Create a carbon-neutral outdoor learning space powered by renewable energy to allow students to learn in an exciting new environment.
by Charlotte Butterworth in Camelford, Cornwall, United Kingdom
We want to create a sustainable outdoor classroom which students can enjoy whilst learning about important climate and sustainability topics. It would help students to develop a love of the outdoors, engage pupils in an alternative learning environment, learn skills otherwise not offered in the classroom and promote environmental stewardship.
The space would require an outdoor cover to enable learning to take place in the changeable Cornish weather! Power points would be available and would be driven by renewable energy generated from a solar panel attached to the roofing system and wind turbine on the structure to enable teachers to deliver quality lessons in an engaging outdoor space.
This would provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn about renewable energy and sustainable structures which feature on the national curriculum across a variety of subjects along with KS4 courses. They would be able to actively learn about and see these concepts in action, whist being involved in the process of creating, implementing and maintaining such features, allowing them to gain a variety skills in the process.
The area around the structure would be geared towards increasing biodiversity in the surrounding area. Insect housing, hedgehog houses, bee drinking stations are just some of the features students are excited to create to encourage wildlife into the area around the classroom. This would be an ongoing project students could add too, allowing them to develop their skills in crafts, woodwork and environmental stewardship, which could expose students to the idea of career opportunities in such areas.
We have some fantastic links to local college’s and the university where students can study courses linked to sustainability and environmental management, which can lead to a wide array of career opportunities in and around the environment. We would like to develop these links and the contact our students have with higher education through collaborative pieces, which could potentially be hosted and utilise the outdoor learning space. It would give students a space or product to build on and give our students a chance to work with them, providing a stepping stone to exciting further education and career prospects. The sustainable sector has seen massive growth in Cornwall as well as a calling for specific environmental skills needed in careers within the National Trust, forestry and land-based management in our county.
The space could also offer numerous opportunities to our Primary Schools. The benefits of “Forest Schools” have been widely developed in some areas of the county and the space could potentially provide a fantastic facility in which to offer something similar in our area to benefit our younger learners.
Teamwork - Students of all ages would be able to work collaboratively with a single ethos bringing learning, experiences and skills together that would benefit each of them all from one place.
1 x structure & surrounding fencing – Materials are needed to create a protected space suitable for the Cornish weather (£500-700+)
1 x Solar panel for power outlet (£100-200+)
1 x Mini Wind turbine for power outlet (£100-200+)
The majority of other features such as the wild flower garden or veggie patch would be low cost & the insect housing will be built from materials gathered from beach cleans/litter picks and repurposing scrap materials from the local area.