Eco Club 2022Article Written:
Our Eco Club sessions have been a huge success over 2022 and will be continuing into the new year for bigger and better sessions. If you would like to see what we have been up to this year the report below gives a brief glimpse into this amazing project. If you would like to join us for 2023, come along as a family to learn about all things eco and take part in craft, outings, experiments and more.
Throughout the year there have been several bespoke sessions looking at specific topics. These often focused on national or global days.
For World Turtle Day, Eco Club made paper weaving turtles.
For the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, everyone took turns using binoculars and making seed picture bird feeders.
Other topics included litter, sorting recycling, and the environmental impacts of different food choices.
Back Yard Tidy Up
Over several weeks, the attendees designed and implemented some ideas to improve the back yard at the Newcastle Street Hub.
There were old wooden planters which Eco Club emptied, cleaned, and painted. These were then lined to protect them and refilled with compost. After conversations around what to plant, the children decided they would like to grow native wildflowers as these would be good to support pollinators and the natural ecosystem. Sustainably harvested seeds were sourced, and Eco Club planted them. Once they started to grow, Eco Club identified them by looking at leaf shapes.
Secret Garden Refresh
The Secret Garden is an art and planting installation on the side of an old factory by the canal. This year it was rebuilt, repainted, and thoroughly refreshed. As part of that, Eco Club came up with ideas for making it more environmentally friendly, such as adding more homes for wildlife and planting flowers for pollinators. Herbs, spring bulbs and a bat box have all been added thanks to their ideas.
Eco Club also noticed that the area was looking run down, which they helped to resolve by litter picking, sweeping, and scrubbing the railings of the nearby canal bridge.
Great Big Green Week
Middleport Matters ran several activities and sessions through the week. Eco Club put together an Eco Festival, showcasing their work. They created displays of things they had made and photographs of them getting involved. They added comments and quotes on what they loved about Eco Club. The children contributed to a short film in which they talked about their favourite animals and what they do to care for the planet.
The families drew pictures for invitations and invited friends, relatives, and teachers to the event. They talked about the displays and led some environmental-themed games with their guests. Around 30 people attended and had a lovely time.
Through November and December, we focused on oceans. Each week we looked at a different ocean-related topic.
Week 1 – We discussed things that live in the ocean and challenges they face due to human action, including fishing, litter, and climate change. We talked about how microplastics are created and the damage they can do, then did an experiment trying to separate tiny pieces of paper and plastic.
Week 2 – We looked at melting ice. There were tubs set up with plastic figures on rocks and ice that melted to show how melting ice can raise sea levels. Everyone made sad polar bear faces with messages about caring for their habitat.
Week 3 – We made oceans in jars using a variety of materials. The jars were saved from people’s kitchens, and we added strips of green fabric from old clothes to look like seaweed. Tissue paper and colours card were used to decorate the jars and we added a few wooden ornaments.
Week 4 – The families were interested in learning more about coral bleaching, which is a particular kind of damage done to coral which causes it to go white. We watched a short film about it, and we tested the pH of several water samples to find the right one for coral. We also saw the damage vinegar does to eggshells, which is like the damage the acidic sea does to shellfish.
Week 5 – We looked at oil spills and the damage that crude oil can do to the ocean environment. We did an experiment with the children where oil was added to water and they had to figure out which material worked best to remove it – this was to show how it is impossible to remove oil from water once it is spilt. We also looked at feathers covered in oil under the microscope to see why sea birds struggle.
Week 6 – To finish the year we spent this session making Christmas cards out of old cards, we also awarded the children with their certificates for the term that they had earned from gaining eco stamps – the children really enjoyed this session.