Now that we are in May, we are reflecting on Earth Month, looking at the origins of this important, annual event and shine the spotlight on a school that is walking their sustainable talk.
April is Earth Month and millions of people around the world also mark Earth Day, on April 22, to show their support for the environment. As the climate crisis becomes increasingly more serious, each Earth Day that comes along takes on greater significance.
The first Earth Day was the brainchild of US senator and environmentalist Gaylord Nelson and took place in 1970 to highlight the importance of clean air and water, following a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The event saw an astonishing 20 million people across the US taking to the streets – around 10 per cent of the country’s population at the time.
However, it could be argued that the stage had been set for change almost 10 years earlier, with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller, Silent Spring, in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries as it raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and the inextricable links between pollution and public health.
Earth Day provided a voice to this emerging environmental consciousness and helped to push environmental concerns onto the front page. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, and in 1990 over 200 million people in 141 countries participated, lending their voices to elevate environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 also gave a huge boost to recycling efforts; a legacy that is carried on each year.
With a general air of disappointment around COP26 outcomes, Earth Month has provided an opportunity to once again put pressure on governments to actively address the issues surrounding our climate.
With a 2022 theme of “Invest In Our Planet”, there has been a further call for governments, businesses and individuals to invest in a better future for the sake of the earth. On an individual level this translates into investing your personal time, your political vote, investing in your community, and investing your money towards greener alternatives.
With a keen focus on inspiring, educating and enabling our youth, Wildflower Turf Ltd regularly work with schools and community groups who wish to rewild their local environment.
We recently supplied Perins School in Hampshire with 10m² of Wildflower Turf® Shade Tolerant turf, which was laid earlier this year as part of an environment enrichment programme.
Perins School is an academy, Sports College and secondary school in New Alresford. Founded in 1698, it is one of the oldest schools in the county of Hampshire.
A recent initiative spearheaded by Science Teacher, Dr Julia Eacott, saw a disused and forgotten area of the school grounds transformed into a beautiful well-being garden.
With the benefits associated with green space highlighted for us all as a result of the pandemic, and with the well-being of school-aged children an important priority, Dr Eacott applied for grant funding in order to kickstart the project.
An area behind the school’s Technology building was selected as a suitable site. With a steep slope running between the building itself and the Watercress Railway line, this enclosed space was first levelled off, with multiple areas and different features planned into the garden’s design.
Landscaping commenced in February of this year, with trees at the rear of the garden planted in conjunction with the Queen’s Jubilee Green Canopy Project. Raised beds were established and the school’s Gardening Club got to work in earnest planting seeds. The well-being garden has a dedicated vegetable garden, and seating and picnic benches have been made from reclaimed railway sleepers, a lovely (and sustainable) nod to the nearby Watercress Line.
The wildflower meadow has been installed under the newly planted trees towards the rear of the garden, with the Wildflower Turf® Shade Tolerant turf establishing quickly and already putting on a display.
With the aims of this garden targeted towards, not only students but also members of the school’s teaching faculty, the project has also benefitted the Pre-School adjacent to the Wellbeing Garden, with the very youngest members of the Perin’s community peeking through the fence and admiring the work taking place. The area is open to all members of the Perins community and its benefits will be felt and experienced throughout the changing seasons.
As the impact of Earth Month and Earth Day is felt more keenly as each year unfolds, we hope that initiatives like this will also help to inspire the very youngest generation to protect and preserve our precious planet.