TWO years of hard work by Hermitage Academy’s Eco Schools pupils were rewarded this month when the group won the ‘Youth Environment’ prize at the Argyll and Bute Youth Awards.

The accolade was a fitting reward for the group, which first met on February 7, 2018 and so is now officially two years old.

We’ve featured the group’s work in the kitchen garden at the new-look Hermitage Park several times in the Advertiser since then, but that is far from the end of the story as far as Eco Schools at the Academy is concerned.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's young people among the winners at Argyll and Bute Youth Awards

It also boasts a Green Gardening Group – The 3Gs, for short – which is working towards creating a garden that supports biodiversity while growing fruit and vegetables for the school’s own use.

There are regular meetings on waste minimisation, in which pupils work on creating ‘ecobricks’ – unrecyclable plastic bottles which are themselves stuffed with other unrecyclable materials, and then used as building blocks – and on campaigns to encourage their fellow pupils, and staff, to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics.

Then there’s ‘biodiversity’ – the umbrella under which Academy pupil Isabelle Gibrat created a competition-winning ‘pocket garden’, which was displayed at last year’s Gardening Scotland show at Ingliston.

READ MORE: Academy's pupils sow the seeds of success in Hermitage Park garden

And in Hermitage Park, the group’s efforts don’t begin and end in the kitchen garden – they’ve also helped with general planting, hedge trimming and repairing damage caused by vandals, as well as helping groups from Hermitage Primary (top picture) on the younger pupils’ visits to the park.

Teacher Fiona McLeod, who leads the group, told the Advertiser: “The pupils who have been involved in the various Eco Schools projects have all been very keen and have worked hard to spread the Eco message and to start to make the changes that our society needs.

“None of this would have been possible, of course, without the support and hard work of the various members of staff who have also volunteered their time and efforts to the cause and I would like to thank them all.

“We all look forward to continuing this work in the future!"

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