The Royal Horticultural Society is urging schools to get gardening this autumn to help protect the environment for the future.
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which involves nearly 40,000 schools and groups across the UK in growing and gardening, is aiming to teach children about sustainability, environmental issues, healthy fruit and vegetables and wildlife as well as life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation.
Schools and youth groups can sign up online to receive free RHS resources, information, lesson plans and advice on creating and maintaining gardens, even with limited space.
The campaign also gave five tips to help children make a difference:
- Grow your own food – a collection of containers can be enough to grow a whole harvest of fresh produce, anything from tomatoes to salad crops and potatoes, while also helping to cut back on food miles, plastic waste and trips to the supermarket.
- Reuse waste materials – schools are a treasure trove of items than can be reused in the garden to avoid more going into landfill. Use old trays for seed sowing or old plastic bottles, tyres or pallets as eco-friendly containers.
- Sow a mini wildflower meadow –scatter a wildflower mix onto a patch of soil to help bees and other under-threat pollinators, or let grass verges go wild to save costs on mowing.
- Be wise about water use – install a water butt to collect water from the school roof for irrigation on drier days and challenge children to reduce how much water they use in their daily lives.
- Plant a tree or a hedge – both can help purify the air by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and capturing particulate matter, prevent flooding and support wildlife. If space is limited, opt for small varieties such as dwarf fruit trees that will grow in containers, or consider whether there is a local community space that could be used.
Alana Cama, RHS schools and groups programme manager, said, ‘Young people are increasingly thinking about what the future might look like and rightly concerned about news of forest fires and plastic-filled oceans. Schools can play an important part in empowering young people to make positive changes.
‘By providing a plot, or even just a couple of pots, schools can help sow an appreciation for the environment. If a young person can feel they are making a positive impact it may help them feel a little more in control of our planet’s future.’
- Nurseries can sign up as a ‘group’ rather than a ‘school’ or ‘individual’ at https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Register