Kirkland pupils hailed as ‘eco champions’

Morgan Graham, Aaron Dixon, William Thomson, Paige Brogan, Calum Roper
Morgan Graham, Aaron Dixon, William Thomson, Paige Brogan, Calum Roper

Students at Kirkland High School have been recognised as ‘Eco Champions’ for their ideas to improve the local environment.

Pupils from S3 took part in Scotland’s Environment Web Youth Discussion competition and were recently announced as Group Winners in the 11-14 years category by a panel of judges drawn from youth groups across Scotland.

The event, held at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, welcomed pupils from across the country, and 18 awards in total were presented to groups and individuals in recognition of their outstanding entries.

The awards, including the announcement of the two top prizes – £1000 to the Best Group entry and £100 to the Best Individual entry – were presented by Paul Wheelhouse, minister for environment and climate change.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “It is exciting to see young people from Portree to Pitlochry united in their passion and commitment to Scotland’s environment. The competition has shown a range of causes close to the hearts of our young people as well as a wealth of artistic talent.

“It is good to know that the entrants have recognised that we all have a responsibility to communicate why looking after Scotland’s environment is to the benefit of the health and wellbeing of all.”

Prior to the prize giving, youngsters took part in lively, ‘green’ themed workshops including hip-hop, graffiti and fruit juicing.

The youngsters also had the chance to take part in a question and answer panel discussion involving Mr. Wheelhouse, representatives from SEPA, Young Scot, and members of the judging panel.

Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group played an active role by asking their members to sponsor prizes for the competition and a selection of fun days out, work shadowing and other opportunities were offered.

James Curran, chief executive of SEPA, said: “By challenging our younger generations to think about the environment and what matters to them, the competition has brought about some truly inspiring and creative entries which highlight key environmental issues for the future.”

Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, added: “It is fantastic to see all the school finalists are registered with Eco-Schools Scotland and the quality of entry reflects that 75 per cent have our prestigious Green flag accreditation.”

Robyn Haggis, programme manager for the 2050 Climate Group, was part of the judging panel and said he was “thrilled to have been a part of the competition”.

He added: “I feel privileged to have seen all of the fantastic entries and inspired to see just how outstanding young people are in Scotland and the passion they have for the environment.”

The Youth Discussion initiative was launched in September 2013 by Scotland’s Environment Web with the aim of stimulating interest amongst young people in all aspects of Scotland’s environment.

The competition specifically challenged young people between the ages of five and 18 to submit original and creative ideas to the question: “What needs to change in your local community that will make a difference to your environment and what role can you play in making it happen?” In response, a huge variety of videos, blogs, photographs, articles and pieces of art work were received.