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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Stuart Sommerville

West Lothian pupils who made dog fouling map and tackled bad parking congratulated

Pupils who created a a dog fouling map to tidy up the woods around their school, and set up their own road safety officers to tackle bad parking, have been congratulated by local councillors.

Pupils Harrysmuir Primary in Livingston, West Lothian came up with a novel way of naming and shaming irresponsible dog owners in the area last year.

The P6 class regularly uses surrounding woods as an outdoor classroom and the pupils compiled a map of the most dog fouled streets and open spaces around the school which was published by the local Ladywell Regeneration group.

READ MORE: More than half of West Lothian council staff off sick for at least one day last year

The idea for the map grew out of initial letter picks the pupils had taken part in and formed part of their work towards the John Muir Award certificates the youngsters have now received for their work to improve the environment around their school.

And they are now helping other schools to look at ways they can clean up their environment, by sharing the results of their community action through a variety of projects.

The dog poo map drawn up after a survey of their local area by the pupils of Harrysmuir Primary in Livingston (West Lothian Council)

The Livingston South Local Area Committee invited pupils from the school to give a presentation on the range of activities taking place in the school to improve the environment for themselves and others.

The pupils have also helped create a community garden built wildlife friendly features and created a community garden.

Pupils Danny, Caitlan, Harris, Rachel, Ayanna and Ava, supported by Headteacher Andrew Brown and Principal Teacher Elaine Carder, addressed the committee to detail the work that has taken place over the last year in the Ladywell area.

This includes Harrysmuir becoming West Lothian’s first ever Hedgehog Friendly Campus, through planting hedging, setting up mammal tunnels and creating a hedgehog highway to support the woodland animals.

Pupils achieved John Muir Certificates for their efforts to improve the environment around the school, including the litter picks, addressing dog fouling issues and asking P7s to design signs that were then put up in their local woodland to discourage anti-social behaviour.

The council contributed to the project with staff from the Cleaner Communities teams in Operational Services adding stencilled No fouling signs on pavements in the worst hit areas.

They also joined with other nearby schools and community organisations for the Ladywell Week of Action in October to improve the local environment for everyone, as well as being a key part of the Ladywell Community Garden project.

Councillor Moira McKee Shemilt told the children: "I think you're a credit to the school, to your families and to yourself. Very well done."

Parking was identified as an issue around the school, as it is with nearly all schools, so pupils were recruited as Junior Road Safety Officers to look at road safety issues and suggest improvements.

Headteacher Mr Brown said: “We are hugely proud of what our fantastic pupils at Harrysmuir have achieved in the last year.

“Our children want a safer and cleaner community, where wildlife can thrive, and their hard work is helping deliver this.”

“We hope that all these projects will be both sustainable and long-term, so will benefit both the school and the wider community.”

Mrs Carder said that the work done so far was no one-off but formed part of the curriculum for those coming in the senior years in primary. “Because we do the John Muir Award every year in Primary Six that's the catalyst to keep it going through the school so that it's not just one group of children. It's definitely not one-off."

Councillor Maria MacAulay said: "It's really interesting to see what you are doing with the Parksmart. It's really refreshing what you have been doing thank you for all your good work. "

Staff at Harrysmuir have also shared details of the different projects with colleagues in the cluster of surrounding primary schools.

Mrs Carder told the committee about the community garden which came about as a result of the local regeneration plan. The school has been involved from the start and pupils have given a presentation to local residents sharing the skills they could bring, and the learning opportunities it could provide.

She added: "So far we have used the garden for reading. We are awaiting delivery of apple and pear trees and excited about being involved in the creation of an orchard.

Councillor Peter Heggie asked: "Do you think the mums and dad, grannies and granddads have got better since you put the parking plan into place."

Mrs Carder said the pupils have already carried out one traffic survey and pupils have made banners to deter parents from parking in the turning circle at the school.

Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “Thanks to the pupils and staff from Harrysmuir Primary for taking the time to come into the West Lothian Civic Centre to speak to committee today.

“It was inspirational to hear of all the superb work taking place to improve their school environment directly from the children who have been delivering the many projects.

“I’m sure other schools in West Lothian and across Scotland will be keen to learn from the good work that has taken place at Harrysmuir, and see how they can also take steps to make a positive difference in their local environment.”


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