The Drum Recommends: Commended - The Canopy Studio: Creating a culture of change in education and inspiring a new generation of young activists for Green Heroes

The Canopy Studio helped Green Heroes create a culture of change in education and inspire a new generation

The Drum Recommends: Commended is highlighting The Canopy Studio who helped Green Heroes create a culture of change in education and inspire a new generation of young activists.

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Green Heroes is a unique, first-of-its-kind educational and environmental project designed to enhance children’s knowledge and awareness of environmental issues. The project empowers young people to care for both their school eco-system and have a meaningful impact in the fight against climate change. Currently, children are not taught about climate change as part of the standard UK curriculum, and Green Heroes encourages new ways of learning beyond the remit of the standard educational model.

What began with offering to help the Berrywood pupils with the creation of an environmental film, proved to be the green shoots of a much wider movement.

Offering hands-on environmental learning and the opportunity to create a vibrant, sustainable and inspiring school environment, children participating in the Green Heroes initiative are encouraged to develop their critical thinking skills regarding the world we live in, and to take small steps to affect big changes in the way in which we safeguard our planet for future generations.

Green Heroes is a lesson for our young people. It is a warning for us. A warning that if we don’t start making changes to improve our environment, however large or small, we may be causing catastrophic and irreparable damage to our planet. Our strapline “Big changes. Little hands.” Demonstrates the way in which our children are increasing their awareness of environmental damage, and taking ownership for improving their planet. Accompanying copy headlines such as “The future’s no playground.” Highlights the seriousness with which our young students are approaching this topic and their determination to enact lasting and impactful change.

We offered our services as creative consultants with a brief intended to help change the entire outlook of the school. The Green Heroes project and its impact on the entire school was the inspiration for a redesign to its interior layout. We wanted to create spaces that supported the school ethos, and help to build a beautiful environment in which the children could learn, develop and grow. The project is also gaining wider national and governmental interest through the Royal Horticultural Society and The Parliamentary Review.

By encouraging active pupil, parent and educator participation and engagement, our project aim was to cultivate a holistic environment in which children would feel inspired by learning and empowered to participate in changing their school surroundings, whilst creating a meaningful, lasting impact in the wider community.


Green Heroes - Big changes, little hands

We created a bold and striking brand and campaign story that resonated with all ages and audiences. The brand helped to activate and engage environmental awareness amongst children of primary school age whilst cementing lifelong patterns of behaviour that can only serve to create positive changes in the future.

Our colourful, distinctive brand identity resonated with both pupils and adults, and we have been able to raise awareness of the Green Heroes project and ethos.

All brand communications carry an image of one of our young volunteers from Berrywood School, accompanied by an impactful headline highlighting the importance of the project.

Ideas such as “This is our turf now” and “Our future’s no playground” demonstrate the serious emotional connection our young volunteers have when it comes to raising awareness of the project and the long term consequences if we don’t begin to make small changes in the way in which we care for our world.

At Berrywood, alongside their regular curriculum studies, children develop skills in conservation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship as part of the Green Heroes initiative. The brand represents a unique hands-on environmental learning project that empowers the children with the opportunity to grow their own produce, nurture their colourful urban gardens, and care for their own bees and free-range chickens.

The strong and distinctive brand identity has helped inspire more Berrywood pupils to take an active role in the fight against climate change, and acts as a call to action as we attempt to safeguard our planet for future generations.


Environmental video and première

Working alongside the children we co-produced a powerful environmental film that aimed to bring the Green Heroes project to a global audience.


A web platform to promote the campaign

We designed and built a distinctive Green Heroes website to act as a platform through which to promote the initiative.


Engagement with Internal Stakeholders

• Over an 18-month period, over 150 Green Heroes have been engaged and inspired to take part in the project at Berrywood.

• In creating an inspiring environment in which to learn, develop and grow, the reception, atrium, learning zones, and welcoming interior spaces of Berrywood School were all transformed in keeping with the school’s wider ethos.

• We were able to create a seamless transition between the outside concept of a “school within a garden” and interior learning spaces designed to encourage free thinking and inspire creativity.


Engagement with External Stakeholders

From 210 responders to the Berrywood School annual parents questionnaire:

• The school received an average 9.4/10 approval of the educational environment.

• 9.5/10 parents stated that they were proud their child attended Berrywood.

• 139 of 210 responders rated the Berrywood School Learning Environment 10/10


Increased Media Awareness and Participation

Since our involvement in the school redesign, Berrywood has garnered both local and national press coverage, and in 2018 has featured in both The Parliamentary Review, and on the Royal Horticultural Society website as examples of best educational practice. It is hoped that the Green Heroes brand will be adopted by more schools locally, with the long-term aim of creating a nationwide association of participating schools. Therefore, we have created a distinctive, powerful and effective brand with the potential for national roll out, and has the capacity to prove effective on both a large and small scale.


Sustainability Improvements and Social Impact

• As well as raising awareness of climate change, Green Heroes project encourages children to care for and improve their school grounds, creating a greener, more pleasant and more eco-friendly environment, and resulting in a lower carbon footprint.

• The purchase of a composter with the Tesco Bags of Help grant has resulted in lower waste, with kitchen peelings recycled to create compost for the flowerbeds and homegrown fruit and vegetables.


Job Creation and Expansion

• Due to the success of the Green Heroes project, the school has since created and appointed the full time position of Environmental Learning Leader.

• This dedicated job role received applications from around the world, with applicants from as far afield as California and Greece, inspired by our Green Heroes environmental film


Rollout of Design Solution and Uptake of Model

• Berrywood has been visited by 6 Hampshire local authority schools and 6 national schools as part of replicating the Green Heroes project following inspiration from the film and campaign.

• The Royal Horticultural Society has run two course in 2018 attended by over 30 schools citing Green Hereos as a scalable environmental learning model.

• Hampshire County Council ran a course with 20 Deputy Headteachers using Berrywood as an example of best practice for aspiring Headteachers to replicate.

To find out more on The Canopy Studio agency visit their The Drum Recommends profile.

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