Stansted Airport digs deep to support garden plans for five Stortford schools
Five Bishop's Stortford schools have won a share of £60,000 in Stansted Airport's eco-garden competition.
The Herts and Essex High School and Hockerill Anglo-European College submitted winning secondary entries. The successful primaries were Richard Whittington, Thorn Grove and Windhill21.
Across the border in Uttlesford, St Mary's C of E Primary School in Saffron Walden and Great Easton primary also shared in the prize pot.
The airport challenged students to submit designs for gardens or green spaces that improve biodiversity.
The standard was so high that the airport increased its £45,000 prize fund to reward all shortlisted schools.
The designs were assessed by a panel which included representatives of the airport's corporate social responsibility team and the Stansted Airport Community Trust.
Various layouts were submitted, including proposals for ponds, outdoor classrooms, sensory gardens, food growing areas and accessible green spaces.
Daniel Burford, Stansted Airport's community engagement manager, said: "We hope that the prize money will make a difference and allow the schools to bring their brilliant ideas to life. "These ideas will not only lead to the creation of new wonderful and rich green spaces and provide children with an excellent learning experience, but they will also contribute to their mental and physical well-being and highlight how important it is to respond to today's climate challenge.
"Addressing this is one of our key priorities as the airport continues its recovery from the pandemic. We are fully focused on how this can be achieved sustainably and to help accelerate our progress towards becoming a Net Zero Carbon business by 2038, and a Net Zero Carbon industry by 2050."
Windhill21 pupils were given the good news by Cllr Graham McAndrew, executive member for environmental sustainability at East Herts Council. The Conservative is also a Herts County Council member and said: "It was great meeting the pupils and teachers and seeing their design and the proposed location of the eco-garden. It will be exciting to see their project come to life."
Richard Whittington head Craig Wood said: "This was a great competition delivered by the Stansted Airport Community Trust Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed designing the garden and are very excited to turn their dream garden into a learning and well-being space for the whole school."
The Stansted Airport Community Trust will receive £1.5m from Manchester Airports Group over the next 10 years to support charities and community projects.