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Top international award for Headington nursery ‘eco warriors’

Julia Durbin Day Nursery in Headington is a deeper shade of environmental green after receiving the top award in an international schools scheme involving millions of children across 64 countries.

The prestigious ‘Green Flag’ award for environmental awareness and conservation has been awarded to children and staff at the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Nursey in Roosevelt Drive, which is powered by green electricity and has zero waste to landfill.

An overjoyed Julia Durbin Day Nursery Manager, Emma Wallbridge, said the award was the result of years of continuous dedication by staff and children, working together in the global Eco-schools programme.

“We aim to give children the best possible future here at Julia Durbin, and looking after the environment plays a huge part in that. The respect and care the children have for nature is lovely to see and bodes well for their adult lives.”

“The Green Flag award is predominantly a programme that is aimed at older children, so the fact that our children have been awarded this should be celebrated,” she added.

The nursery boasts a large outdoor space where the children are able to tend to fruit, vegetables and herbs all year round. Once picked, the produce is used by Nursery Chefs in meals and explored for learning purposes.

The garden also plays host to a number of animal habitats, including multiple bug hotels, the children’s handmade bird feeders and a new wormery for pre-schoolers.

Activities, which also include crafting with natural and recycled materials, are designed to promote the development of personal, social and emotional life skills as well as introducing the children to basic maths, science and environmental messages.

“The children are so enthusiastic about all aspects of life at the eco-nursery which is lovely to see. They love seeing the results of their hard work, such as when we can pick the home-grown produce or see the animals in the garden habitats”, said Jessica Price, Team Leader and member of the Eco-Committee.

The committee also consists of colleagues Anna Coles, Chivone Webber, Rachel Saxon and Natasha Moore, as well as multiple children who take a lead role in ensuring the rest of the nursery is environmentally considerate.

To attain Green Flag accreditation, Julia Durbin had to first obtain Bronze and Silver status before a seven step programme led by the Eco-Committee.

Rigorous vetting of the projects was carried out by an independent inspector who was accompanied by Eco Committee members as she toured the nursery before the sustainable, eco-friendly Green Flag certificate was awarded.