Date: 16/03/2011

Students from the Dearne Valley are leading by example and urging local people to take just one small step to reduce their own carbon footprint and tackle climate change.

Dearne Valley College is hosting the first-ever International Eco Festival to be held in the area next week (Friday March 18), and students will join Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey in planting a tree to mark Climate Week and to launch the inspirational event.

A total of 30 new trees – birch, rowan and cherry – have been secured from the Woodland Trust and will be planted in the college grounds.

The festival, which is free to attend, is part of the plan to deliver the Dearne Valley Eco vision, which aims to ensure the area has the lowest carbon footprint of any comparable place within 10 years. It has been organised jointly by the Eco Vision project team, Dearne Valley College, community regeneration expert Keepmoat, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), Barnsley College and Delivering Design Quality, a project which helps developers and builders to deliver eco friendly housing schemes in South Yorkshire.

The event will enable visitors to learn more about “green living” through a series of exhibitions from local businesses, organisations and learning centres. By sharing and celebrating high profile examples of green communities from across Europe, event organisers hope that the festival will provide ideas and inspiration for the Dearne Valley of the future.

Everybody who attends the festival will be asked to make a pledge to do at least one thing to lower their carbon footprint as part of their personal commitment to halt man-made climate change.  This could include reducing car use and walking more; growing fruit and vegetables; turning the central heating down or improving home insulation.

Pledges can be made on the day or in advance, and will be displayed at the festival in a number of categories. Prizes – including a vegetable box, day passes to the nearby Old Moor Wetland Centre and B and Q vouchers – will be awarded in each category following judging by college students.

Pledge forms are available from RSPB Old Moor Wetland Centre and Dearne Valley College. Alternatively,pledges can be made online at

John Healey MP, who is also Chair of the Dearne Valley Special Board, said:

“I’m pleased to be part of the Dearne Valley’s first ever eco-festival. Like other events going on around the country during Climate Week, this event is aimed at showing everyone who wants to do their bit what they can do to help protect our planet and create a secure future.”

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