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Eco-garden fosters love of the great outdoors for school students

Eco-garden fosters love of the great outdoors for school students
June 15, 2023 Dave Gooderham

A new eco-garden aimed at inspiring a future generation of gardeners has been opened at a Colchester secondary school.

The outdoor learning environment, which has been two years in the making, has come to fruition at St Helena School with the aim of providing opportunities for staff and students to connect with nature and value the wildlife on their doorstep.

The eco-garden will act as an outdoor classroom as well as a peaceful area to promote mental wellbeing for staff and students and the home of the school’s new gardening club.

It was officially opened by Sir Bob Russell, the former Mayor of Colchester, member of parliament for Colchester for over 18 years and a previous governor at the school.

Charlie McCarthy, head of school, said: “We were delighted to welcome back Sir Bob who, along with his wife and children, are all St Helena alumni.

“This was incredibly inspiring as we want our students to aspire, believe and achieve and Sir Bob is great example of how far in life you can go with this ethos in mind.”

The garden was initially supported by fundraising events organised by school students which raised £1,200 before local companies – including Just Bee, Wickes, Perrywood Garden Centre and Stanway Garden Centre – also lent their support.

Geography teacher Jessica Girling, who has helped oversee the project, added: “We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the opening of the eco-garden including staff and students who have given up their time to help with digging, planting and painting to get the garden up and running.”

As part of the official opening, each student was given a pack of seeds to plant in the wild garden for future generations of St Helena students to enjoy.