Yesterday evening we hosted our annual Conservation Schools Awards celebration evening. We wanted to recognise those who go above and beyond to educate the next generation about conservation, celebrating excellence across the whole education sector.
The awards ceremony was hosted in The Square, where we were joined by our shortlisted nominees and a number of invited guests including our Chair of Trustees and representatives from our Curriculum Advisory Panel and our Youth Board.
We’re delighted to share with you the winners of our 2023 awards and their stories:
2023 Outstanding Conservation Initiative – Primary School
Frodsham Primary Academy – The Illegal Wildlife Trade
Following on from a zoo project about the Asian Songbird Crisis, Frodsham Primary Academy took the Illegal Wildlife Trade and conservation issues to the heart of their curriculum with this fantastic initiative. As part of the curriculum offer, children chose an animal and researched that animal in depth, exploring all of the ways in which they could prevent the animal becoming extinct. Through the initiative the school engaged with their local community including their local MP, promoting the importance of protecting animals from the illegal wildlife trade.
The nominating individual shares the impact of the project on the young people “This project, has changed the life chances of so many of our children. Children are now actively conducting their own research into how they can support the endangered animals and I have a group of children who have formed an eco-committee to look at the protection of wildlife in our school grounds. Children have also written to the local MP who assures us that our questions will be asked in the Houses of Parliament.”
2023 Outstanding Conservation Initiative – Secondary School or College
Neston High School – Neston High School Makerspace
With the environment, sustainability and recycling high on just about everyone’s agenda now, Neston High School have staff and students making a real impact. Their DT team, engineering students and an extra-curricular ‘Makerspace’ club, have designed and built three machines; a shredder, an injection moulder and a heated sheet press to take HDPE plastic (mainly bottle tops) and turn them into new attractive products to share with their school community. Through face-face events, social media and online video clips they are spreading their sustainability message far and wide.
2023 Outstanding Conservation School – Primary School
Ysgol y Waun
With a fantastic project focused around Sustainable Palm Oil, our outstanding conservation primary school in 2023 is Ysgol y Waun. The school used the mantle of the expert methodology with the pupils becoming explorers, making it their mission to research orangutans, their habitat and the threat to their environment.
They were keen to understand how they could make a difference. Holding assemblies with the wider community where pupils shared their knowledge and making changes to the Christmas fayre to make it more sustainable, you can see how the school has fully embraced conservation at its heart. The nominating individual describes the lasting impact their work has had on their pupils, “Pupils are now making conscious choices with regards to recycling and purchasing items containing palm oil.”
2023 Outstanding Conservation School – Secondary School
St John Plessington Catholic College
Conservation is a key part of the curriculum at St John Plessington Catholic College, with conservation and sustainability messages embedded throughout the school in various projects across the curriculum. The importance of student voice is clear with extracurricular clubs being involved in numerous campaigns. This includes the Chester Schools Sustainability Network; Chester Zoo’s School Takeover events and Youth Symposium with young people sharing what they have learnt about oceans, conservation and fast fashion in particular. Campaigns in school have focused on encouraging pupils to think about their own behaviour and how small changes can make a big impact.
2023 Outstanding Conservation Educator Winner
Haydn Bettles – St Chad’s Primary School
In recognition of the work that he undertakes in school and with the wider community to embed conservation and sustainability messages at the heart of his work, Haydn is this year’s Outstanding Conservation Educator.
His nominating Headteacher described the impact that his work has on the young people that he works with. “Haydn really considers how the children’s wellbeing can be improved by being in the outdoors. We have a high level of children who are vulnerable, have autism and ADHD, who can find the classroom a challenging environment. Through his work they are flourishing. He has raised the self-esteem of so many children and helped them to feel they belong and make a difference through his conservation planning and work”
- Emily Hooson
- Lindsay Williams
Conservation Initiative – Primary
- St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School
- Whitby Heath Primary School
Conservation Initiative – Secondary
- Blacon High School
- Matthew Moss High School
Conservation School – Primary
- Lime Tree Primary Academy
- St Mary’s CIW Primary School
Conservation School – Secondary
- Hathershaw College
- Neston High School
Congratulations to all our highly commended nominees and award winners. We look forward to celebrating further successes with the Chester Zoo Conservation Education Awards in 2024.