St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust – which covers 17 schools in North Yorkshire, two secondary and 15 primary – has been officially placed on the global Earth Day map due to its continued commitment to protecting the environment.
The trust is the only academy group in Yorkshire to feature on the worldwide map, which details how the schools marked Earth Day on April 22.
An impressive line-up of speakers including Bishop Terry, the government, the Woodland Trust, food waste charity Too Good to Go, the University of York, climate action solutions company, Ashden, answered questions from the children as part of a special virtual event.
Bishop Terry discussed our responsibility as “Stewards of our Environment” and Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’.
Margaret Land, the trust’s sustainability officer said: “Without any prompting, the children delivered some fantastic questions for our speakers to answer. ‘Is moving to Mars a realistic solution?’ and ‘how can we make sure our voices are heard?’ are just a couple of wonderful examples.
“Our students are passionate about how their daily actions impact the environment around them and the speakers inspired this further.
“The theme for Earth Day this year was “Restore our Earth” and our schools continued their commitment to protecting the planet by planting trees, litter picking, making bird feeders and helping wildlife to thrive. Every day is Earth Day for the students and staff at St Margaret Clitherow as we continue to work towards the 2030 nationwide ‘Let’s Go (carbon) Zero’ campaign.”
Two of the trust’s schools – St John of Beverley RC Primary, Beverley, and St Aelred’s RC Primary, York, took part in a live Q&A with Alex Green from the Ashden Trust, who introduced some of their global award winners who have developed pioneering solutions to the climate crises. Alex is leading the national schools’ campaign Let’s Go Zero, of which the trust is a flagship representative.
Other specific activities at the individual schools included…
St Francis Xavier Secondary School in Richmond planted 100 metres of mixed native hedge saplings (kindly donated by the Woodland Trust) as part of its ongoing green corridor project. The school has also volunteered to be part of the eduCCate Global climate change initiative, with staff across several subjects being trained up.
Reception and Nursery children at St Mary’s RC Primary School, Richmond, made a collection of bird feeders for the outside areas. Other year groups looked at the Eden Project, deforestation of the Amazon, climate change and the effects of plastic in the ocean.
Sacred Heart School in Northallerton has recently been successful in their application to the British Trust for Ornithology and has been given books and binoculars to help make its forest school area a bird-friendly zone.
Staff and children at St Wilfred’s RC Primary in York took part in a dedicated curriculum day to celebrate Earth Day. Each phase focused on a different “we care” statement that link to the message of Laudato Si’, such as “We care about the world’s oceans”.
St Mary & St Joseph RC Primary in Pocklington launched a recycling sculpture project. Children wore green as well as creating a rainbow from coloured rubbish.
Our Lady and St Peter RC Primary School, Bridlington, did some seashore beachcombing and litter picking. Children wore green-themed costumes – green in more than one sense – colour, recyclable and recycled materials. The school also had a no electric-light day, and a range of event looked at the biodiversity of the school grounds and how it can be improved.
St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust is currently applying for government funding towards its decarbonisation plans and wants to apply for energy efficiency measures, such as insulation and solar PV, for all its schools.