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Educating the next generation of environmentalists

Children at the top of the Ecotricity wind turbine, Green Britain Centre. Picture: Sara Cox

Children at the top of the Ecotricity wind turbine, Green Britain Centre. Picture: Sara Cox

Archant

Ninety children from a north Norfolk school visited the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham, as part of their eco week.

As well as climbing the 65-metre Ecotricity wind turbine, the children from Colby Primary School, near Aylsham, built their own wind turbines from kits, learnt about organic gardening, electric and wind powered vehicles, as well as issues such as food miles, composting and preserving wildlife.

Climbing the wind turbine’s 305 steps was a challenge for pupils and staff, but Oliver Matthews, seven, was rightly proud to get to the top. He said: “It was the best day of my life. I faced my fears and I won.”

The school began the week with a ‘Love Where You Live’ litter-picking campaign and involved the community in textile and bottle top recycling projects.

Each class undertook its own renewable energy research project studying tidal power, the production and use of biofuels, solar energy, wind power and hydro-electric power, building their own mini turbines to generate electricity.

Parents, grandparents and governors were then invited to school to see the work displayed.

Headteacher Christine Mead said: “We love working together, being outdoors, helping the environment and having fun – this week we did it all.”

Supported by their PTA, plans are under way for the construction of a new eco toilet block next year, as well as the creation of a bee and butterfly garden in memory of Eric Allaway, a former governor of the school.

The school is also working with commercial projects, helping them to develop educational eco packages for other schools.

A school spokesman said: “The week has shown that even very young children can get to grips with issues of renewable energy and understand they will be dependent on these forms of energy as they grow up.

“All children at Colby develop an appreciation for the countryside and how to look after, and nurture, the environment and wildlife. Above all, the children understand that they all have a part to play in a greener world and it is the choices and decisions they make that will dictate the future of our environment.”

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