Ollerton: Newark and Sherwood District Council staff help to build Parkgate Academy a greener future
A school committed to helping the environment has thanked council staff for building a new greenhouse to support its planting projects.
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s street scene team usually spends its working days making the district cleaner, safer and greener, but last month, two members of the team costructed a new greenhouse at the Parkgate Academy, Ollerton.
The school’s junior council first visited the council headquarters in October 2019, where they learned about all aspects of local government, from elections and submitting planning applications to environmental issues.
Having returned to school equipped with an extensive list of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, a group of four eco warriors were appointed to encourage and oversee the school’s environmental activities, as well as the saving of water, electricity and recycling of resources.
The group, from year five, were then successful in being awarded funds from a Tesco grant, enabling them to buy a greenhouse for their environmental endeavours.
Having already established links with the council's environmental services team, staff members Steve and Steve were only too happy to lend a hand to the pupils when the greenhouse proved complicated to build.
The council has pledged to continue supporting the school with its eco initiatives, with tree planting planned in the autumn and a litter pick at the nearby Boughton Brake taking place in the summer.
Ben Stacey, street scene manager at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The team had a great day at the school and it was a real pleasure to help the students out. They have put such hard work into their garden and it’s been great to hear about some of the produce they’ve already grown in the greenhouse.”
Kerry Chadburn, head at Parkgate Academy, thanked the two council employees for their superb support, as well as everyone else involved for their hard work and dedication towards the school becoming more eco-friendly in the future.
The eco warriors meet at lunchtimes to discuss their ideas and, after school, take part in Parkgate Academy’s gardening club. Currently, the school garden is a hive of activity, with baby lettuces, rocket, spinach, rainbow chard, runner beans, sweetcorn and pumpkins being grown.
In the greenhouse, three varieties of tomato plants are flourishing, along with melons, peppers and cucumbers. The watering and nurturing of the plants is overseen by the eco warriors.
Chairman of the council's leisure and environment committee Roger Jackson said: “I’m delighted that we could go along to support the Parkgate Academy’s greening projects and lend a hand with the greenhouse building. The school is going above and beyond to help the environment and it is fantastic to see children of such young ages being so proactive with their recycling, reducing and reusing efforts, creating a greener future for generations.
“As we move into the summer months, I’m immensely proud that our environmental services team will continue to support the school with their litter picking activities, as well as tree planting in the autumn.”
At lunchtime, purpose-built containers are available at the school to collect fruit skins, plastic bottles and tops, crisp packets and foil. Recently, the plastic bottle tops were weighed, with the money raised donated to the John Eastwood Hospice at Sutton-in-Ashfield.
With one eye to the future, plans are afoot to recycle food waste at Parkgate, transforming it into rich compost — having recently purchased three compost bins, two water butts, a variety of gardening tools and a wormery from a Veolia grant.