Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Monday 2 March 2009

Eco Club - getting started

Several of you have asked me about the Eco Club I co-lead at Compost girl's school, so this is the first in a series of posts about Eco Club and what we do.

Our sessions at Eco Club run after school from 3 15 to 5 pm. We have so many children wanting to be in Eco Club that we have had to hold two duplicate sessions each month! We usually have around 15 children in each session, Sue (Yr 2 teacher) and I lead the sessions (with a couple of parent helpers, usually Compost man is one of them !) Sue and I are both qualified First Aiders, any non teaching staff have CRBs and we take a register at the start and end of the club to ensure the safety of the children.

Eco Club has its own notice board in the school, which is changed by me to reflect the up coming session.

We start with the children getting changed into old clothes then we have a drink, a biscuit and a general chat about what we plan to do in the session; this is also the time for the children to share any exciting news with the rest of the club, or show a book or magazine they have found. Sometimes we look at a web site or a DVD which relates to what is planned for the session. We also talk about what we would like to do in future sessions and ask the children what they would like to do.

Then it is outside for a few environmentally based games (more on those in another post). Then it is on with the activity planned for that session. We want everybody to be able to have fun without worrying about getting cold, wet or mucky so old clothes, warm coats and wellies are essential wear for Eco Club.

We have found mixing KS1 and 2 in a meeting is a really good thing as the older ones help the younger ones. We duplicate sessions each month so each group (Ants or Bees) does roughly the same thing as the other group each month .

We are an RSPB Wildlife Explorers Club, a Woodland Trust Nature Detectives Club and have been a Wildlife Trust Watch group. Each child is a member of the RSPB and gets a magazine every two months as well as various goodies from the RSPB on occasion.

Eco club activities cover a wider range of “green” interests. For example; we make recycled paper (more on that in a later post!),

have planted native hedgerow trees, have bird feeders all over the school grounds, have instigated a paper recycling bank at school, have made bat and bird boxes and erected them around the school,

have made a hedgehog hibernaculum, we take part in various RSPB and Woodland Trust events and we make insect shelters in the Autumn. Eco Club has several raised beds in the school grounds where we grow herbs and insect attracting plants.

We make a lot of compost as well! Bug hunts in the compost heap whilst “turning” it is always a VERY popular activity!

We have held HUGELY successful fund raising events, for the RSPB Albatross appeal alone we raised over £300!

We do a variety of recycled-based crafts

and a lot of bird and plant identifying and above all we have FUN.

What we are doing is part of a bigger message spreading throughout the school, of living in a more sustainable way. This has benefited the school in many ways and has meant the school is now working for the highest level an Eco school can achieve, the Green Flag award. We also recently won a prestigious Green Tree Woodland Trust award at Gold Level.

It is a lot of work for me, I cannot deny it and I do not get paid money for doing it BUT I enjoy doing it and I love helping the children to come to see the wonders of our natural world. I feel very privileged to be able to share my knowledge of the environment with the next generation and that is worth a lot! I am also lucky enough to have converted my interest and passion for educating about sustainability/the environment into a whole new career as an Environmental Educator, purely from becoming a volunteer Master Composter and volunteering to run Eco Club.

If you have similar skills, why not try helping at YOUR local school or other youth group?


  1. That all sounds like fantastic fun - is there an adults version I can join please???

  2. Only if you come and help out ;-)

    I think the adult version involves running it!

    *I* get so much joy from doing it..I really hope the children do, too!

  3. Compostwoman there are some fantastic ideas here! My 6 year old has recently been elected by her class as eco-representative for their school club - I find young ones sometimes embrace green ideas much better than some adults. (Off to read the rest of your blog now...!)

  4. I know that if I were a child in your Eco Club, I would be elated. Especially in the way you get them involved and ask what *they* would like to do. Do you have a way to get info/ideas on activities or is it from your own experience and their interests? I think it really does go a long way to showing that eco-awareness is not something odd or unusual, it can be a completely integrated part of one's life.

  5. lialz, I have posted about some of the places I get ideas from, today.. ;-) just a few of the sources of inspiration I use...there are many more!

    I have been an active environmentalist all my life (although I DID drive racing cars for a hobby for a chunk of time....) and I have always known the name of what plants, trees, animals birds, insects etc were around me. I have always grown stuff and gardened, so it just comes naturally to know things and want to share. I have also worked hard to expand my store of knowledge! but I tend to want to know about "stuff" not just so *I* can use the knowledge but also so I can share it on...

    The other eco club leader and I work hard to try to produce a programme which will interest and engage the children and we try as far as we can to do things they ask for..( going on safari to Africa was a bit out of our means, though...!)

    I veiw all the stuff I do as just all part of my life long journey of learning, I guess!


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.