July 17, 2023

Plastic Free July: Sir Jonathan North Girls' College Eco Club

As part of ‘Plastic Free July,’ an initiative which aims to combat plastic pollution and to ensure the conservation and protection of the environment, we are taking a look at some of the work our school’s Eco Clubs do; today, it’s the turn of Sir Jonathan North Girls’ College.

Set up in 2019, the Sir Jonathan North Eco Club is overseen by geography teacher Mrs White and consists of around 15 students who meet for an hour after school every Thursday.

The club follow the Eco Schools programme – an organisation who work with a range of schools across the UK to encourage young people to take an active interest in preserving the environment and protecting the planet – and work on three projects per year, one each term. Last year, the school were even awarded the Eco Schools Green Flag.

This year, they have focused on the school grounds, energy and transport.

The students have planted an array of trees on the school grounds and have also worked alongside the Saving Saffron Brook project to create an orchard in the college and have improved the pond to ensure the site remains an area of stunning beauty.

A number of educational initiatives have also been introduced to improve both staff and student’s knowledge of energy, encouraging them to monitor what they use on the Energy Sparks website – a school-specific tool that analyses how and where energy is distributed.

Furthermore, for transport, strong emphasis has been given on using alternative, environmentally-friendly methods to get to school. The club recently worked in tandem with Sustrans, a charity who encourage children to walk and cycle to school, and took part in the Big Walk and Wheel Fortnight in March. The campaign invited schools across the country to compete against one another to see which school could get the most children to either walk or cycle in. Sir Jonathan North finished in a respectable 38th place, with one in five students either walking or cycling to school.

In terms of plastic pollution and how the school are planning to combat it, Mrs White claims that they are planning to work alongside Eco Schools and prioritise that issue for the next academic year.

Mrs White is proud of the work her club have done so far and insist it is vital that young people take an active interest in environmental issues.

“We need to make them active citizens to inspire them to make a positive difference. It gives them a way of doing their bit for the environment.”