PUPILS AT Markethill Primary in Turriff in Aberdeenshire have slashed the amount of water being used in their school by more than 1.1 million litres a week, following a project to measure the school's global footprint.
It is one of the first Scottish schools to use the School's Global Footprint calculator, a resource that allows pupils to measure their school's waste, water, energy, travel, food and buildings footprints.
At Markethill, they were horrified to learn they poured 1,157,000 litres of water down the drain every week. But now, thanks to water-conserving initiatives, such as improved practices for washing art materials, the figure has plummeted by more than 95 per cent to just 45,000 litres.
The School's Global Footprint was produced as part of a wider footprint project within Aber-deenshire, Aberdeen City and North Lanarkshire, and is available on the Learning and Teaching Scotland website.
But the project has done more than raise awareness of environmental issues.
"Working on the Schools' Global Footprint has had multiple benefits financially, educationally and environmentally. Engaging in decision-making on real-life issues has improved the pupils' motivation and confidence, while the work supports A Curriculum for Excellence," says Allison Bremner, P7 teacher.
"There have been numerous opportunities to link to the curriculum and to address cross-curricular themes such as citizenship, personal and social development, health and well-being, and sustainable development. The work has been used to begin our eco-schools work. Future footprint measurements will be used to monitor action and evaluate progress."
Scotland's ecological footprint measures 5.37 global hectares. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, which has been working with Markethill and other schools to identify ways to reduce it. This amount is unsustainable.
The WWF wants to see Scotland's footprint stabilised by 2012 and reduced by 75 per cent by 2050.
* www.LTScotland.org.uksustainabledevelopmentschoolsglobalfootprint www.scotlandsfootprint.org