What an EARTH is this?
Kingsley School, Devon is breaking new ground launching a global first in response to the climate change crisis, by creating an Earth Centre in the school grounds.
Kingsley plans include turning their rugby pitch into a garden, growing vegetables and storing carbon by using no-dig techniques based on the latest ecological understanding of soil biology – capable of soaking 8 tons of carbon dioxide out of the air and into the soil – every year.
Studying at the centre focuses on practical work, experience in the field, investigative science and ‘learning by doing’ across all subjects. The centre will include a commercial horticulture farm, called the Ecology Zone which will grow vegetables and store carbon.
Pete Last, Kingsley Headmaster, commented, “Bideford is within the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere, and many of our students have a strong rural and agricultural connection. The Earth Centre recognises and speaks to our role in the community and the environmental values that we have chosen to foster. The Earth Centre is simply the right thing to do”.
It will also house modern laboratory and workshop, dedicated teaching areas, facilities for the growing of vegetable seedlings, and equipment for the harvesting and packing of produce. Not only will the school be supplied with its own vegetables, but students will hone their business skills in providing the local community with fresh food.
Enhancing biodiversity is also part of the Earth Centre’s ethos. A range of fast-growing indigenous trees will be planted with the school grounds, improving the local native tree population while also providing nutritious biomass for vegetable growing.
Christopher Upton, Chairman of Greene’s Education, Oxford said, “The Earth Centre at Bideford is possibly the most innovative, imaginative and exciting further education project that Greene’s has been involved in. I’m particularly pleased to see school children of all ages gain a deep understanding of how to grow and understand healthy food and fix carbon at the same time.
“I’m also convinced that the unique combination of academic study and practical experience will provide the students at Kingsley with the skills and qualifications they need for success in their lives.”
KSI Schools Managing Director, Daniel Wellings, commented, “KSI Education is committed to providing an education that equips our students with the skills required for their future careers. Nothing could be more relevant than the Earth Centre.
“We are delighted to be developing this project with so many passionate people both at the school and in our local community, making Kingsley a truly unique place for our students to study, become engaged and inspired”.
Sir Tim Smit, Founder of The Eden Project said: “As we head into uncertain times, here at Kingsley you are on the verge of making environmental studies rock n’ roll. Let the magic build here in the South West. Working with the grains of nature and understanding natural cycles should be the start of everything.”