Thursday 1st February 2018
It’s been a busy few weeks for Teach on the Beach and our project is gathering momentum quickly!
Since my last blog I have been in touch with our local outdoor learning manager to ask her advice on helping put together an outdoor learning kit for our sessions. My intention for this project all along has been to get the children outdoors as much as possible – and in all weathers. However a fortnight ago we got stuck in a particularly heavy hail shower and some of my little ones were not amused to say the least! Since then, one of our local councillors, Paul Steele, has very generously contributed to the purchase of our first bothy bag. Much to the delight of the children who will now be able to huddle under and keep dry until the shower passes!
Last week’s session (Thursday 1st February) was definitely a lesson in perseverance and resilience!! I had been keeping an eye on the forecast throughout the week and knew it wasn’t going to be nice … part of me thought about just calling Teach on the Beach off but then I felt that if I started doing that every time it’s windy or a bit wet it’s not worth carrying on … so we went out. Don’t get me wrong there was a little bit of grumbling from some initially as we battled our way across the machair against the wind but once we were on the beach it was forgotten (mostly!!).
We had only just stepped on to the beach when we came across three plastic bottles and an empty can of juice. We spent almost ten minutes looking at and collecting the litter that lay right about the little track down to the beach and in amongst the grass nearby.
The last few times we’ve been down on Traigh Eais the tide has been in but this time we were able to head up to the right and reach the furthest point of the beach to see what litter we could find. A special mention must go to Ethan who during this session was an absolute star … so enthusiastic, full of energy and not bothered in the least about the horrible weather!
Before heading home we got cosy back at school with warm juice and a biscuit … I think this went a little way to making up for being out in the cold all afternoon!
When we came back to school the children and I spent time discussing ways we can measure the amount of litter we are collecting. In future we plan on creating a tally chart to record the different types of waste we have found. It is clear however that plastic, particularly plastic bottles are a huge problem on our shores.
The next day we watched a short clip from one of our favourite people, David Attenborough, about the impact plastic is having on the environment. I have included this below for those of you who may wish to have a little look.
We then got in a bit of writing for a real, motivating purpose … we wrote letters to both David Attenborough and Prince Charles, two high profile environmental campaigners, to share with them the work we are doing to help keep our shorelines clean. We will keep you posted on any responses we receive!
Annually on Barra, Beairteas Bharraigh (The Wealth of Barra), organise an island clean up. I have been in touch with their development manager and have a meeting scheduled in a fortnight’s time to look at ways for the Teach on the Beach children to take a more active role in this.
Seeing the amount of plastic on our beaches has also made me think more about my own actions and ways in which I can be more responsible at home. A kind neighbour recently gave me a bungee cord for securing my plastic recycling bin … this way when there’s a gale I know that my plastic rubbish isn’t blowing all over the place. I have also stopped buying plastic water bottles altogether and instead have one that I just refill. When I am out walking I am now making a point of collecting at least three pieces of litter before coming home. All these little things don’t take much time or effort but they have such a positive impact on environment.