Primary pupils from across East Ayrshire recently took part in an event to develop ideas and actions to respond to the climate emergency and help to achieve the council's ambitious Net Zero targets.

The conference heard from six schools that had been recognised at the Climate Change awards held earlier this year.

Pupils spoke about the work that is taking place within their school, each focusing on one of our climate change themes.

Patna Primary spoke about their strategy to encourage active travel to school.

Ochiltree Primary spoke about waste and the importance of recycling at school and at home, as the school recycles over 200 crisp bags each week and any money raised is donated to a local charity.

Drongan Primary spoke about the importance of saving energy. They had found that hot water taps were regularly left running in their toilets so monitors were recruited to ensure that taps were turned off.

After each presentation, the school set questions for the audience to consider in relation to their own roles, ideas were submitted online that will be considered by the Climate Change team in the coming weeks and will be shared with our schools to grow our climate change movement.

Cumnock Chronicle: Windy uses sustainable travelWindy uses sustainable travel (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

Netherthird Primary, the proud recipients of a Silver Award and last sessions Chair's Award, shared their journey.

Mrs McAvoy and two pupil ambassadors spoke of how delighted they were to receive this special recognition from Councillor Graham Barton.

To help other schools on their journey this year, Netherthird Primary shared how they took some of the action points from each theme of their bronze journey and expanded on these and reaching out to a larger audience, helped to secure their Silver Award.​

Equipped with lots of ideas from the morning sessions, the young people, with the support of their class teachers, corporate officers, elected members and partner agency representatives, began drafting a Clean Green action plan specific to their establishment.

But by far the most exciting part of the day was the launch of a new Climate Change mascot - Windy the Wind Turbine, which was designed by Noah from New Cumnock Primary.

Windy will lead a new Power Down initiative, sharing top tips and ideas to reduce energy and water consumption.

Power Down encourages schools and Early Childhood Centres to reduce energy and each establishment that signs up to the initiative will complete a monthly energy reduction challenge.

Following the completion of each challenge, they will collect major parts of a wind turbine until they have a complete structure at the end of the session.

Cumnock Chronicle: Cllr Barton with Windy and Cllrs Reid, McKay Ingram, Boyd, Cogley, McGregor, Linda McAulay-Griffiths, and the Climate Change teamCllr Barton with Windy and Cllrs Reid, McKay Ingram, Boyd, Cogley, McGregor, Linda McAulay-Griffiths, and the Climate Change team (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

Challenges include analysing energy and water usage, which has been supported by the Council's Energy Team through the development of graphs for each facility to use and the Windy Widnae/ Windy Wid challenge, where they will be encouraged to follow Windy’s ten top tips.

Talks were also delivered by pupils from Fenwick and Hillhead primaries.

Councillor Graham Barton, spokesperson for planning, property and environment, said:  “What an incredible and inspiring day we had with our children and young people.

"The conference was led by them; they had the opportunity to share best practice to encourage others to think innovatively about how we can address the climate emergency as a local authority but also as a community.

"They also had the opportunity to make a personal pledge and commit to making positive changes at home.

“All their feedback will be assessed by the Climate Change team and I know that there will be plenty of ideas that we can implement moving forward."