Blue Sky visits The Sustainability Center
28 September 2023
28 September 2023
Molly Lloyd, Participation Coordinator in Dorset writes:
28 September 2023
What prompted Blue Sky to try and become more sustainable?
One of the focuses of this year for Blue Sky is to look at our agency in terms of sustainability: what impact we are leaving on the world and how we can support our young people to have a wider understanding of that impact. We want to make sure that we are giving our young people the best outcomes and aspirations while equally ensuring that they have a viable world to live in going forward!
How have you been learning about energy usage?
Earlier in the summer we visited Formula E in London to learn all about energy storage. Our recent visit to the Sustainability Centre taught us about kinetic and wind energy and how we can be more resourceful. In October we plan to go to FarmED to learn more about sustainable farming: how we can learn to grow our own produce and be more zero waste in terms of what we are using, and what we are putting back into the ground.
How does this inform Blue Sky?
Our intention is that as we research and learn more about all the different facets of sustainability – energy usage, battery storage, farming etc. – we can then apply this knowledge to make changes within Blue Sky. This could be the young people taking a bit more leadership in terms of choosing how we are recycling or which providers we opt for, such as energy suppliers.
Tell us about your visit to The Sustainability Centre
It was a beautiful building and place. We were shown around by Jonathon Huet and Sean Reeves, both Outdoor Learning Officers. They gave us a tour of the centre, as well as escorted us on a visit to Salt Hill to learn more about energy and harnessing the power of the wind.
How did the young people measure the wind speeds? What does it involve?
The device that you see in the pictures is an anemometer. You simply hold it into the air, and it captures how quickly the wind is running through it and how many miles per hour.
We used our anemometers on Salt Hill, National Trust ground. The area was recently turned down to be used as a wind farm site. However, The Sustainability Project is petitioning to overturn the ruling, as there is a sweet spot when it comes to wind for wind turbines – it cannot be so windy that there is a risk of the structures falling, yet it must also be windy enough to make for a viable wind farm.
The top of Salt Hill has the perfect level of wind, where there’s enough wind to store the amount of energy that the turbines produce. Very often this isn’t the case, you must use the energy as it comes in and any excess energy is wasted. They feel that the site would be perfect to bring more sustainable energy to the local area.
Why a box of apples?
Jonathon and Sean also showed us their worm farms around the site. They have a little allotment space. Although farming isn’t their primary focus, they are very conscious of looking after wildlife and insects and engaging in sustainable methods.
The picture with the box of apples is one of their smaller compact worm farms, small enough that you could easily have one in your garden at home. Jonathon demonstrated the different layers of a worm farm. The top layer was apples that were gathered from the floor, but as Jonathon revealed the layers beneath, we saw that the previous top layer had begun to break down, the one beneath further still, until at the base was soil, made nutrient-dense from all the worms.
What else did you get up to?
The young people played a whole lot of games! They all had a go on the bikes; at first, they did a race with two different models, demonstrating how their propulsion gets something to move forward and backwards. Then different attachments were added to the bikes. One was a smoothie blender, so the young people were able to make smoothies by utilising the kinetic energy of the bikes; another attachment was the metal drum that you can see, which they were able to spin to make spinner paintings.
It was such a fun day! We all loved being outside, as well as playing games and drinking smoothies. But it also felt like the next chapter in learning about sustainability for Blue Sky.
We’re excited to be on this journey; what we’re going to learn next, and how it will ultimately inform how we run Blue Sky in the future.