Staff and pupils at Lawn Manor Academy put the planet at the top of their priority list on Earth Day as they committed to taking practical steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Lawn Manor Academy, which is part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust, is already an established Forest School – with a dedicated outdoor learning area that allows children to develop a range of skills that cannot be taught in the classroom.
Pupils are encouraged to be active and explore nature working in the school’s outdoor small-scale eco-system, which was developed by head of geography Guy Henderson and some of his Forest School-trained colleagues, as research shows that being outside can help to improve mental health, communication and social relationships.
Throughout the school year, all pupils have access to the area, both during lessons and at the Lawn Manor Forest School after-school club. Activity in the area ties in with the in-classroom curriculum, with links to geography, science and many other subjects.
Guy Henderson led the Earth Day initiative by first splitting students into groups to brainstorm various ways they could do their bit to reduce climate change.
“As a school we decided to pledge to change the way we do some everyday things, so we looked at how we could do that realistically,” said Guy.
“We started off by looking at the history of Earth Day, which is 51 years old this year, and then explored how much difference relatively small changes in behaviour can have when they are adopted by many people. One of the simplest things is not to charge mobile phones overnight. Most phones only need an hour or two to recharge, so if I put mine on to charge while I’m asleep I’m wasting perhaps six or seven hours of electricity, every night.
“We also marked earth Day with a ‘no lights’ day – all lights in classrooms and corridors were left off, and although corridors did feel a bit dark it was a stark reminder of how we don’t need to have lights on all the time, all year round.”
Years 7 and 9 spent the day carrying out environmental quality surveys around the school, looking at how outside areas might be improved and checking whether there was any litter on the site, while Year 11 pupils worked in the outdoor eco-system area.
Teachers also contributed to the day, by initiating a No Screen day. Instead of using whiteboards, they issued pupils with a single A5 sheet to log tables to capture their research.
Guy Henderson said the day couldn’t have gone better.
“We’re hoping to repeat the No Screen days and we all learned a lot about how we can conserve energy and recycle everyday goods, but for me the best thing was hearing several pupils describe what they were doing as ‘awesome’. It was great to see them getting so involved, and clearly caring so much. I think they can’t wait until Earth Day 2022!”