Great Big Green Week Off To a Sustainable Start

The Great Big Green Week kicked off on Saturday with the GBGW Fair at Henley Town Hall which was packed with stalls for visitors to learn about how to be more eco-friendly, eat healthier, recycle and care for the environment.

There were stalls from Henley Toad Patrol, Henley Allotments Association, Henley Reusable Nappy Library, Henley Town Council, Young Climate Warriors and Henley Community Hub unveiling their new sustainable building plans for Trinity Hall on Harpsden Road.

Kids could enjoy felt-making, and crafting insects throughout the day and Jo from Honeys of Henley gave a talk on bees. Sir David Attenborough made appearance (well his life-size cut out did) for people to have a selfie with. Pavilion Foods challenged people to do a comparison test between a meat and vegan burger.  Kate Oldridge from Greener Henley said, “What we are trying to do here is start a conversation about plant-based eating, and we’re trying to encourage people to shift over towards plant-based eating. We are not saying that everyone has to go 100% vegan at all; we are just trying to highlight the fact that animal agriculture is quite damaging for the planet, and so the more vegetables we can get into our diet, the less pressure it puts on the planet. If you eat a diet rich in meat, fish, and dairy, you’ve got a higher carbon footprint, it causes more deforestation, it’s worse for nature and all those things. This is just a fun way of highlighting those issues.”

Dylan (taste tester) “I could tell the difference from the colouring but I actually preferred the vegan one at the end of the day. I think it seemed a bit juicier, in comparison, even though I could tell it wasn’t meat.”

Gillotts School had a stand representing the school’s Eco-Committee.  Teacher, Sarah Seddon said “We are representing the school eco committee. First of all, we are asking children to identify species in the garden – slugs and worms and things, where they live and what they eat – for awareness that we need all these bugs in our garden. We are also asking children to write letters to tomorrow: their hopes and dreams for the environment and what they hope our political leaders will do for us.”  Harry, Year 9 eco committee member, was on the stand said, “I enjoy helping people understand more about the environment and how they can improve.”

On Sunday Badgemore School opened their beautiful grounds to show their wildflower garden, beekeeping, and vegetable garden.   Seven stations had been set up along the nature trail, with each station proving information in respect of these projects, In addition, a scavenger hunt also took place, for the children, with visitors also being shown how to take cuttings and plant seedlings.

Francis Palmer, a parent who is involved with the garden projects, said, “How important it was that children experienced working outside with nature and understood how they themselves can be diverse and have lots of fun.”  Olivia, a pupil at Badgemore Primary School said “I liked the scavenger hunt and liked planting the sunflower seeds which we can take home.”

On Monday morning Sally Rankin and Alan Parfitt from Greener Henley Wildlife Group took a group on a Wildflower walk around Marsh Meadows.  They learnt about different wild flowers that grow there including Water Forget Me Knots, Angelica, Creeping Marshwort and the rare Marsh Orchid.  Sally commented, “I’ve waited 27 years  to see the Marsh Orchid here in this conservation area.  The success of these is notoriously low because they need a special type of fungi to grow.  I’m really thrilled to see them here this year.”

Julia who was attending the walk said, “I’ve come along to learn more about wild flowers.  Normally when I go I on a walk I try to identify the wildflowers on an app and then keep it in my brain and this is reinforcing it and getting some expert knowledge.”

Gardeners got to ask questions to experts on Monday evening at Henley Rugby Club at Gardeners Question Time.  The panel was made of up Steve Head, Patron of the Wildlife Gardening Forum, Melissa Jolly (Ecological garden designer), Dave McEwen from Henley Allotments Association and Lynne Lambourne Sustainability Ambassador and Chelsea Flower Show Designer.  Questions were asked about garden design, what to plant and how to encourage wildlife in your garden.

The week continues on Thursday (15 June) at Regal Picturehouse Cinema for the film Fashion Reimagined and to take part in a panel discussion with live Q&A after the film looking at ethical and sustainable fashion. Local fashionistas can be further inspired by a fun evening with swaps of preloved and vintage clothing at fashion event ‘Swaparama Razzamatazz’ on 16 June at The Green Room starting at 6pm.. On Sunday 18 June it’s the Paddleboard River Clean with Warriors on Waste at 10.00am from the River & Rowing Museum jetty.




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