At Mayfield School, their motto – Actions not Words – could not be more appropriate when it comes to caring for the environment. From Farm Club to Earth Hour, from recycling to the new hive of Buckfast bees, the School encourages a number of important environmental initiatives to ensure the girls are educated about climate change and encouraged to develop and support initiatives to address this important issue.Mayfield’s Sixth Form students were inspired by former Irish President and climate justice campaigner, Mary Robinson. Mayfield School sponsored the prize winner’s lecture, in which Robinson reminded the audience of Ban Ki-moon’s message that there is no plan B because we do not have a planet B, and encouraged everyone to make a positive change to help reverse global warming.
The girls at Mayfield have been working hard to do just that, and MESSy, (Mayfield Environmental and Sustainability Society), is at the heart of the School’s environmental efforts.
Run by the girls, MESSy works hard to educate their peers, staff and parents alike. Their most recent success was raising enough money (with a matched contribution by the School), to buy a bee hive, equipment, and a nucleus of Buckfast bees. The girls learn about the bees’ lifecycle and gain a greater understanding of these amazing insects.
Similarly, at Farm Club, which is run by girls in Years 7 and 8, students learn about sustainable farming methods and how to care for the animals. Over the last three years, Farm Club has reared pigs, turkeys, lambs and chickens, which have been used in the School kitchens.
MESSy also promoted Mayfield Earth Hour around the School, to coincide with the global WWF Earth Hour in March. All non-essential electrical items, including lights, were switched off for an hour to save electricity and demonstrate how it is possible to dramatically cut energy usage. For many years, the School has been using low energy and LED light bulbs.
A team of Mayfield students recently enjoyed success in the final of the Young Enterprise Competition having set up their own company, New Oceans, selling sustainable aluminium water bottles at events in the local area. The girls scooped a number of accolades, encouraging others to be more environmentally aware and in the process learnt a great deal about how to succeed in business, seeing off stiff competition to make it to the final round.
Promoting recycling is at the heart of MESSy’s activities and the School has worked hard to reduce waste and recycle where possible. Water fountains have been installed around the School to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles and cups; the Food and Nutrition Department donates all waste products from their lessons to Farm Club, who compost it for growing vegetables; the School’s general waste is separated out into food waste, which is collected in compostable bags, recyclable and non-recyclable waste; and the groundsmen grow herbs for the School kitchen, and flowers for bedding from seeds which all helps to reduce the School’s carbon footprint.
MESSy Prefect, Year 13 Clara, said; “We are working hard to achieve the Eco-Schools Silver Award, having received the Bronze Award last year. We are constantly carrying out environmental audits and improvements.”
Mayfield School is a leading Catholic independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18.