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Eco-Ranger News – May 2016

Spring is now in full swing, and it’s a great time to be an Eco-Ranger!

Mother Nature has well and truly burst into life, and whilst resources are plentiful and the weather mild; the frantic cycles of reproduction, multiplication and growth have begun in earnest.

With the help of a generous layer of compost (did you know that CTJS has recycled 338kgs of food waste, and ­­30.7kgs of paper/cardboard into compost so far this year?! – check out the table below), and numerous seedlings raised in the greenhouse – our school garden has burst into life too!

 In fact, we now have so many different types of plants growing in our garden that we have decided to label them; enabling visitors to learn their names and what they look like. We are looking forward to harvests of tomato’s, runner beans, sweetcorn, spinach, kale, rhubarb, strawberries, peppers, courgettes, squash, peas and carrots to name but a few!

As well as gardening, the Eco-Rangers have been thoroughly enjoying another activity this half term: pond- dipping. We have been truly amazed by the volume of weird and wonderful creatures living in our little pond! We are rapidly becoming experts at identifying creatures like Water Scorpions, Great Diving Beetles and Rat-tailed Maggots! We’ve been studying/researching our finds - even the microscopic pond life like water flea’s and springtails – using microscopes and magnifying glasses.

Some of you may remember that we planted a Willow structure (shaped like a whale) at the beginning of the year with the help of pupils from Kennel Lane School. Well, that has burst into life too! Green shoots everywhere – it won’t be long before it becomes a great den to play in, or a lovely space for small group activities.

Following on from our successful recycling assembly in February (the Eco-Rangers put on a great little play for the rest of the school, introducing the schools new recycling initiatives), we have created a ‘Recycling Wall of Fame’ in the school hall. The lower school children have especially loved taking our recycling mascot “Blue” home for a night, then bringing back photos of them doing some sort of recycling together!

Below is a chart showing a detailed break-down of our recycling efforts this year:

In the cold winter months (when not much was happening in the garden), year 4 Eco-Rangers completed a term of cooking. Everyone got a chance to bake flapjacks, which all the Eco-Rangers thoroughly enjoyed with a cup of herbal tea at the end of our afternoon sessions. It made a nice link between growing healthy nutritious food, to preparing healthy nutritious food. It’s an activity the Eco-Rangers will definitely be doing more of in the colder months.

Our after school club continues to be a popular choice for many pupils – I think the appeal is predominately about being able to relax and hang out in the woods, explore, hunt for bugs and plants, build dens, socialise, and appreciate being out in nature.

Finally, I would like to make an appeal for help with watering our garden over the summer holidays. If you would be prepared to pop into school once, or a few times over the holiday period, then please get in touch with the school office and I will add you to the rota. It would take a maximum of an hour, and whatever vegetables are ready to harvest are yours to take home and enjoy!