Posted 2 June 2006
STUDENTS at a Stafford primary school have been getting a taste of sustainability with a visit to a Shropshire university college.
Forty-eight children from Doxey Primary School visited Harper Adams University College on Monday to carry out a project on ‘The Power of Elephant Grass’.
The school was awarded a grant of £2,390 by the Royal Society, the national academy of science, established in recognition of the importance that today’s scientists and engineers share their experience and knowledge with school pupils.
It was one of just 46 successful applicants from across the UK in the eighth round of the Royal Society’s Partnership Grants Scheme - submitted in conjunction with Paul Lewis from the Crops Group at Harper Adams.
The project allows pupils to relate their learning in the classroom to the work of real scientists at Harper Adams and industry experts with Talbotts (Biomass) Ltd, in a context relevant to the Staffordshire Community.
It also enables them to consider the impact of science on local farmers and industries and help them understand how the community is working together to address the problem of maintaining a sustainable energy source.
During the visit the year five and six students looked into the practice of growing miscanthus grass as an energy crop and its use as a biomass source for heat and power production.
They studied crop stands and agronomy issues, viewed crop demonstration plots and looked around the Bioenergy Development Centre – officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal earlier this month.
Paul Lewis, Business and Training Development Manager in the Crops Group at Harper Adams, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the motivated and interested pupils from Doxey Primary School on their miscanthus - elephant grass project.
“From delivering initial school assemblies, assisting with planting trial plots at the school and demonstrating Harper Adams' developing involvement with this biomass crop, the project has been an excellent example of knowledge transfer to possible future scientists and engineers of this world, all of whom were extremely keen to learn.
“I will look forward to the pupils’ presentation of their work at a West Midlands Science Learning Centre's Schools Conference being held at Harper Adams on Tuesday 3rd October.”
Harper Adams will be exhibiting at this year’s Staffordshire County Show on Wednesday and Thursday.
Representatives from the UK's largest specialist provider of higher education courses serving the rural, food and land based industries will be on hand to discuss degree courses and advise visitors on events at the Shropshire-based university college.