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Welcome to Craven DEC's 6th Green Futures Eco-Schools Newsletter.  We are working with secondary schools to help them on their journey to become Eco-Schools as part of the Green Futures project which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund through the Our Bright Future programme. Please do forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who may also be interested in environmental and Eco-Schools news, they can subscribe by emailing

Focus on School Grounds 

Summer term is a great time to get outdoors, and focus on the School Grounds Eco-School Topic.  

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play, and is supported by Eco-Schools. All schools can now use their participation in it as evidence for their Eco-Schools Green Flag application.  There are outdoor lesson ideasresources to encourage others to get involved.

Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) surveys are a fantastic way to take the curriculum outdoors, learn new skills and contribute to real scientific research.   The surveys explore the health of our soils and trees, the quality of our air and water, the distribution of native and invasive invertebrates, and the importance of habitats for wildlife. OPAL provide easy-to-follow survey instructions, and straightforward ID guides.  The lesson plans and curriculum guides take you step-by-step through teaching OPAL surveys to your pupils.  Green Futures staff can help you conduct surveys or loan you ID guides.   The surveys are also a great baseline of biodiversity before you improve your school grounds, and if repeated annually, can show how you've really made a difference.

A popular OPAL survey is Polli:Nation which surveys your local patch for pollinators. Many schools have pledged to plant a pot or put aside a 1 x 1 metre area in your garden, school grounds or business to grow pollinator-friendly plants. These plants provide food and shelter for pollinating insects.  Find out more and to make your  own Polli:Nation :Pollinator Promise

The Local Schools Nature Grants Scheme is open again.  They are looking for schools making environmental improvements for the benefit of their pupils, staff and the community, and provide funding for nature equipment and training.  The deadlines are:  27th April 2018, 1st June and 31st August.  The funding is over subscribed, but if unsuccessful first time, you could re-submit each funding round.  

RHS School Gardens I Can Grow campaign: is designed to empower young people, allowing them to create a campaign, using plants, to shout about the environmental and social issues they believe in.  If you'd like to help inspire your class or group to grow,  Sign up for a free inspiration pack containing a project guide, seeds, stickers and more! Packs are limited so sign up before they all go.

Have a look at Wild Time Learning an easy-to-use, web-based tool, to help teachers take learning outside.  The site gives you learning activities tagged against curriculum learning topics and key learning stages - all set out by time.  This is still a prototype, 200 schools in the South West are involved, but they'd love more schools up and down the country to get stuck in with it. 

Over 1 million people have seen the film #ProjectWildThing by a film all about getting young people outdoors.  To celebrate they're giving away 250 free screenings to schools and communities in the UK!  

Photo: Bug Hotel built with Green Futures support by students at Cedar House, Bentham 

Funding for projects

Youth Environment Action Fund (YEAF) - Our very own Green Futures fund for young people. Recent YEAF funding includes; gardening equipment and seeds, plastic recycling containers, bike racks and more gardening tools - what eco activities or campaigns could you do with extra funding?  Next deadline: 4 June 2018 

Tesco Bags for Help Bags of Help is Tesco’s exciting local community grant scheme  where the money raised from the 5p bag charge is being used to fund thousands of local projects in communities and schools right across the UK.  Ongoing 


New Resources 

Include Energy Eco-School topic in your curriculum with ideas from the Solar for Schools new  Education website. This website is full of resources, including Energy Detectives and Solar Ambassador programs.  You can also contact Sarah,, with any questions or to give any feedback. 

Diary Dates!

Diary Dates can help give a hook or focus to existing work, and help you  publicise inside school, and within the wider community what you are doing as a Eco-team. Spread the word, and get more people involved in positive activities for the environment.  #owningit #greenfutures #OurBirghtFuture

Three of the big international days coming up this term have plastic as their theme.  Why not endeavour to have "no single use plastic" at all in school on one or more of these days. You can use social media, blogs and your Eco-boards to highlight what you are already doing in school or things you want to!  Skipton schools: SGHS and TSA are planning to take further action on plastic this summer term - why not join them!  

Earth Day 22nd April 2018:   The theme this year is: End Plastic Pollution. and Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour about plastics. 

The Big Pedal: 23 April and the 4 May 2018: the UK’s largest inter-school cycling challenge. It inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school. On each day of the challenge schools compete to see who can record the greatest number of pupils, staff and parents cycling to school. During the Big Pedal 2017 schools recorded over one million journeys by bike and scooter.  

Fashion Revolution Week 24 April 2018, the date of the Rana Plaza building collapse. Fashion Revolution Week  encourages people around the globe to ask fashion and clothing brands ‘Who made my clothes?’, using the hashtag #whomademyclothes.  Add a challenging poster and facts to your Eco-board - Did you know that one T-shirt takes as much water to make as most people drink in 3 years!   Craven DEC do have a workshop on Fast Fashion that they can deliver for you in this week. 

World Environment Day 5th June : The theme  “Beat Plastic Pollution”  invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. Share your activities and ideas on social media using the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution 

World Oceans Day 8 June: The theme is Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

Refugee Week  2018 (18-24 June)  has its  own 20 year anniversary as the theme, and Refugee Week are inviting you to take part with a choice of 20 ways to stand with refugees and make new and stronger community connectionsk.   Events in refugee week fit under the Global Dimension  Eco-Schools topic. A further environmental focus could be  the link between climate change and refugees.   

Green Futures staff can help plan lessons, activities or actions for any of the above days, please email if interested.   

11th -13th October 2018

 A chance for schools to enter a global writing  competition.

The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition is the World's oldest school's international writing competition. The competition invites young people to write about topical issues and is a great opportunity to enhance your school's profile. The theme for 2018 is 'Towards a common future' allowing your students to explore global challenges and develop critical thinking.  Entries must be submitted by the 1 June 2018. 


NW Eco-Schools Conference 28th June 2018: an informative and interesting day out for staff and for students  Book here  Green Futures may be able to help with funding for schools to attend this event, please email
School News

Students at Settle College planted 60 trees in their school grounds, the trees will grow next to the area they are developing as a school garden.  Trees were provided free from the Woodland Trust

School News

The Skipton Academy Eco-group used funding from YEAF for a recycling project in their school, it is early days and already their work is having an huge impact.   "I put the general waste bins out for collection earlier this morning and only 2 of them were full. There are usually at least 3 or sometimes 4 of them full. I would estimate that we have recycled 1000 litres more than we previously have"
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