Eco Club achieve their John Muir Award at Woodley Primary School

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There is a buzz in the air at Woodley Primary School as the members of Eco Club can finally enjoy the rewards of all their hard work as they complete their John Muir Discovery Award.

“I’ve loved spending so much time outside with my friends in nature. I’ve got to know people I wouldn’t normally be able to spend time with.” Bethany, aged 9

Earlier this year, on a cold January afternoon, Mrs O’Dowda set up the Eco Club with 12 enthusiastic students aged 8 to 11 years old. They were bursting with ideas on how to create a more sustainable playground and a welcoming environment for their local wildlife. With the help of Swifty, one of our We Are Adventurers Forest School Leaders, the children came up with an impressive plan of action and got to work straight away!

“I loved doing the assembly to share our plan with the school community” Gracie, aged 8

“I enjoyed literally everything. It was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Best Club ever!” Ruby, aged 10

Their first task was to clear away all the overgrown vegetable patches and turn over the soil, ready for new plants and vegetables. After some discussion they decided to grow a variety of nasturtiums, sweet peas and wild flowers to encourage bee and butterfly visits, as well as creating a happy environment for the primary school pupils to enjoy. From seeds, they grew potatoes and green beans that will be ready to harvest before the summer holidays, and so they became gardeners.

“I loved taking part in our planning programme. Seeing them grow from seed to potato and beans has been amazing.” Oliver D, aged 9

“I enjoyed planting flowers and seeing them grow. It has really improved our school environment.” James, aged 11

“My favourite part has been the planting and harvesting” Ellie, aged 8

“I really enjoyed picking the beans and getting to know my fellow eco reps.” Zach, aged 10

Whilst these plants were busy growing, the children created eco-friendly bird feeders, providing important nutrients for the birds during winter months, and a multi-story bug hotel using recycled materials, turning them all into conservationists.

To encourage the rest of their school to take part, these 12 Eco Club representatives organised a school-wide birdbox competition, so many children and grown ups took part, creating over 70 colourful and well-made bird boxes that can be revisited each year by new bird families! They used their design and technology skills to become carpenters.

“I enjoyed making our own bird boxes and choosing where to put them. The school grounds look amazing.” Jessie, aged 8

From gardeners to conservationists, carpenters to Eco ambassadors, the members of Woodley Primary school Eco Club have shown us how a little bit of effort and care for the world around us can create a brighter tomorrow. They made sustainability accessible to Primary school children of all ages, congratulations!

“Mrs O’Dowda and all the children at Eco club have just been amazing and I’ve loved doing our John Muir award. These are the passionate, positive people of our future who will strive to improve our environment. I feel hopeful with them leading the way!” Swifty

Want to find out how your school can participate? Visit

The Trust’s John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It is inclusive, accessible and non-competitive, though should challenge each participant.  The Award encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment through a structured yet adaptable scheme, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration.’

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