15 June 2021

St Fergus Primary pupils leave their legacy

Primary seven pupils at St Fergus school have been making their mark not just in the school but giving consideration to how to care for the earth too.

The school’s Leavers’ Legacy project saw P7 pupils identify somewhat neglected areas of the school which could be improved so future children could enjoy and appreciate their work. The 2019 cohort of P7s decided to transform an unused courtyard into an outdoor common room as well as a place for planting and growing flowers and vegetables.

Fundraising prior to the Covid-19 pandemic allowed initial property works to be completed including a bespoke gate incorporating the school colours and logo, as well as alterations to the door and new signage. 

The project restarted when school returned in August 2020 with a new cohort of P7 pupils, who were keen to continue and complete the legacy. The school has been working in partnership with pxLimited, based at St Fergus Gas Terminal. They introduced the pupils to Pale Blue Dot Energy for a series of virtual workshops called “Low Carbon Energy & Carbon Capture and Storage”, where pupils learned about types of energy, its effects on the climate and what we can all do to reduce CO2.

During these workshops, Hazel Robertson, a local explorer, told the children how she had seen for herself the effects of climate change on the environment. Pupils were asked to reflect on what changes they could make to improve the world for future generations and were introduced to the Acorn Project at St Fergus Gas Site. This project aims to make best use of the legacy of oil and gas infrastructure at St Fergus and Scotland's excellent geology for CO2 storage. The final workshop culminated with a challenge to the P7s to design a poster showing their understanding of the effects of climate change and what people are doing locally to alleviate this. This prompted the pupils to use their designs to create a mural in the courtyard.

The combined enthusiasm of Pale Blue Dot and the pupils, led to professional artist, Craig Fisher, assisting with the legacy. He was inspired by the poster designs to create a concept template of the mural depicting pupils’ awareness of the importance of sustainability in Buchan. A virtual live art lesson was arranged for pupils to draw their own sea creatures which would be incorporated into the final design.

Pale Blue Dot Energy intend using photos, video clips and artwork as part of their input to the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) due to be held in Glasgow in November. The courtyard wouldn’t be complete without sustainable wooden furniture to make it into an inviting, relaxing area for pupils to enjoy.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “This is truly an example of little acorns growing into giant oak trees. Well done St Fergus School’s P7s past and present for absolutely working together to create a wonderful legacy which will be enjoyed by generations of children.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “I am delighted to see at an early age the pupils at St Fergus School learning about sustainability and climate change. These important early lessons will no doubt stand them in good stead when the P7s become adults, leaving a remarkable legacy for all.”

St Fergus Primary School Head Teacher Pauline Robertson said: “We would like to thank pxLimited for the provision of this. Pupils are looking forward to making best use of their new outdoor space and taking ownership of the courtyard.”

Avril Sutherland St Fergus Primary School Head Teacher added: “I am very grateful for the assistance provided by Pale Blue Dot Energy, Hazel Robertson and Craig Fisher in helping our pupils gain a greater understanding about climate change and sustainability. They have found it hugely informative and rewarding.”