Eco Schools and Let’s Go Zero is at the heart of our school. We want every child to leave Damers with climate awareness and the impact they can have on local, national and global environmental topics making a real difference for everyone. All our sustainability work is integrated into our curriculum and there is a real enthusiasm across the school to work towards being Carbon Zero.
The children drive the eco work through their eco ambassadors in each class. They set the agenda, help to plan our activities. They ensure that everyone really makes a difference. Every child at Damers is an eco ambassador. Working with our local community has been essential to our success. Whether it is the community supporting us, like the community garden volunteers, local Garden Centre or us helping the community, for example through the recycling of ink cartridges across Poundbury, recycling clothes or items that can’t be recycled at the curbside like crisp packets, stationery and tooth brushes. We sell compost from our Ridan to the community for a donation or donate compost from our Ridan to local schools, the Town Council to be used in flower beds and Borough Gardens.
Each term classes and Year groups make a Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Pledge related to the Sustainable Development Goals linked to their environment curriculum learning to help the environment, community or animals. Classes and year groups work on their pledges over a term and feed back to the whole school about the impact they have had, what they learned and what they will do next in an assembly with the whole school. Pledges include ideas such as reducing litter locally, identifying the wildflowers/trees in the school grounds and teaching other children and adults the names, carrying out random acts of kindness in the community, raising money to twin a toilet, saving koalas from bushfires or adopting one of the big five like a rhino.
The Eco Ambassadors take part in an audit of the school every year that is then used to put together an action plan of what the school needs to work towards to be Carbon Zero by 2030. The children write persuasive letters to businesses we work with asking them to reduce their packaging. They also write letters to the County Council and our local MP on local and national issues like wanting a safe cycle lane/route from Dorchester to Poundbury and every new house built having swift bricks. The children don’t take no for an answer.
The children analyse the energy consumption in the school using Energy Sparks with our caretaker, making sure the heating comes on and goes off at the right time and with the correct temperature. They analyse the impact our solar has on the energy we use which generates 40% of our energy on a sunny day. Teachers and children who are seen to be powering down correctly can apply for funds that can go towards a trip, workshop, equipment from the energy money saved each month. “Keep on Powering Down, Keep Getting Rewards.”
We have become nationally, even internationally, known for our environment work winning many awards including: Eco Schools Primary Eco School of the Year, Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Educational Institution of the Year and Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Schools Champion of the Year. The children have spoken to decision makers such as Environment Ministers, MPs and Royalty about their environmental campaigns. Children have represented the school at environment events with schools from around the world, businesses, national environment organisations each sharing their environmental work and learning from each other.
We are a Single Use Plastic Free School and look to Reduce, Reuse, Refill, Repair before Recycle. We make sure that all the procurement, stationery, events and fundraisers that happen within our school follow this plan of action.
We cover a whole range of issues and topics including biodiversity, energy, school grounds and gardening, waste/litter, water, marine life, transport, healthy living and global citizenship. Ask any child about our eco work and they will talk passionately about what we have achieved and what we want to achieve. The children are making a real difference locally and nationally in our fight against climate change.
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