Environmental Education at St Mary's

The St. Mary’s School, Melrose motto “behalde to ye hende” means “look to your future” in old Scots.

In the school’s entire 125 year history, this motto has never been more appropriate. The natural world is changing fast as a result of human intervention. We feel that we and our children must act quickly now to mitigate those alterations to our environment.

Started in 2018, Green Tweed Eco’s core desire is to leave our school, community and countryside in a better state than that which we have inherited.

In that time, pupils and staff at the school have completed a number of projects in our local community:

  • Built over 120 birdboxes for our local community
  • Started a project call #1918oaks with 5 tree nurseries containing more than 2,000 native oaks delivered to local schools 
  • Planted a mile long First World War Centenary Memorial Avenue from Newstead to Melrose
  • Organised and executed a series of river cleans including the 7Towns1River Tweed clean involving 196 local people from Peebles to Berwick
  • Made our school the first primary/junior school in Scotland to be a Plastic Free School as accredited by marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage
  • Worked with our local community to make our local town of Melrose the South’s first Plastic Free Community
  • Introduced a new subject, Environmental Studies to make ecological issues an integral part of our academic curriculum
  • Pupils wrote to MPs, MSPs, local and national businesses on a range of environmental issues
  • Staff assisting Scottish Borders Council with the formulation and roll-out of a waste reduction education strategy
  • Set up a camera trap loan scheme with three trailcams loaned to local families to record the area’s unseen wildlife


We feel that the above programme of projects clearly demonstrate St. Mary’s School, Melrose’s efforts to make a demonstrable difference to both our local community and the wider region. In addition to the Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free School and Plastic Free Community accreditation we have won a number of national awards including the Forestry Commission & Woodland Trust’s Scotland Finest Woods Award and TOTAL’s Better Energy Schools Award as well as the RSPB’s Wild Challenge Gold Award and Woodland Trust’s Green Tree Schools Gold Award.

We aim to build on our success by expanding existing projects like #1918oaks (10 schools/c4,000 trees planned), birdboxes (200 projected for 2019/2020), 7Towns1River (to be expanded to whole Tweed system plus main flow of River Tay), Plastic Free Communities (project started to make two more villages plastic free by 2020) and the camera trap loan scheme (to involve and include other local schools).

The Green Tweed Eco scheme is ambitious but we believe that we have shown that, by using readily available recycled or repurposed materials, you can make a real and measurable environmental difference on a local and regional scale at negligible financial cost.

We cannot wait to see where this exciting programme of projects will take us next.