Back in January, our year three and four members took part in the RSPB Big School Birdwatch spotting a range of species of feathered friends with robins and gulls notching up the greatest tallies.
If you have walked into school from the back gate this week, you will undoubtedly have spotted our new fruit and vegetable raised beds. They appeared as if by magic (actually, it took rather a lot of hard work) on Saturday 11th June.
A huge amount of thanks goes to Katie Busfield, who not only organised the day but also funded it - by working hard to secure a grant. Thanks is also due to the workforce of parents, pupils and teachers who built the beds and wheel-barrowed a rather large, molehill-shaped mound of soil from the top gate to the back grass.
The kind donation of sausages from Nigel the butcher meant that the workers went home with full tummies as well as aching limbs, while the generous gift of plants from Wyaston Nursery means that our vegetable garden has got off to a flying start.
Watch this space!
Friday 20th May saw our first ever whole school Eco-Day. The weather was perfect, everything ran to plan, lots of learning happened and a wonderful time was had by all. Thank you to all of the staff who made the day possible and also to our visitors, Mrs Welch and Ms Ray from DCC.
The day for Y3 was centred on the 'biodiversity' Eco-Topic with the children scouring the school grounds looking for (and identifying) a range of bugs, making tally charts from which they produced pictograms; finding out about the parts of an insect, and building their own ideal bug homes which (hopefully) are now being inhabited by grateful bugs across Ashbourne.
Year 4 was all about what happens to the stuff we throw away. Emma Ray from DCC came in to run a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle workshop and to explore a timeline of how long it takes various items to decompose. The children up-cycled some of their collected 'junk' to make musical instruments, which they then used to compose music with Mrs Fellows.
Year 5 got stuck into researching different sources of energy, discussing the pros and cons of each and exploring their vision for the generation of UK energy. Anne Welch from DCC brought along some kits which groups of children could build to show wind, water and solar energy in action. Alongside this, the children made mobiles to use the power of the wind in outdoor art and also spent some time tidying up our school gardens.
For part of their day, each year 6 class designed their own outdoor artwork based on the style of Andy Goldsworthy. The results were very impressive. They also spent time getting messy, making recycled paper from pulp - an excellent way of using up all of those challenge sheets which we normally recycle at the end of lessons. Their third activity involved counting vehicles in a transport survey, asking questions about the volume of traffic using Park Road and thinking about the potential impact of all of the new housing due to be constructed on the airfield. Is it time that the west side of town had a by-pass? Ask them what they think.
Bulbs - December 2015
During the afternoon of Friday 11th December, Eco Council could once again be found digging away in our school grounds. This time, the items being planted weren't trees but daffodil bulbs - around 200 of them - which were kindly donated by Mr Frank Dick and the Ashbourne over 50's group. Mr Dick is grandfather to one of our Y3 pupils, Memos Stefanatos, and we would like to say a huge thank you to him for making this possible.
The digging took more effort than most of the Eco Council expected but they slaved away valiantly, planting all 200 bulbs in just under two hours, and feeling very relieved to be enjoying the Winter sun while they worked! Now we are looking forward to spring and our new show of colour.
The ECO Council had a really fun time on Friday morning, thanks to Theresa, Paula and Julie from Dales Housing who had invited us to join them in planting some small areas around the residential housing on Shaw Croft. The weather was perfect and we turned up lathered with sun cream and armed with water bottles, sun hats and trowels, ready for action. Simon and John, the contractors from Ground Control, demonstrated the hows and whys of what we were to do and we teamed up to get stuck in - planting, mulching and watering a variety of small evergreen shrubs. Some of the residents came out to join us, which was lovely; they are going to keep the beds well-watered for us until the shrubs become established.
At the end, Dales Housing gave each of the children a goody-bag, an unexpected surprise which was received with enthusiasm.
It's fantastic for Parkside to be involved with our local community and we'd like to say a big thank you to Dales Housing and Ground Control for making it possible. Next time you're in the Shaw Croft area, we hope you'll consider taking a little detour to admire our newly planted beds.
On May 15th, our Year 6 pupils enjoyed a full day of outdoor learning to mark the end of their SATs week. During the day, every child was involved in planting seeds for our vegetable growing, and tidying up our playground garden. They did a terrific job!
Every year, the Woodland Trust give away several thousand trees to schools and community groups. Parkside ordered sixty native trees and, in late March, the Eco-Council spent an enjoyably sunny afternoon planting the saplings in the school grounds. As they grow, our new trees will encourage wildlife onto site, be a learning resource, give some shade to the playground, produce a steady stream of oxygen and make our already attractive grounds even better.
Big Tidy Up
In October, the Eco-Council and friends took part in the Keep Britain Tidy 'Big Tidy Up', collecting several bags of rubbish from in and around the Memorial Gardens.