A Cornwall school has heaped praise on its students for leading the way in educating others on environmental awareness.
Taking action to protect the planet that we live on is by no means a natural instinct.
Often, people and children need to be taught about the environmental challenges that our world is facing in order to learn how to curb the effects of climate change.
One school in Cornwall, Pool Academy, in Redruth, has students so passionate about the environment that they are actively asking the important questions on the topic and provoking steps to be taken within the school.
Freya Johnson, student and eco-enthusiast, led a project recently to create and design Wally the whale.
Wally is a 14ft whale made from a substantial amount of reclaimed items – including food and drink containers and an old surfboard.
The frame of the whale is made from chicken wire and parts of old ducting and insulation have also been used in the construction of Wally.
Freya said: “We made it out of plastic so people can see how much goes into the ocean and how much we are using.
“The plastic came from around the schools and people’s recyclables, we asked them to bring it in.
“It’s mainly made out of bottles but we had some tubes for the underbit.”
When asked what is next for Wally, Freya said they would like to arrange something along the lines of ‘where’s Wally the whale’ for school visitors. He would potentially be displayed somewhere within the school grounds, but it wouldn’t be said where.
It goes without saying however that at 14ft long, Wally is not hard to miss.
Wally was made during a one week period in the school’s enrichment week. The school has a week each year where children go off doing activities, such as horse riding, mountain biking and one of these activities this year was the assembling of Wally.
School principal, Claire Meakin, said: “I am incredibly proud of the leadership skills the students continue to demonstrate.
“We place a strong emphasis on students making a positive impact in their community and this is another example of them excelling in this area.”
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Pool Academy also posted to their website in March about a Year 8 student named Arwen who had given teachers a flyer from the Refill Store on Lemon Street in Truro after discovering crisp packets could be recycled and not thrown away.
She said: â€œI was talking about it with my mum. If you collect the empty crisps packets and send it to the shop, then you get points which can be turned into donations for charity.
The school then said: “It is hoped collection points will be set up in tutor roms and the canteen.”
â€œIt means we would be helping to save the planet as well as helping charities.
â€œI do think about recycling and believe it is important.
â€œI would really like the school to help with this scheme.â€
The school also have a teeny-tiny mascot who goes by the name of Buzz.
Buzz the bear has been on all kinds of adventures but more recently a project has been thought up that will send him out to sea with a GPS tracker.
Buzz will embark on the adventure to sea in an attempt to show students just how far into the ocean their plastic waste travels, another idea that developed as part of curiosity from the students and an eagerness to do more for their planet.
Phil Jones, the head of academy services at the school, said: “The students are the driving force here,Â striving to do better.
“It would be stupid not to listen to them, they will tell you whats important to them.”
The students have voluntarily given up their own lunchtime in order to build the boat that Buzz will need to carry him out to sea.
Mr Jones said: “It will basically be a floating buoy, he has solar panels and he will transmit his GPS back as he floats with the sea.”
Speaking more about what is going to be done in the future to continue pursuing the children’s wishes, Mr Jones said:
“In September, we are going to be about taking a step back, we can do litter picking and that sort of thing, we can do the easy stuff, but it’s taking a step back and looking at where we are using plastic in school specifically rather than the famous stuff, like straws.
“We are not in anyway bad at it, we have always recycled. But what else could we be doing? How does this change our mindset? We use a lot less paper for things because we have iPads across school, so that decreased our paper usage.
“We are currently having extra insulation added into the building.
“We have had an audit on all the lights to replace every light fixture because its never been done and you think , actually, they have been here since the building was here in the 70’s and they are not the most efficient.
“The reason we are doing it is because we want to be more efficient, we want to be better for the environment.”
The school are also looking at removing single use plastic from the school and a number of environmental projects led by the students will take place to hopefully enable them to get awarded a Green Flag.
“The students have numerous projects planned and have already signed up for the Green Flag Eco Project Charity.Â Wally the whale will be a part of an exhibition the students will be working on which will be displayed around the school and more marine creatures will be made from plastic items,” said school principal, Claire Meakin.
To find out more about Pool Academy and how it rates compared to other secondary schools in Cornwall click here.
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