When I took over the school's Environment Action group in September, I thought all I had to look forward to was recycling paper. As the work unfolded I realised I had been proved wrong. The group had already set its sights on attaining the Eco-School Award and so this became our first priority.
With the support of five hard-working, dedicated sixth-form students and a "green army" of pupils from lower down the school, we achieved the Bronze Award in November.
Eco-Schools focus on a number of aspects of school life, including school grounds, water, energy, waste minimisation, litter, transport. Over the year, the sixth-formers have increasingly taken on more responsibility and now each is in charge of a section, while I take charge of the "big picture". With my help, the pupils have decided where they want to focus their efforts, what research must be done and whether their ideas are viable.
Activities so far have included: making bird boxes for the grounds; clearing the pond area, and carrying out a transport survey of how pupils travel to school and whether or not more pupils would cycle to school if there were secure facilities to store bikes.
To add to this we have an ongoing paper-recycling scheme and have collected five bin bags full of Christmas cards to be recycled.
I look forward to the group arriving every week with new ideas that they want to try out and ways of making the school more eco-friendly. We are also becoming more cross-curricular, with the drama department starting a production on litter and the design and technology department helping pupils make model wind-turbines.
Helen Bell Teacher of Biology and Psychology, Helsby High School, Cheshire