St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, which is made up of 17 schools (two secondary and 15 primary), recently took part in Earth Day 2021 as part of their ongoing journey to embed ‘caring for the environment’ at the heart of the Trust.
The Trust invited several presenters from environmental organisations to speak to the children about climate change, its effects and what we can all do to support and protect the environment and reduce our emissions.
Salix’s Chief Executive, Annie Shepperd, shared knowledge and experience about climate change through two educational videos which concentrate on what climate change is and the effects it’s having on the earth, inspiring the children to make small changes and understand the impacts of carbon emissions.
The two videos can be found on the ‘Salix Video’ area of the website here.
As part of their journey, the Trust was selected to be part of the launch of Ashden’s nationwide ‘LetsGoZero’ campaign, supporting schools to work towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2030. The Trust is also continuing its own eco-action by participating in programmes such as the Keep Britain Tidy school’s initiative.
Margaret Land, Sustainability Officer for the Trust, said: “On behalf of all the children, staff and governors from across our Trust’s 17 schools, we would like to say a huge thank you to Salix for putting together two fabulous, pre-recorded video clips supporting our Trust-wide Earth Day 2021 celebration. The impact of bringing you (virtually) into our classrooms, exciting and engaging our children by answering their questions, has been enormous. The information you shared, together with your warmth and encouragement has helped to give our children the confidence they need to become active climate champions, caring for the environment in their homes, schools and their local communities.”
Amy Rice, CEO of St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, said: ‘We were delighted with the input from all of our contributors and the children and young people across the Trust were hugely appreciative of the great insights they got during our Earth Day celebrations. We have a generation in our schools right now that is passionate about the future of their planet and we owe it to them to do everything we can to secure their future. As is said in so many of our schools - Every day is Earth Day - and that’s certainly true for our Trust.’
The videos have already started to have an impact and make a difference to the children who have already watched them.
Thoughts from the children
Tom, Year 6 at St Wilfrid’s in York, said: “Earth Day made me realise how much damage we are doing to the Earth.”
Selina, Year 6 at St Wilfrid’s in York, said: “Earth Day was insightful. I learnt about the impact of my carbon footprint and how to reduce it.”
Olivia and Scarlett, Year 4 at Our Lady and St Peter in Bridlington, said: “Earth Day is and should be every day!”
Jacob, Year 4 at St Mary’s in Richmond, said: “I really enjoyed learning about climate change and pollution.”
Over the coming weeks, a Trust-wide sunflower growing competition is taking place, inviting students, governors, and staff to take part and link with ‘growing together’, a project run by an overseas charity in Tamil Nadu in Southern India (Friends of Mettupalayam Trust) which has been working hard for over 30 years to improve the lives of very poor children.
By participating in the competition, the Trust is hoping to encourage everyone to experience ‘growing together’ and ensure that the students understand the importance of supporting biodiversity by leaving the seed heads to provide essential food for wildlife.
Decarbonising their estates
St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust applied for and received funding through the Salix Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund, enabling them to carry out energy surveys across their 17 schools. The scheme has allowed several opportunities for decarbonisation to be identified, including the installation of ground source heat pumps, wind and solar power, improving insulation and ventilation and installing secondary glazing where necessary.
The Trust is planning on using any future available funding to begin installing such projects in the schools in order to make substantial energy efficiency improvements and demonstrate to its pupils its ongoing commitment towards a clean future