A group of students from Northgate High School have just been awarded a grant of over £5000 for their environmental action projects. The team of Year 7 to 9 students, have been working alongside a project mentor, Alex Day, and Ben Earle from Gressenhall Community Hub, as part of the Green Influencer Scheme.

The scheme, with The Ernest Cook Trust, which funds Green Mentor posts across England, supports groups of young people in their environmental social action projects. It was borne out of a desire to help young people realise their potential to positively impact the environment through youth social action. Northgate’s Green Influencers have learnt about the world around them, new skills, gained experience and confidence. Their projects will help create lasting and meaningful connections with the natural environment.

They have taken part in sessions at school based on different aspects of the environment including trees – their history, how they can be used to look at climate patterns and why they are so important to the environment and conservation efforts. They also looked at they looked into what climate emergency is, what sustainable means to them, environmental issues in the local area and possible solutions. Another session saw students become designers and landscapers, thinking about environmental benefits of grassland, ponds, wildflower areas, forests and more and re-imagining the school grounds.

The Green Influencers have already started work on a wildflower area outside of school time. Creating an area to attract pollinators was right at the top of their wish list! They hope in time it will become, not only a quiet mindfulness area, but also an opportunity for learning across different curriculum subjects. They have some big plans for other areas of the school and after receiving a grant of over £5000 from the Ernest Cook Trust, these plans will be able to become a reality.

Later in the year, students will be taking a trip to the Gressenhall Community Hub, based at Gressenhall Rural Life Museum and Farm. They will be working alongside the tree officers at the tree nursery and hope to learn even more that can be put into practice at school.

Miss Theobald, who runs a number of eco initiatives at the school and has worked alongside the Green Influencers said, ‘It has been great to see the students grow in confidence over the sessions they have completed with our project mentors. They have learnt about the climate emergency, thought about issues closer to home, looked into the history of trees and put together a project plan. They have shown a real passion for the environment and in particular what they can do moving forwards on the school site. They can’t wait to make further progress on their projects and share what they have done with the community. We are delighted to have been awarded such a substantial grant and know this will really support the students’ projects.’

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