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Hillhead High School pupils tackle litter and waste in Kelvingrove Park

Last week saw the final session of working with pupils from Hillhead High School in Glasgow to raise awareness about environment quality in Kelvingrove Park.

Over the course of 10 sessions, 47 pupils from S1 took part in a range of citizen science activities led by staff from our Education and Learning Team to learn more about littering behaviour and biodiversity in their local greenspace.

The sessions have supported the pupils in achieving their John Muir Discovery Award, in which they must “Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share a wild place”. The first session involved completing an Upstream Battle Litter Survey, where the pupils counted and collected litter items along a path next to the River Kelvin and observed the amount of litter in the water.

They then discussed how this litter would make its way into the River Clyde and eventually enter the sea. More than six bags of litter were collected, with confectionary wrappers and drinks cans being the most common items found.

Friends of the River Kelvin, one of our Upstream Battle Anchor Groups, also led a litter pick, specifically focussing on items which will be eligible for the Deposit Return Scheme when it is introduced later this year. Pupils particularly enjoyed adding up the value of their litter pick as they went. Our thanks to Sally, from FORK for leading this session.

“I enjoyed picking up litter because I was helping the community. I learned a lot but one thing that stood out was how many bits of litter were on the ground around the bins.” – Finlay and Lewis, Hillhead pupils.

In the second session, pupils carried out a pedestrian questionnaire to gather perceptions and attitudes on the environmental quality of the park from members of the public, specifically on littering and dog fouling. Working in groups, pupils spoke to more than 40 individuals in the one hour session and gained valuable insight from students, tourists and locals about littering behaviour.

“We loved the interviewing task where we had to interview pedestrians in the park, I enjoyed hearing their opinions and discussing the conditions of the park. Lots [of individuals] said litter was a problem and they want it to improve.” – Munro, Hillhead pupil.

Other sessions encouraged pupils to build an awareness and connection to nature in the park, they used OPAL survey to gather information about the condition of the trees and identify native and introduced species and how this might influence biodiversity.

“We enjoyed measuring trees and finding leaves. Even though they were brown and wet you could still see details that made them different. I never really looked closely before.” – Amelie, Misty and Sarah, Hillhead pupils.

Alice Williams, drama teacher at Hillhead who requested KSB support the visits following an Eco-Careers Fair in September, said: “It's been wonderful having the expertise from Keep Scotland Beautiful to inspire pupils to take care of the outdoor spaces on our doorstep.

"The pupils' feedback has been really positive, and they clearly appreciate the opportunity KSB has provided for learning outside of the classroom. A huge thank you for engaging so professionally with our young people and staff.”

Joe, our Upstream Battle Education and Learning Officer who coordinated the visits, said: “The John Muir Award is a great way for young people to connect with the environment, and I was especially pleased to be able to align it with our Climate Action Schools work, and the Upstream Battle education programme, to support pupils to participate in citizen science activities and raise awareness of source to sea litter.

“The pupils worked hard to gather information on a range of topics relating to litter and waste and biodiversity in their local area. It’s great to hear how much more aware they are now of the natural environment and will do all they can to conserve it.”

Pupils will be sharing their experience in school and the local community, showcasing their hard work to conserve their local greenspace and raising awareness of climate action in Kelvingrove Park.

Climate Action Schools is our framework of education initiatives to support Scotland’s educators, young people and children to progress Learning for Sustainability and climate change education. Climate Action Schools focuses on five main outcomes: Learning for Sustainability; Climate Emergency; Biodiversity; Litter and Pollution; and amplifying Pupil Voice.

15 February 2023

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