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Manchester Environmental Education Network

St Chad's Primary School

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MEEN began working with St Chad’s by discussing waste and running a bin waste audit by examining and weight the waste from the school bins.

The immediate impact was to set up paper reuse in the classroom and to start recycling dry paper again. They also found quite a lot of fruit waste in the bin and wanted to start up a composting scheme.

However, the school was also keen to plant more trees to improve their school grounds for local biodiversity, to improve the local air quality and mitigate climate change. Consequently, MEEN organised a tree and hedge planting afternoon, planting six standard trees, and 75 smaller tree whips and hedging plants across the school site.

As stated in the school's newsletter:
"As part of our celebrations for our patron saint, we worked with manchester Environmental Education Network (MEEN) to give back to our local community and help look after our common home by planting trees and hedging around our school. A small selection of children from Key Stage 2 were chosen to work with Raichael and Andy from MEEN and Mrs Brackeridge, Mrs Mulligan and Miss Maggie all helped the children dig areas around school so we could plant the trees and hedging donated by MEEN."

The school were also busy running local litter picks for the Big Spring Clean with their local community, but they were also keen to get composting. Having received their compost bins and the classroom caddies for collecting the waste the decision was made to set up the bins in the school grounds. They were well sited and the base for the food waste was properly set up.

At one session the pupils collected the food waste and weighed it, discovering that on average in one week 8kgs of fruit and vegetable waste could be composted.

We also went into the school garden which has plenty of nettles and began the process of creating nettle fertilizer as this could provide valuable nutrients for the young trees.

On another occasion we also had a session focused on soil. The pupils looked in soil samples to see what life existed in the soil. They spotted worms, millipedes and springtails amongst other creatures although it should be pointed out the soil did not come from the school.

In fact, the bins were filling up fast but the lack of soil biodiversity in the school soil meant that the compost bin needed an accelerator to help speed up the process of decomposition. Consequently, we added worm castings, or worm poo, as a composting accelerant so that the 160kgs of fruit waste diverted from the bins would magically transform into compost over the Summer.

The good news was that the school also learnt that they had achieved their Green Flag Award for 2022 with a distinction! Well done St Chad’s!

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