Greener Growth has been involving and inspiring children and teachers to get planting at George White Junior School, Norwich. The school is sited in a Victorian building within a highly urban environment, surrounded by roads and residential areas. Together we’re transforming a barren schoolyard covered in asphalt into tyre islands of vegetable crops.
George White Junior School caters to a deprived community; a high proportion of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds, half of the students rely on free school meals and many new arrivals do not speak English. Greener Growth’s work with the school could make a positive impact on pupils’ wellbeing.
One of Greener Growth’s leading principles is biodiversity and that was severely lacking in this school environment. During a science lesson, a class of pupils were taken outside to do a ‘bug hunt’ and identify insects. Due to the lack of natural resources on site, sadly they could only find ants!
No other insects were to be found – the wonderful creepy crawlies so many of us took for granted as an inherent part of our growing up. The woeful absence of birds, bees and butterflies further deprives pupils, for whom any wildlife is a rarity at school and in the built-up surroundings.
Greener Growth has mapped the site, using permaculture principles to turn problems into solutions and we have put together a comprehensive plan. Using live willow structures, recycled tire islands, creating vertical gardens with trellis work and custom made planters, the school will grow into a green oasis of food production. A small orchard will also be planted so children will begin to grow food that will contribute to their school meals and play-time snacks.
Funding from Healthy Norwich helped kick-start this deserving project – thank you!
More funding was donated by Healthy Norwich for Phase Two, in which we planted a mini-orchard at the school and helped the children be stimulated by growing their own food. We also put in over 40 metres of live willow “Fedge” along the front fences of the school to improve privacy & security, whilst enhancing biodiversity & green architecture at the school. The children love the way the green willow fencing immediately attracts wildlife.
During Phase Three at George White, we concentrated our focus on the tarmac play area at the side of the school. This was previously known as The Special Needs Playground, which we renamed The Nurture Garden. We helped these children to transform the recesses bordering the garden, full of dead leaves & rubbish (the latter we removed!), into wildlife havens full of herbs, wildflowers and sunflowers! A hedgehog was found snuffling along these beds in the Summer – the children were ecstatic. It proved what we said – build your garden, make it wildlife friendly and they will come.
We also placed some tyre islands & raised beds to increase planting options, in which we planted currant bushes, green beans, courgette plants & herbs. There was a damp shady area that looked uninteresting, so we placed a log pile in this corner to create a damp wildlife haven. Within three weeks the children found a frog here, which caused much excitement as many had never seen one before!
See how you can help this and our other projects here.