Kirkhill Primary School will be the venue for a conference next Saturday (11 March) looking at sustainable development for school grounds and community spaces.
Organised by The Highland Environmental Network, in association with the primary school, Kirkhill and Bunchrew Community Trust and Action 4 Sustainability, delegates will have the opportunity to find out about local and national sources of support, funding and inspiration to develop school grounds and open spaces.
They will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of hands-on training sessions and workshops, including building living willow structures, creating wildflower meadows, growing vegetables, using compost and wormery systems, carrying out wildlife investigations and creating community gardens.
Head teacher of the school, Mrs Christine Ford said: "We are delighted to be hosting this conference and look forward to finding out about all the help that is available to help schools and groups transform what can often be dull and uninspiring areas of the playground or neglected community spaces.’’
Principal teacher Mrs Jean Gibson who has been coordinating the event said: "Pupils can gain a great deal from improving their school grounds. The wide range of workshop choices will, I am sure, encourage everyone who comes along to take a closer look at the spaces around them and come up with ideas to be creative. Staff intend to use the improved school grounds as an outdoor teaching resource to enhance their delivery of many areas of the current curriculum.’’
The conference, which has been funded from the Partnership for Rural Inverness and Nairn Biodiversity Project, will take place from 10am to 5pm. The cost for adults is £5, organisations pay £10 and places for children under 16 are free but they must be accompanied by an adult. Delegates are advised to wear warm clothing as workshops take place outside.
Anyone wishing to come along should book a place in advance by contacting the conference co-ordinator Toni Clark on 01463 731066
Below is the full list of workshop choices:
1. "Composting Magic with Worms" Sheila Wickens, Waste Education, The Highland Council
Discover all the wonderful things that worms can do for us, transforming our waste into nutrient rich composting! Learn about new activities and how to set up and care for your wormery.
2. "Creating Living willow structures" Tessa Jones, Highland Council Ranger Service and Les Bates, Kirkhill and Bunchrew Community Trust.
We will be creating a "fedge" (fence/hedge) from scratch - if all goes according to plan! Starting with a variety of cut willow and a grass playground, we will be marking out, planting, weaving together and tying up willow to create two living structures. There is also a second workshop to construct a willow sculpture as part of the redevelopment of Kirkhill Community Park.
3. "Creative cutting and drawing with recycled materials" Geordie Haig for Magpie Creative Recycling.
How to get the most out of recycled scrap materials. Geordie uses creative cutting and drawing as a versatile design tool for a variety of 2D applications. This is an opportunity to see some different techniques, and to use scrap materials to develop a design of your own. (Have lots of fun with colour, shapes and texture with plenty to take home at the end of the day!).
4. "Eco Schools – who can help you" Elanor Gordon Action for Sustainability
What does Eco Schools entail? How can A4S and others help you work towards all levels of the award. Find out from others how they have got on.
5. "Environmental Games" Glachbeg Croft education centre
This participatory workshop will provide an opportunity to have a go at some outdoor games designed to use senses or create a feeling for contexts. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas. The workshop will begin and end with a discussion.
6. "Forest school – make it relevant to your group" Forest Education Initiative Highland Cluster Group
Practical forest-focussed activities suitable for all ages - Early Years, Primary, Secondary, those not attending school at all and adult groups - motivated as well as the disaffected.) Find out how the Forest School ethos is appropriate to school grounds projects, community projects and a variety of social enterprise and support projects.
7. "How to turn a lawn in to a wildflower meadow" Corinne Hambly, Highland Council Ranger Service
You can easily add to the colour, interest and biodiversity to an otherwise dull area of your garden. Come along to this simple workshop to find out how to create a bountiful wildflower meadow.
8. "Involving Children in School Grounds Projects" Muriel Young, Grounds For Learning
Children are at the heart of any school grounds project – but are they? Is it always easy to make sure children are fully involved? What happens when there are conflicting ideas? Come to this workshop where we will look at the benefits of involving children and different methods to use. Relevant to early years settings as well as primary and secondary.
9. "Plot to Pot taster session!" Kirkhill Primary School and Skye and Lochalsh Horticultural Development Group
Join Kirkhill Primary School in constructing and planning their vegetable plots. You will have the chance to take part in all the stages needed to built, prepare and maintain areas for growing food in the school grounds.
10. "Renewable Energy - a time to learn" Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company
This will be a chance to test out a number of renewable education tools. The focus of the workshop will be building and testing a Hydrogen Fuel Cell model Car!
11. "Starting a community garden" Helen Pank, from the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens
Would you like to grow your own vegetables, get out in the fresh air, learn new skills, meet new people and find out how to attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife? Then you need a community garden! Find out how to get started & be inspired by pictures and information from a range of community gardens around the UK.