Primary 5, 6 and 7 pupils from Port Erroll School took part in a beach clean at Cruden Bay Beach recently as part of the Marine Conservation Society Beach Watch programme.
The pupils have visited the beach over the past five weeks to take part in activities such as rock pooling and environmental games.
Over the coming months the older pupils are each hoping to be awarded the prestigious John Muir Environmental Award in recognition of their efforts.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Countryside Ranger, Sarah Godsen co-ordinated the beach clean initiative which saw pupils use litter pickers to collect litter and fill in a recording sheet of the types of litter found on the beach.
Results will be sent to the MSC’s national database of marine litter.
The children were surprised to discover that their local beach was not particularly a litter hotspot but they did however find a range of items from scaffolding planks and cigarette lighters to old socks and pieces of rope.
Class teacher, Claire Blackadder said the pupils have chosen to focus on the beach area for their John Muir Award after the recent Port Erroll Harbour Festival which celebrated the centenary of Trygvve Gran’s inaugural flight across the North Sea from this beautiful stretch of Buchan coastline.
She said the classes wanted to learn more about the wildlife and history associated with the beach area and have greatly enjoyed examining various marine artefacts found on a scavenger hunt of the beach and from the Ranger Service’s collection.
The beach clean has inspired the pupils to research more about the sources of marine litter and about the longevity of plastic items in the natural environment.
Mrs Blackadder explained that the John Muir Award gives people the opportunity to discover, explore, conserve and share their learning about a local wild place through hands on learning experiences in the great outdoors.
Pupil Support Assistant, Jacqui Aiken said it had been a really enjoyable experience for pupils to enjoy the fresh air and learn more about conservation issues.
Pupils have also enjoyed a visit to Mandy Henderson’s Port Erroll Studio to see how the local marine environment has inspired her art work and have undertaken their own creative responses to the golden sands at Cruden Bay through painting, poetry and willow weaving.
Head teacher Sandra Masson said the project had allowed the pupils to take an active part in their learning and provided opportunities for them to be responsible citizens and give something back to their community.
Mrs Masson commented that the children had benefitted greatly from the support of a number of parents, grandparents and ex staff members giving up their time to assist pupils with their beach visits.