Wildcats, snakes and zebras – and that’s just the staff!

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GIRAFFES, wild cats and snakes have been spotted slinking, slithering and loping around Cortonwood Infant School! But don’t panic – they were really pupils and enthusiastic staff, who ditched uniforms, to don animal prints, costumes and furs for one special day.

The Brampton school celebrated a worldwide Earth Day, while doing their bit for the environment.

As a lead school – soon to become a beacon school for sustainability – Brampton Cortonwood Infants’ is highly active in all things environmental. It boasts a central quad area, turned by the pupils’ gardening club into a pretty haven with wildflower and vegetable sections, a greenhouse, wildlife pond, and even a bug hotel and wormery!

A wigwam-shaped willow shelter is a focal point on the school field.

The school’s business manager Lynne Hopkinson explained: “We wanted to celebrate Earth Day in a big way so everyone dressed up as wild animals or in bright colours – we had everything from wild pigs to chickens to tigers. The idea of bright colours was to light up the world”.

For one hour of the day, all the electricity in school was turned off, to conserve energy, and kids got busy making lanterns and face masks, along with other activities that required no electricity.

South Yorkshire was area number 88 to join in with making Earth Day a special date in the calendar, said Lynne.

She added: “We do all kinds of environmental work – including eco-trips, where pupils go bug hunting and learn how to build dens using natural materials”.

Staff have undertaken special “green” training in courses run by Sheffield Hallam University.

The school is also linked in with a low-carbon project run by Rotherham Council, and – as a beacon school – will see its staff going out to others in the area to share their ideas and successes.

By implementing an energy-saving boiler within school, they have saved 25 per cent on energy bills, while funds raised on Earth Day were split between the World Wildlife Fund and Netherlands Dog Rescue at Rawmarsh.

Projects by the school’s eco-action group resulted in two “good practice” awards being presented at a ‘Healthy Schools’ award night recently.

The school also holds an “outstanding practice” award for the specialised support it gives to families and children, that ranges from advice on a one to one basis, to group “cook and eat” sessions.

Cortonwood Children’s Centre shares the site and number of activities.