Early in December, teams of school pupils, all passionate about conservation, faced a panel of 'Dragons' to pitch their inspirational conservation projects. 

Action for Conservation (www.actionforconservation.org) had been working with schools across the region to help teams of pupils from Year 7 to 9 to develop their projects as part of the WildED programme. The best of the best were then invited to the exciting surroundings of the National History Museum in London to present their projects to the Dragons.

Teams from six schools had been working on their projects throughout the term. Action for Conservation had supported them, but all the ideas were developed by the 11 to 14 year olds themselves, using their imagination and interest in the environment. These final teams had to then stand in front of over 100 people and the Dragons to pitch their projects in trying to win the top prize.

Some of the best ideas included litter-picking and recycling or reusing the items they found, sowing seeds and greening their school surroundings, making bird feeders, raising money for conservation charities and promoting green behaviours with other pupils and local communities. 

One school made bird feeders from waste plastic water bottles, putting them around the school, and then made a 'how to' film so that other kids could copy what they were doing. Another school made bird boxes, bird baths and convinced their Head Teacher to allow them to turn a grey corner of the playground into a green haven for plants and wildlife. And a third school focused on a campaign around plastic pollution, putting on a film night, organising litter-picking around the school and they planned on making a giant turtle out of plastic bottles as a talisman for their campaign for the school to rally behind.

The Dragons had a really tough time in deciding on who the winner was. After lots of lively discussion, there could only be one winner - Lilian Baylis Technology College!

Importantly, even though the competition was over, all the teams said that they wanted to carry on with their projects and would continue to encourage others from their schools to get involved. These young leaders should give us all hope for the future.

As well as David, one of our National Park City Foundation trustees, the Dragons included Yetunde a Year 13 student, Action for Conservation alumna and #iwill Ambassador, Faye from the British Trust for Ornithology and Suzy from the cosmetics retailer, Lush.    

If your school wants to get involved, look at the Action for Conservation website to see how you can enter (https://www.actionforconservation.org/schools). And if you're feeling inspired by what these passionate young people have been doing, you can find more ideas in our National Park City Maker Guide (http://www.nationalparkcity.london/makerpaper) and consider joining the brand new London National Park City Schools Network.

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