Schools art project goes to Level 20!

COLERAINE Borough Council has developed a new initiative to raise awareness of the local environment.

The LEVEL 20 project, led by Environment Officer Jim Allen, aims to take environmental awareness to a new level. The project targets Key Stage 2-3, as a merited step by step programme which includes a combination of classroom and field visits with a strong emphasis on art.

The mayor of Coleraine, Councillor Sam Cole presented a number of students from Sandleford School with their LEVEL 20 certificates last Wednesday for their achievements. The ceremony was hosted in Council’s civic headquarters.

Jim Allen said: “The programme aims to reach pupils and raise their awareness on some of the environmental issues we all continue to face.

“Whilst working with pupils from Sandelford School on a recent series of autumn-themed education visits the project came to fruition. The students responded well to the idea that they were gradually working towards, what I described as the highest level of local environmental awareness, LEVEL 20.

“It acted as an ongoing incentive to partake and complete each set of task-led visits which took us from woodland habitats to the coast. Pupils foraged for natural materials from both habitats and when they returned to school, they then had to create various artworks as part of the project.

“This helped illustrate a number of environmental qualities including, beauty and vulnerability, which led to an understanding of the need to conserve and keep free from pollution, including the menace of litter.

“I am indebted to the staff and students of this very special school at Sandelford not only for allowing me to road test this new approach to understand the environment, but more so for showing me their passion, enthusiasm and creativity on this important subject.

“It is always a privilege and a delight to work with these young people and to be allowed to contribute to their education. I’m usually the one who ends up being the student!”.

Speaking on behalf of the students, senior tutor Alison Hasson said: “Pupils were encouraged through the project to learn and build a sense of respect towards their environment.

They were encouraged to see the natural beauty offered by their local surroundings. Students were given the opportunity to explore areas of woodland and beach and collect items which they used to create craft and artwork.

“The staff and pupils want to thank Jim Allen for passing on his support and encouraging the students to look at their local environment in a very positive and responsible way.”