Environmentalists of the future launch new eco-initiative at pioneering Newton Abbot school

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(Last Updated On: October 23, 2018)

Young scientists from Newton Abbot’s pioneering secondary school, South Devon University Technical College (UTC), are set to make a difference to the environment after launching an eco-ambassador project.

Founded by scientists Fyn Hayes (17) and Luke Dawson (18), the new eco-ambassador group will initiate a range of practical solutions set to improve the college’s environmental footprint. Driven by the determination of students, the group will also explore how to make a positive difference to the local environment.

Funds saved by the self-sufficiency projects driven by the eco-ambassadors group will provide sports equipment for the college, keeping students healthy and active in their free-time.

The eco-ambassador group has already discussed plans to use the college planters to source materials for use in A Level and GCSE Biology classes. Onion skins, algal balls and banana fibres are just some of the resources that will be grown for use in laboratory experiments. The group will be responsible for nurturing and growing these resources in the planters and the ponds found in the college grounds. During the first term, the group also took part in a beach clean in association with the “Beach Care” initiative. Their work to clean the beaches at Dawlish Warren contributed to one of the 1,121 beaches cleaned and 158 tonnes removed from beaches in the South West.

Local experts have been offering advice to the eco-ambassador group, sparking a number of innovative ideas to improve the college’s environmental footprint. After an enlightening insight into the build-up of plastic waste in our coastal waters from Keep Britain Tidy’s Neil Hembrow, the team are planning to analyse the amount of waste the college produces at breaktimes. Currently sourcing practical and affordable alternatives to single-use plastic, banana leaves and bamboo cups may soon replace the polystyrene trays and cups in the college’s kitchens.

James Trout, Laboratory Manager at the Environment Agency, and the Chair of Governors at South Devon UTC has also met with the group to set them a challenge to re-purpose plastic waste found in waters in and around Teign Valley. Their research has led to an eye-opening visit to the Material Reclamation Factory in Exeter. The visit was led by MRF Manager Matt Hullond and enlightened the eco-ambassadors as to the value of waste products, how these are sorted, recycled and repurposed with the benefit of further employment and added income for the local economy.

Principal Claire Plumb commented: “We are delighted to announce the launch of our eco-ambassadors’ group. This is an exciting project for our young scientists and environmentalists to get stuck into and we hope to improve the college’s environmental footprint and that of the surrounding environment. It’s the first step to making our college a greener, more positively sustainable environment.”

Eco-ambassadors – Luke Dawson, Helen Plumb (Science Technician), Fyn Hayes and Katie Schneider (Science Technician).

The pioneering College on Kingsteignton Road, with its state-of-the-art facilities, offers an innovative model of learning for students that provides professional academic and technical education aimed to ‘develop a new generation of engineers, scientists and environmentalists’. Unlike many other colleges, South Devon UTC have a higher proportion of their students studying triple science compared to the national average.

The college has recently celebrated a set of impressive exam results. In summer 2018, 100% of post-16 Applied Science students gained distinction stars in all of their qualifications. Furthermore, 70% of Engineering students achieved at least one distinction star with over half of those achieving either two or three distinction stars, the highest grade in these qualifications.

South Devon UTC is currently recruiting students for the 2019/20 academic year. Young people with a flair for science and engineering due to start Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2019 are invited to the next Open Evening on Tuesday 27th November 2018, 5-7pm. Alternatively, you can contact the college for more information. Call 01626 240201 or visit http://southdevonutc.org/open-evenings/

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