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Ms Eco Challenge Encourages Schools To Get Green

Monday, 14 December 2009

Primary and secondary schools across the Scottish Borders are being encouraged to enter eco-projects into this year's Scottish Borders Eco-Schools Challenge sponsored by Marks & Spencer.

This will be the second year of the initiative, which was launched following the opening of M&S' first 'green' Simply Food store in Galashiels in 2007.  The initiative invites local schools to present a project based around an environmental theme such as biodiversity, energy, healthy living, and waste, with the winners receiving cash prizes of up to £300 to spend on equipment for the school.

The funding from M&S has recently enabled SBC to appoint a dedicated Eco-Schools Development Officer. The role supports schools in their work towards achieving their eco-challenge goals within the local competition and also the Eco Schools international award programme.

Katharine Cotter, SBC's newly appointed Eco-Schools Development Officer said: "There is a huge amount of excellent eco work taking place in schools across the Borders so we are encouraging as many schools as possible to enter their work into the competition. We are taking a different approach to judging this year - which means that after an initial shortlisting process we will actually be going out to visit schools to see first-hand the fantastic work that is taking place. This is therefore a great opportunity for schools to showcase their projects."

John Cameron, store manager at M&S in Galashiels said: "M&S in Galashiels was the first purpose built eco-store in the business, so we are delighted to be involved in another Scottish Borders Schools Eco Challenge.

"As part of its five year eco-programme Plan A, M&S has set itself the ambitious target of making its operations carbon neutral by 2012. As a result we are looking forward to combining our efforts with schools in the region to achieve a sustained benefit to the local environment."

Executive Member for Education Councillor Catriona Bhatia presented last term's winners with their cheques at ceremony at Old Gala House in May.  She said: "When I visit schools I am always amazed by the wide range of excellent eco-projects happening across all our schools so this project is the perfect opportunity to put this work forward to be recognised as well as having the chance to win some extra resources for their school. "

The cash prizes up for grabs in both primary and secondary categories are 1st prize - £300, 2nd prize - £200, 3rd prize - £100.

Last term's winners in the primary category were Kirkhope, second was Tweedbank and third was Cockburnspath. The secondary school category was won by Jedburgh Grammar School, second was Peebles High School and third was Hawick High School.


More information on the Eco Schools Challenge is available from www.scotborders.gov.uk/eco-schools



Katharine Cotter, Eco-Schools Development officer (centre), helps Tweedbank pupils plant a rowan tree in their new wildlife garden which is being created with the prize money the school won in last term's eco challenge. The pupils are: (left to right) Amy Gibb, P4, Lewis Bell, P4, Robert Miller, P7, Liam McKechnie, P3, Robyn Flockhart, P7 and Natalie Rutten, P3.


Editor's Notes

  • Eco Schools is an international initiative designed to encourage whole-school action for the environment.
  • There are a total of 65 primary schools and nine secondary schools in the Scottish Borders region. 
  • All schools across the Borders are registered eco-schools - 19 have bronze level awards, 36 have silver and 13 have gained their first green flags (the highest level award).  Three out of these 13 schools have gained their second green flags following re-assessment which schools must apply for every two years. For further information on the Eco Schools programme visit http://www.eco-schools.org.uk/
  • M&S Simply Food Galashiels opened in October 2007 as the first 'eco-store' in the business.