School pupils across the county are being encouraged to take part in a wide range of ecology and environment lessons thanks to an imaginative project in Canterbury.
Students at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar have been working on producing an activity programme which utilises an area of woods and grassland within its school grounds.
With a serious passion for the protection and preservation of the environment, the students’ objective is to offer wildlife facilities and support to pupils from other schools with active experiences and workshops in increasing biodiversity.
Interest in their scheme, titled Biojoyversity (www.biojoyversity.org), has already been encouraging. The two teachers leading the students, Becky Parker and Sam Goodfellow, say a number of primary schools across Kent have expressed a desire to take advantage of the opportunity and include the topics in their curriculum.
The school’s Biojoyversity project is now evolving into a wider initiative, called Encompass. The School has ambitions to team up with other schools, nationwide, to to collate ideas about recycling, tackling waste, and active measures to reduce carbon footprints, alongside increasing the level of biodiversity in whatever size of school.
The Biojoyversity project received a boost last year when students from the school won a Kent Hackathon, organised by the County Council’s Reconnect team. The competition allowed young people to share their ideas and collaborate on developing ways to engage others in fresh thinking about nature, climate change, and global warming issues.
Biojoyversity arose from work done by Sam and the students to develop biodiversity in the school’s orchard and research the positive effects on mental and physical wellbeing that arise from just ten minutes in the rich ecosystem. Encompass launched this month and extends the opportunities for students to participate, contribute and innovate in futures thinking. Its aims include building a network of schools and communities to share ideas and research; to create a space which brings science and the creative arts together around the environmental challenge; and to give students agency in their future, limiting the impact of eco-anxiety.
Simon Langton Girls’ partnered with the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Kent and Biojoyversity is supported by a number of leading scientists and innovators.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Rory Love, and Director of Education Christine McInnes visited Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar to see the outdoor facilities at the centre of the Biojoyversity project and interview some of the students leading it.
Mr Love said later: “We couldn’t fail to be impressed by their students’ detailed knowledge of the subject and their commitment to protecting the environment.
“I am sure visiting pupils will be fascinated to explore the woodland area and will be encouraged by the students’ energy and passion for the subject.
“I was pleased to have the opportunity to report back on what I learnt from the students at last week’s Kent County Council Cabinet meeting. As I reported to the webcast meeting, I kept my promise to a year-12 student, Rachel, by wearing the Biojoyversity butterfly badge she had knitted, to help raise the profile of their fabulous project.”
Mr Love’s mention of the school project can be seen here, starting at about 3.10: https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=115&MId=8994