Stirling High pupils win environmental awards

Stirling High pupils have won two environmental awards for a proposal to tackle litter on school premises, and an original piece of artwork created from waste materials.

Leona Routledge, Emily Appleby, Robyn Stevenson, and Callum Graham were awarded the 2024 Young Pathfinders Climate Competition trophy, which concluded the third Young Pathfinders programme, an educational outreach initiative led by Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC) at the University of Stirling.

Stirling Council Leader Councillor Chris Kane returned to his former school – Stirling High – to present the awards. Local MSP Evelyn Tweed is to table a motion in the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the success of Leona Routledge, Emily Appleby, Robyn Stevenson, and Callum Graham.

Pupils were tasked with identifying an environmental challenge facing their school. The Stirling High School pupils identified litter and food waste as a problem and propose to run more regular and inclusive litter picking sessions, as well as installing compost bins.

The S4 pupils also won the first Young Pathfinders Sustainable Art Challenge, which encouraged participants to create a piece of art that reflected an environmental concern or solution, using only upcycled materials. The Stirling High School submission focused on marine pollution.

Schools from across Stirling and Clackmannanshire participated in the competitions.

Rebecca Pankhurst, SIEC Manager at the University of Stirling, said: “The submission from Stirling High School was impressive, tackling two major issues for our changing climate and our local environment. The pupils’ solutions were comprehensive, effective, and inclusive of the whole school.

“It’s clear that Emily, Leona, Callum, and Robyn took time to research their ideas, and their proposal to the judges was compelling. Entries from all the schools taking part were of a high standard, which reflects the originality and creativity that young people can bring to the challenge of climate change.”

Members of the winning cohort each received gift vouchers for Waterstones and The Works, while each school participating in the Young Pathfinders programme was awarded £1,000 to develop the ideas put forward by their pupils.

  1. (l-r) Ally Macleod, Head Teacher, John Robertson, Enterprise Programme Officer (SIEC), Callum Graham, Leona Routledge, Emily Appleby, Robyn Stevenson, Rebecca Pankhurst, SIEC Manager, Councillor Chris Kane, Stirling Council leader.


Stirling Council Leader Councillor Chris Kane said: “It was an honour to be asked to return to my former school and present the awards to our four pupils at Stirling High.

“Emily, Leona, Callum, and Robyn should be very proud of their achievements on the Young Pathfinders Programme, and their hard work, enthusiasm and creativity on these important environmental issues shone through in their submissions.

“Across the board, it’s been another successful year for the programme. Our young participants have developed new skills and experiences that will help them tackle the climate challenges of the future and forge careers in a key sector as the region transitions to a thriving Net Zero economy.”

Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed said: “Congratulations to Emily, Callum, Robyn and Leona on their win at the SIEC Young Pathfinders Award.

“It is fantastic to hear young people across Stirling taking an active role in exploring the local challenges and opportunities that are presented to us by the transition to net zero. It is incredibly important that young people are fully engaged with this work as they will be key to the success of the transition to net zero.

“Well done to Stirling High, University of Stirling, Clackmannanshire Council and Stirling Council on encouraging young people to participate in the Young Pathfinders programme and I look forward to hearing of future successes from the scheme.”

Clackmannanshire Council Leader Councillor Ellen Forson said: “Congratulations to the talented pupils of Stirling High School on winning this year’s Young Pathfinders Climate Competition.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of all the young people who have taken part. I sincerely hope they have gained valuable insight into climate issues, as well as experience and skills that will help them in their future careers.

“It is absolutely vital the Council continues to support initiatives like this which align with our journey to net zero and our focus on a greener, cleaner future.”

Established as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, Scotland’s International Environment Centre is a pioneering collaboration that will create an innovation community in the Forth Valley, driving the creation of a net zero regional economy and acting as a global exemplar of low-carbon growth.

The Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal is a £90.2m investment from the UK Government and Scottish Government in innovation and infrastructure that will drive inclusive economic growth throughout the region.

Regional partners, including Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, and the University of Stirling, will invest up to £123.8m, resulting in a Deal worth more than £214m, to be delivered over the next 10 to 15 years.


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