For most families, Saturday will mean many things: getting to that big sports fixture in time; hitting the shops early to beat the lunchtime rush; or even visiting friends and extended family members.
But just as we all spring into March – a month when environmental awareness days come into focus, from Keep Britain Tidy’s annual national clean-up campaign The Great British Spring Clean to Global Recycling Day – here comes an exciting new annual weekend activity in sustainability. Set within Cheadle Hulme School’s 84 acres of green space, last month, the school launched its own Eco-Con community fair for the very first time.
The free event showcased stalls, workshops, talks and practical activities – all initiated to inspire ideas and bring about small changes that everyone can make in everyday life to collectively help tackle environmental issues.
CHS Council’s Eco Committee member and Sixth Form Waconian Alyssa, hosted a panel asking questions to representatives from Recycle for Greater Manchester and Transport for Greater Manchester. Other panels featured ambassadors from Fairtrade and there was a session about the key role of honeybees with Peter Carefoot of Stockport Beekeepers’ Association as well as a Q&A session with the school committee itself, answering questions about the work it has achieved this year.
“Eco-Con is a community fair open to everyone; its aim is to empower action, inspire ideas and sustain changes in daily life, so we can all play our part in positive changes to tackle environmental issues.” Alyssa, Sixth Form (School Council Eco Committee member)
And whilst visitors included the school’s families, staff and Old Waconian network of alumni, friends were invited too; with a special schools’ programme put together alongside Lum Head Primary, Lady Barn House School, Greenbank Prep and Thorn Grove primary.
Putting together Eco-School case studies, a ‘teacher know-how’ session with an Eco-Schools assessor (giving tips on the steps towards becoming an officially accredited Eco-School, like CHS’s own infant and junior school), plus a session with a sustainable business manager, giving an easy-to-follow roadmap to Sustainable School accreditation and becoming ‘zero carbon’ – the event was a useful and fun way to learn about how to make small changes for future generations to survive and thrive.
“We firmly believe that educating teachers about the importance of sustainability is just as important as educating us students. So, our classroom sessions for teachers to learn about how to deliver important sustainable messages and network to share ideas is really beneficial.” Sam, Sixth Form (School Council Eco Committee member)
Other highlights included demonstrations on how to make your own bath salts, whilst others shared tips on how to attract wildlife into your garden or save energy. Launched as part of Cheadle Hulme School’s Green Plan initiative to become carbon net-zero by 2030, Eco-Con looks to become an important date to mark on all our calendars.