South West College (SWC) is delighted to announce the launch of its outdoor biodiversity learning environment at its Erne campus Enniskillen, made possible by a generous £10,000 grant from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). The landmark project will serve as a platform to promote sustainability, educate about the natural world, and highlight the significant role chemistry plays in shaping our daily lives.

The unveiling of the outdoor facility marks a significant milestone for SWC and has already benefited students, as well as school groups across Fermanagh and the border regions. By offering an interactive and engaging learning environment, SWC aims to empower the next generation with a strong foundational knowledge of sustainability and the environment.

The grant enabled SWC to run free workshops and develop a wildflower area and biodiversity garden. Primary schools, as well as community groups such as Action Mental Health and the Men Shed in Enniskillen, were actively involved in this community-based project.

The workshops were held alongside a hands-on biodiversity project, allowing participants to engage in practical investigations using the resources of the Gardens. Each workshop focused on key areas of chemistry and connect them directly to sustainability and biodiversity. The workshops were open to local schools, college students, and community groups interested in understanding the role of chemistry in our daily lives and the environment.

Each workshop emphasizes the significance of combating climate change, promoting biodiversity, and prioritizing sustainability. Topics covered will include water conservation, hydroponics, pollinators and plants, energy conservation, and sustainable horticulture and agriculture.

The Sustainability Workshops and Gardens aims to create a lasting impact by educating participants about the importance of sustainability and chemical activities in our natural world. After its establishment, the project plans to host annual events and demonstrate principles that can be adopted and replicated in participants' communities and schools, thereby promoting sustainability on a larger scale.

Supriya Foster, Sustainability Officer at SWC, expressed her gratitude for the grant from the Royal Society for Chemistry and emphasized its significant impact on the project. She stated,

"Working together with the RSC and receiving this grant has allowed us to plant seeds for a sustainable tomorrow. The biodiversity garden and wildflower patch stand as a living testament to our commitment to conserving precious ecosystems.

“The funded workshops empower our communities with knowledge and foster a deeper understanding of the crucial interplay between sustainability, conservation, and biodiversity.

“Through these educational platforms, we were given the opportunity to work closer with our local communities, sparking conversations about the dire importance of safeguarding biodiversity. SWC hopes to continue sowing the seeds of change, cultivating a greener, more harmonious future for all, one step closer to achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

“We would like to thank The Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund, who was instrumental in supporting this project.”

The Outreach fund aims to bring different people and organizations together, spark meaningful partnerships, inspire new ways of working, and encourage dialogue about the importance and role of chemistry in improving the world. They prioritize projects that engage under-served and under-represented audiences, including those with disabilities and facing social, economic, and educational disadvantages.

For more information about sustainability at South West College, or to get involved please contact