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Welcome to Craven DEC's third edition of the 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

Waste - rethinking plastic bottles

An average of 35.8 million plastic bottles are used daily in the UK, and only 19.8 million are recycled. That's means on average 16 million plastic bottles a day don't go into the recycling bin. These may end up in landfill or the world’s oceans. 

Last autumn over 8,000 plastic bottles were collected by the Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach clean-up on one weekend. Plastic may persist in the marine environment for 450 plus years.  Plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals.

It takes 7 litres of water to make one 1 litre water bottle

Take Action: In School
Rethink - refuse and use a reusable water bottle instead
Reduce  - become a water bottle free school (then town)
Re-use -  use plastic bottles to make bird feeders, floating gardens, plastic bottle greenhouses
Recyle -  plastic bottles can be recycled thought the council collection.   Recycled plastic bottles can be made into new bottles, t-shirts, fleeces, furniture, children’s toys and other plastic bottles, including school uniform.  David Luke school uniform makers have saved a total of 8.84 mil 2l plastic bottles from going to landfill since they first started Eco-uniform in 2013

Take Action: Join a  Campaign  
Marine Conversation Plastic Challenge 
Plastic Coalition
Surfers against Sewage Message In A Bottle 

Learn more: Green Futures staff can run a Practical Action Plastic Challenge session as part of Eco club or curriculum enrichment day or as part of science work. 

Photo Credit.  Plastic washed up on a beach in Wales. Paul Quayle.
Interactive Eco-School

Want to know what the perfect Eco-School looks like? Head to Eco-Schools interactive school on their new website to find out!
Growing your Eco- club: ideas to increase membership  
  • Settle Eco-Club have got these fab badges for each Eco-Club member
  • Keep spreading the word about the club. Tell your friends, your class... the whole school! Encourage everyone who is interested to come along and sign up.
  • Let the whole school know what you are doing (or planning to do) in Eco Club sessions. So take photos, blog about your actions, put up posters, keep your an Eco notice board fresh or run regular assemblies.
  • If you want more members to join your club, why not have a club meeting when every member brings one friend? You can play eco-games together or do an activity, like a big litter pick. Hopefully they’ll have so much fun they’ll join the Eco Club too.
  • Make your eco good deeds count by totting up your volunteering hours for the vInspired awards scheme. Get a volunteering CV and impress colleges, universities and potential employers with your achievements
  • Other pupils may have a good idea that will help your Eco-committee achieve its targets. You could include a ‘questions and suggestions’ box in school so people can leave you messages. Or can they contact you another way?

Diary Dates!

Focused activities can be a great way to kick start action relating to a particular area of sustainability. Why not plan a school activity day or week to coincide with a national campaign? Follow the links to find resources for upcoming international and environmental days. 

Litter - Great British Spring Clean promoted by Keep Britain Tidy  will take place from March 3-5, 2017  Why not hold a litter pick in your school grounds or local community? 

Biodiversity 3rd March World Wildlife Day

Global Citizenship -  Fairtrade Fortnight  27 February - 12 March 2017 is less than 8 weeks away and Craven DEC has organised two network meetings for teachers to prepare for it, look at new resources and share ideas. 
24 Jan - 4pm at St Stephens Catholic Primary School, Skipton
26 Jan - 4pm at Glusburn CP School

Whether you're an experienced FT coordinator or just interested in finding out more come along.  On the Fairtrade Foundation website there are resources and you can order a free copy of Fairtrade Fortnight Events Pack . It contains posters, stickers, table-talkers and the Breaks & Ladders game. 

Global/Biodiversity Week starting 10th March The British science week theme is “Change”, encouraging young people to think about and investigate the changes happening in the world all around us. One suggested activity is Penguin Watch -  Climate change is having many negative effects around the world, and one area feeling it more than others is the cold icy region of Antarctica. Many wonderful wildlife species are in decline from changes to their food supply and habitat, and there is a huge gap in our understanding of the Antarctic ecosystem.  Penguin Watch is a citizen science website that is trying to understand the lives of penguins, they need your help to examine hundreds of thousands of images of wildlife in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean that have been taken over the past three years. Get involved and be a part of the conservation effort!

TransportThe Big Pedal: takes place from 20 March 2017 to 31 March 2017 on each day of the challenge schools compete to see who can record the greatest number of pupils, staff and parents cycling to school.

Water 22nd March World Water Day
All 25th March  Earth Hour

Further quizzes or activities for any of these days can be emailed ( on requests.  

Biodiversity -  Counting bugs in hedges! 

Green Futures staff can help with an OPAL Biodiversity Survey in your school grounds. The best time to do this survey is from April to November. You’ll contribute to valuable research and learn more about the importance of hedges.

Hedges support many animals by providing food and shelter. Berries and seeds are food for birds, while holes beneath the hedge are often home to small mammals. You’ll also discover many invertebrates living among the leaves.

And/or conduct Soil Survey (looking at earth worms)  - March to September.

The Northern Powergrid Community Energy Seed Fund is offering grants from £1,000 to £10,000  to support local communities and to helping them deliver affordable and sustainable energy solutions.Schools are eligible, although the project itself must meet the Fund guidelines and aims, so there would need to be an element of community involvement and benefit beyond the school itself.  For example, reducing energy use within the school in itself does not benefit the wider community but a programme of activity which educates schoolchildren, and their families, on efficient energy use would fit; this could include some element of reduced energy use and generation by the school to demonstrate initiatives. The closing date for the fund is 6th February 2017 and decisions will be announced in April 2017. Guidelines
School News

Biodiversity: Building a bug house at Cedar House school (supported by Green Futures staff member Sarah Deane). 

If you have a  photo, project, event  or an idea you'd like to share with other schools please email
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