Student recruits grow their own and go to war on waste
Ecologist Chris Gorman, Harry Geere and Ashley Peterson assisting.
Pupils convince street traders to save bruised fruit for their special project
DURING the summer, students from Haverstock School marched on Inverness Street and convinced the traders to save their bruised fruit for a freebie smoothie stall.
Local grass roots eco-groups, Global Generation and Global Action Plan, have been so successful in recruiting students to their projects – which includes growing vegetables on London rooftops to sell to restaurants – that there is now a waiting list.
Their partnership was celebrated with an exhibition of photographs at the school last week, which brought into focus the natural aspects of Camden High Street.
Global Generation chief Jane Riddiford said: “For a lot of kids the environment is just a bunch of dirt. These projects allow them to explore their latent awe and wonder for their own ecology.”
A recycling audit earlier this year was supervised by Jenny Wiggle of Global Action Plan, an eco-audit group.
When she and four students weighed a day’s worth of waste in March they discovered that the school was producing 174kg of rubbish a day, the equivalent of 17 elephants of rubbish a year (34 tonnes).
By July this figure had been reduced by 30 per cent. “It’s when you actually look at the measurable changes that we understand the improvements that can be made,” said Ms Wiggle.
Nicholas Langham, deputy head, said: “We will endeavour to build upon this work and extend our partnerships with organisations such as Global Generation as external groups are essential to our future success.”
The Global Action Plan will soon be conscripting students from Haverstock Hill school to conduct a water audit at the school.
Push-button taps, rainwater harvesting systems through sustainable landscaping, dual flush toilet systems and energy saving timers in the urinals can all contribute to saving water.
Ms Wiggle said a rainwater harvesting system could have been incorporated in the concrete playground through the use of holes.
“I imagine they concreted a lot of the playground because they have a lot of students and little space.”
She added: “Considerations over budget come into play.
“Lots of schools are forced to decide between, for example, a green roof or technology for the school.”
Ms Riddiford hopes that by engaging young people in green fingered activities a new generation will be born that might recognise their responsibility to the environment.
n THE students’ clear interest in saving the planet was not necessarily reflected in the school’s £21 million PFI rebuild last year.
Although, Lib Dem Councillor Alexis Rowell, who attended the launch, considers the building to be “fantastic” he thinks it is a shame the latest energy efficient technology was not employed in its design.
Cllr Rowell said: “This should have been an exemplar of schools.”
Building regulations require certain standards of insulation and air tightness but do not include sedum roofing, the use of porous material on the grounds rather than Tarmac or concrete and renewable energy.
“At Haverstock they claim to have lights that go off if people do not walk past and walls that bring in fresh air and send out still air,” said Cllr Rowell, who is referred to by the council as the Eco Champion. “I'm not 100 per cent convinced they have. The point is they could have could have gone a lot further.”
John Dowd, headteacher at Haverstock, admitted the building “could have been better” but declined to talk about the intricacies of its design failings on this occasion.
He said: “The project has been a personal journey for these kids. To move from that to the facilities of the building is too big a jump.”