Varndean College and the Environment

 

Since 2006, Varndean College has been working hard to improve its ecological footprint, through the work of students and staff.

Green Team was established in 2006 as an enrichment activity, which attracted students to address some of the environmental issues in Varndean College. As Green Team developed, it also sought to allow students to discuss increasingly important themes such as climate change, peak oil and economic meltdown, in addition to exploring responses to these challenges.

Within a year, the college was recycling paper, plastic bottles and cans, as well as establishing a compost bin and a herb garden. The Team set up visits from a diverse range of speakers including Mike Grenville (Transition Forest Row), Magpie Recycling, and local Greenpeace. A range of thought-provoking films have been screened including the End of Suburbia and The Power of Community. Projects have included measuring carbon footprints, Car-Free Days, and CLAG (the College Litter Action Group).

Our College Biodiversity Reserve was opened in July 2010 by Dr Caroline Lucas MP. This is a three-quarter of an acre site which has involved students and staff in tree-planting and hedging, as well as providing an excellent on-site teaching and learning resource for subjects such as Geography, Biology, and Archaeology.

We now have in place a College Environmental Committee (CEC) which meets every half term to oversee the implementation of Varndean College’s Environmental Policy (drafted with major input from two Green Team students in 2010). The CEC is also working with Eco-Schools England to achieve the sought-after Green Flag eco-award.

The Green Flag Eco-Award requires the college to meet a number of criteria, including completing an Environmental Review, producing an Action Plan, allowing students to take significant responsibility in running the CEC, adopting and agreeing an Eco Code, and completing in depth work on three projects. Our Project themes are: biodiversity; transport; and energy.

In addition, the CEC requires a parent and/or College Governor representative.
If you would like to be a representative on the CEC, please contact Steve Last by email: sjl@varndean.ac.uk