prepared and planted containers, dug and planted flower borders and built a well as part of the school’s ongoing link with Water Aid (an international non governmental organisation, improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the poorest of countries).
Paul Watermeyer, a qualified horticulturalist from Paul Watermeyer Landscapes, was also on hand to lend his expertise and advice to the enthusiastic gardeners. With his guidance and support, students were encouraged to try their hand at planting strawberries, alpine plants and rosemary. One student said that working outside ‘was better than being at the gym’.
Paul commented: "The children showed a natural talent for gardening and interest in developing an Eco garden, it was a pleasure to work with students and staff who are so committed to preserving and developing their environment."
The school was also fortunate enough to have the support of Mr and Mrs Long, parents of students at the school, and owners of a local plant nursery, who donated enough plants to fill a sizeable border to attract butterflies and associated wildlife to the garden.
Mrs Ashbee-Dobbins and Mrs Harper, teachers at the school, were both thrilled by the efforts made by the students, and how proud they should be of their individual and group efforts. They were also very grateful for all those who had given their time and efforts in this venture. Special thanks to Paul Watermeyer and Mr and Mrs Long for their ongoing support and generosity.
Mrs Harper added that: "It is thanks to the generosity of people like Paul and the Longs, who provide their time and resources for free, that make the project all the more worthwhile. The students have been able to work with a professionally trained gardener and try something they may not have done before. Mr and Mrs Long’s kind donation of plants from their nursery means that the butterfly garden can be started sooner than anticipated."
Mrs Ashbee-Dobbins, Eco-Schools Coordinator at the school, said: "I’m thrilled that the students have done such an awesome job of starting off our garden. The funding for our first plants came from HSBC and the Royal Bath and West show, where we were the finalists for Wiltshire in the Youth Environment Awards last June. Thanks to the planning and dedication of the Eco-Council of the school and the excellent plans submitted to the Royal Bath and West last year, the students have started a garden which will help build cross-curricular and community links for years to come."
Work in the garden is ongoing. The area will continue to be developed over time, with, for example, areas for sculpture, vegetable growing and native wildlife. The school would welcome support and advice from any company and/or organisation that could help with the garden and its future development.