Our Oxford Student Debate on local biodiversity at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment on the 19th of June proved to be as keenly contested as any of our annual debates in London featuring leading environmentalists.
As part of the challenge, students were asked to identify a degraded wildlife habitat in their immediate locality which could be restored - those submitting the most enterprising and practical proposals were invited to argue their case for their chosen habitat and the species it would support. You, the audience, voted for the school you considered most worthy of receiving a £150 Earthwatch Community Action Grant to lay the foundations for a school project.
The students taking part, from Bicester Community College, The Dragon School, Summer Fields School, Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School and Wolvercote Primary School, all without exception did great credit both to themselves and their schools' environmental commitment.
In a final vote that could not have been closer, the ultimate winners were two eleven year olds from Wolvercote, Joe Donaghey & Edward Wilson, with the runner up being Tom Lambert, 13, from Summer Fields, proving, as Wolvercote Primary School had said, that little people do indeed lead the way.
Joe and Edward, whose school is passionate about all things green, has its own wildlife garden, and holds a weekly 'Forest School' with even younger children at nearby Wytham Woods, were presented with a cheque at a special morning assembly. They say they will spend the money on a bench for the garden, for the whole community to enjoy.
All participating schools, plus Cherwell School who could not be there on the day, were given Earthwatch awards to help fund their projects to provide local wildlife habitats. If you would like to support any of these initiatives, please do get in touch with our Events Department on (01865) 318856; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org