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The British School in The Netherlands

The Senior School Environmental Committee

The BSN Senior School Environmental Committee was established in 2009 and has since seen a huge number of students getting involved in making the school more environmentally friendly.

These students recognise the importance of the environmental challenges that we face worldwide and were the driving force behind the BSN's adoption of the ECO Seek approach - we are the first school on the planet to integrate this platform into our school culture.

Read about Eco Seek here

Today, the Committee is made up of about 45 students from Years 8 to 13 under the supervision of two Year 13 Student Leaders and with the support of members of staff from across the school. 

In 2015 the School achieved the Eco-Schools’ Green Flag, the highest award of this international organisation which numbers some 40,000 schools in 53 countries. In 2017 the Committee will be reassessed to see if they have made sufficient progress to retain that award. 

To achieve this important award, students and staff undertook a number of key projects:

  • planning, preparation and establishment of the SSV Eco-Garden.
  • reducing waste by eliminating paper cups and introducing water bottles for all students.
  • producing energy for the National Grid with the introduction of new solar panels.
  • keeping an ongoing wildlife catalogue of the sightings of flora and fauna in the Eco-Garden.
  • the organisation of Green Days to raise environmental awareness.
  • starting an allotment to grow our own fruit and vegetables.
  • getting involved with Eco-Seek. 

The Environmental Committee is divided into five sub-groups, each with a specific focus - these are Biodiversity, Waste, Energy, Allotment and Global Citizenship. Read more about what each group does below:

Biodiversity Group: Eco Garden

In June 2013, after much planning and with the support of Saudi Aramco, the Senior School Eco-Garden was opened as part of the school’s aim to become increasingly conscious of its impact on the environment. 

What had been an empty expanse of grass has become an area of life and variety with shrubs and bushes, indigenous flowers - many self-seeded, a number of young trees, and a stretch of reed-fringed water. With the addition of a bird-table and nesting boxes, a beehive and an insect hotel - a precious eco-system has been quickly established and students and staff enjoy regular sightings of important flora and fauna.

To date, there have already been sightings of over 30 species of birds and about 120 different butterflies and moths, as well as various mammals and amphibians. With the support of a number of experts - particularly the BSN's own Archivist and Naturalist, Mike Weston - the Eco Team have catalogued the variety of sightings in the garden.

Waste Group

The Waste Group have been instrumental in bringing awareness of recycling and waste management into the school. This group initiated the removal of single-use paper cups and replaced them with re-usable water bottles for all students.

The group has worked to educate students throughout the school to ensure that waste is appropriately recycled into the correct bins for collection, they have also raised awareness of the importance of recycling, re-use and the best practices to follow.

This initiative will be developed over the coming year as new bins for further separation of waste will be introduced throughout the school, with clear signage, to further reduce waste generated by the school community.

Energy Group

The Energy Group have been trying to raise awareness of how the Senior School consumes energy. This is important because the burning of gas, and most electricity generation, consumes finite energy resources and exacerbates climate change.

The Senior School uses energy for lighting; computing services such as charging devices, running PCs, servers and monitors; cooking and preparing food and drink; refrigeration; heating the buildings in winter; and cooling and ventilation. The group tries to encourage members of the school community to take responsibility for what they themselves use, since smart metering is not available to give an overview of actual usage. An idea for the future is to invest in an energy management system such as NEST which automatically minimises energy consumption.

It is the Energy Group's mission to ensure that any new BSN building projects are designed to the highest energy standards, and also do not produce large sterile areas devoid of living things, for example by incorporating wall plants and turf or sedum roofs.

Allotment Group

The school grounds have been developing since 2015 with the introduction of a school allotment. The Allotment Group is comprised of a team of students who have learned how to grow and look after a range of fruit and vegetables.

The project has been such a success, that the allotment has been doubled in size and a greenhouse has also been added to grow more produce.

The group, this coming growing season, are working towards making the allotment more of a community garden for all of our schools. They are planning on growing seedlings for the junior schools, and there will also be a competition to design a vegetable plot. The winner will see their design put into place. 

Global Citizens Group

In a constantly changing world and a very diverse international school, The Global Citizens Group have been working hard to learn more about how environmental changes affect the world around us on a global scale.

The Global Citizens group works to ensure that the student body understands the environmental impacts of the decisions they make on a daily basis by talking with them about food miles, transport to school and sharing tips on social media about reducing energy consumption.

In order to raise awareness of these issues, the group organises a school-wide Green Day. This initiative gives them the platform to engage with their fellow students and show them how important their consumption habits are and how they effect the rest of the world.