A sustainable lifestyle

IH Rouen French in Normandy School Director Eleri Maitland is a great example of a living a sustainable lifestyle.

‘I am a total country girl; I use my own water from a spring, and I grow food in my garden. Any organic food waste is composted and re-used to grow crops next year. I choose an electricity supplier which pledges electricity generation from renewable sources, and I have a heat pump to heat my house.’

The environmental credentials of IH Rouen are very high. They were the first IH school to be awarded the IH Sustainability badge , and have always engaged their students in local community projects.

A recent example has been to involve students in walking around the Rouen countryside to learn about mushrooms, with of course a reward at the end as you can see. For students learning the French language and the culture of France it was a gorgeous way to spend a Sunday morning, with the added reward of a big pile of black Trumpet mushrooms which were transformed into a delicious soup.

Two students from the school also got involved in a community project to clear a walking and bridle path. This had become blocked with fallen twigs and branches after a recent storm and it was blighted with litter. Over two weekends the wood was collected and the litter cleared, making sure that a whole section of the path can now be enjoyed again by walkers and horse riders alike.

Living a sustainable lifestyle like this, and giving back to the community, also has its own rewards. The cleared wood can be used as firewood, collected pine cones are chemical free firelighters, and the chestnuts collected were roasted on a fire as a delicious treat after.

What better way to learn French, gain an insight into a rural French way of life, and start to appreciate how to live a sustainable life.

This activity was inspired by the IHWO’s 40,000 km walk challenge, where IH schools have raised awareness in their local communities and beyond to show how important it is to help protect our planet. The IH network are walking a combined 40,000 km to give our precious planet a metaphorical hug, and additional activities like these of IH Rouen are all hugely valuable in raising awareness.

Eleri says

“Thank you to IH for devising this 40k project which has given us the extra idea for community service which we will be bringing to the events we offer for the whole school in Rouen!”