On Tuesday the 2nd and Wednesday the 3rd of July, year 5 students of various schools came to St. Simon Stock for an open day to see what secondary is like; and to get a feel for what our school values as a part of our Catholic and community ethos.
In the art department the students found themselves doing something very close to the heart of the school and something rather culturally important –helping the environment. The activity that the students were partaking in was imprinting leaves and twigs in to clay squares in order to decorate a few of the trees around the school to spread the message of environmental awareness. The leaves and twigs that the students were using were from native trees around the school site and the Oakwood park area. Trees such as Oak and birch. In fact, the very oak leaf that was being passed around is from a sapling grown from a larger Oak tree that used to be on site that was two years away from being classed as ancient.
This activity, the students enjoyed very much; and perhaps what was most surprising was the discussion with the students after Mrs. Tilby gave a fantastic little talk about the importance of keeping our native species of trees safe and to care for the environment as it is all a part of the larger picture of interconnection between plant and animal, such as the Blackbirds that eat berries from many of the bushes around the school, or the 500 animals –bugs, birds and such- that used to live in the near-ancient Oak. The students proudly showed off their knowledge about the different mammals native to the area such as the foxes and rabbits, and even went so-far as discussing about their own school garden projects, or the allotments that their parents use.
At this, I told the students of the new garden project that the school has in place which will allow for the Catholic community ethos to be combined with caring for nature and will help students do so as they help with the garden Not only were the students eager to listen, but many of them seemed genuinely excited at the prospect of being able to help out in a community garden.
What these two examples are able to demonstrate is the keen and optimistic nature of the upcoming generation towards the environment and especially towards the native tree around them. On top of this, it shows St. Simon Stock’s limitless love for the trees native to our local area and our effort raise essential awareness for such a prevalent issue that the world community is facing at the moment.