We’re proud to announce Greenbelt has taken part in the ‘Green Plan-It’ challenge, part of the Campaign for School Gardening, led by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
The annual campaign challenges teams of school pupils aged 11-19 to research and design an exciting, innovative garden for their school or local community over the course of ten weeks – including producing and presenting a 3D model to a panel of judges from the horticulture industry.
Luckily, students have access to a horticultural mentor who can guide them through this process.
The most recent campaign saw two Greenbelt staff – Nick Upton and Adam Ralph – kindly volunteer as mentors under the scheme.
Even better, each of their student groups won the ‘Most Innovative Garden’ award in their respective regional brackets!
The campaign began in September 2018, at a launch event packed full of hands-on, nature-focussed games and activities designed to break the ice and get teammates comfortable with working together – as well as introducing key horticultural topics.
Over the following ten weeks, pupils were then challenged to work together in groups to design a garden which complements their local area, or provides something the community is missing.
In this way, the campaign offers more than just horticultural education – encouraging students to consider community needs and social aspects, as well as exploring the role of nature and key environmental issues in our lives, communities and local infrastructure.
For example, in 2016, a team of pupils from Whitechapel, London, won the overall award for designing a compact, innovative green veranda as an alternative garden for those living in prominent local tower blocks, without access to conventional ground-level green spaces.
“This year’s challenge started with the launch event at Leeds University, where I met two groups of students from Bingley Grammar School, in West Yorkshire,” said Adam Ralph, Greenbelt’s Regional Development Manager.
“These 12 students, aged 12-13, were specially selected by the school to take part in the challenge after entering a garden design competition.
“After the launch, I visited the school frequently to help the students design a community garden, produce a management plan and build a 3D model to illustrate their vision.
“The students decided to utilise a space in the school grounds that had been previously used by the science department.
“They designed and developed a food-producing biodiversity garden to attract pollinators and educate other pupils about the benefits of gardening, biodiversity and simple, healthy crops.
“In December, all of the schools taking part in the challenge attended a ‘celebration day’, where they got the change to present their ideas and gardens to a judging panel of horticultural experts.
“Bingley Grammar came away with two awards, the Students’ Choice Award and Most Innovative Garden!
“The school is now able to apply for up to £2,000 in funding from the Royal Horticultural Society, and plans to carry out further fundraising to make the pupils’ designs a reality.”
This article is about Adam’s team of students from Bingley Grammar School in West Yorkshire.
To read about Nick’s team of students from Loughborough Grammar School in Leicester, click here.
If you’re interested in taking part in the next Campaign for School Gardening, you can apply as a participating school or horticultural mentor here.