Reaching out to schools with a rubbish role

Tierney Woods loves to talk rubbish. Now the graduate biologist is set to spread her conserv-ation and environmental message after becoming Norfolk's first litter education assistant.

Tierney Woods loves to talk rubbish.

Now the graduate biologist is set to spread her conserv-ation and environmental message after becoming Norfolk's first litter education assistant.

The new £20,000-a-year Breckland Council post, which aims to reduce littering and improve recycling within schools, could be rolled out across the county if it proves a success.

One of her first visits was to Norwich Road Primary in Thetford yesterday as part of a tour of Breckland schools.

The 21-year-old hopes she can tidy up school grounds, boost recycling rates and help pupils in their Key Stage 2 tests by linking litter education to subjects such as science, mathematics, Eng-lish, citizenship and drama.

About 60 nine and 10-year- olds took part in the pioneering scheme yesterday by braving windy weather to conduct a litter pick and audit of their school to establish if they needed more rubbish and recycling bins.

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Miss Woods hoped the children would take some of her anti-litter messages home to their parents and families. "Through the lessons, we are trying to communicate the harm that litter can cause to wildlife and the environment and tell them why they should not be dropping litter. By going into primary schools, we are helping to change attitudes from a young age and we are hoping they will use that in and out of school and that their good practice will stay with them when they go to high school."

"The children have been really enthusiastic and we've made learning about litter fun. I am passionate about conservation and recycling and this is a fantastic opportunity to work with the children and get that message across," she said.

The new role, which is being looked at by other district councils in Norfolk, was funded by a waste performance efficiency grant from central government, but Breckland Council hopes to extend Miss Woods' 12- month contract.

Ann Steward, executive member responsible for the environment at Breckland, said the council was not throwing money away. "We think it's important to shape positive attitudes to the environment from a young age so that children understand the damage litter can cause to wildlife, other people and our beautiful landscape. That way they can take responsibility to keep their school and community clean," she said.