St. Joseph’s Primary School, Wetherby leads the way with local Earth Day celebrations.

On Friday 22nd April, St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Wetherby celebrated Earth Day with a variety of activities held throughout the day. Founded in 1970, the annual celebration of Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. Every year activities involve over 1 billion people around the world, as a day of action to change human behaviour and create global, national and local policy changes.

As part of St. Joseph’s ‘Live Simply’ ethos, they have held activities all last half term leading up to this week, with a focus on each class creating their own ‘8 to be great’ actions, which will be shared with parents and guardians at the end of the week. Ideas like ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ featured strongly in the children’s promises for Earth Day.

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A representative of Boston Spa, Wetherby and Villages Community Green Group also attended and led an informative and interactive session on Earth Day itself, focusing around the Climate Emergency, personal carbon footprints from around the world and what we can each do ourselves to reduce, reuse and recycle. Presenter, Adrian Balcombe, was ‘delighted by the response from Years 5 & 6, with lots of ideas generated by the young people’. He goes on to say that ‘St Joseph’s are a fantastic school to support; they have a great educational focus on sustainability’. In fact, they have been the only school in Wetherby to participate in the programme (alongside Primrose Lane Primary School, Boston Spa), delivered by local Community Green Group volunteers. We would be delighted to support other local schools with this initiative, so please get in touch (bostongreengroup.co.uk).

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Deputy Head and Year 6 teacher, Jayne Ward goes on to say that, ‘this extra-curricular content really helps to support our curriculum intent which includes our children being life-long leaners, having high aspirations for themselves, the community they live in and God’s world. Learning about the climate crisis at a young age is key to making a difference and is easily built into covering key elements of the National Curriculum too with a little bit of thought.’ Jayne goes on to say, ‘The content of the presentation was pitched very well for the children's age and was accessible for differing abilities too. The carbon footprint topic certainly gave the children lots to think about, not just in school but to take home to the family home too. We have many plans now about how we can push forward and build on this topic to bring about further change in our school and community so that we are living more simply and protecting our planet’. Head Teacher, Louise Milivojevic shared that she is extremely proud of the whole community at St Joseph’s to make a difference to living more sustainably and is passionate about ensuring this important topic remains a key element of St Joseph’s curriculum. She went on to say, ‘Many of our recent Outstanding Contribution Awards, have gone to children who are not only living out our live simply mission in school, but also outside of school, in their homes and when they are out and about. Our children are the future generation and they are the ones who can really make a difference and protect our environment!’

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Back in March, Penny Stables and Adrian delivered further extra-curricular content to the rest of the school, sharing the initiatives of the Boston Spa, Wetherby and Villages Community Green Group. These include ‘caring for our local environment, reducing waste, reusing and recycling and encouraging more active travel. Co-founder Penny Stables says, 'I was delighted to participate with St. Joseph’s and felt that the children really responded to the themes showcased.’

As part of the Community Green Group recycling initiative, St. Joseph’s have started to collect crisp packets and pens/markers for recycling into fence posts, watering cans and picnic benches – giving waste a second home. Members of the public can also recycle empty crisp packets, used pens/markers and used toothpaste tubes/brushes at Yorkshire Building Society, Wetherby or Yeadon’s Hardware, Boston Spa. To date the scheme has recycled over 25,000 crisp packets! Please visit bostongreengroup.co.uk/waste-recycling to find out more.

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