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Joining the team at PECT's Investors in the Environment

Category: Business

Date: 30.07.2015

Time: 11:19

Hello, my name is Serena and I’m the newest member of the business team here at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) – a Peterborough-based environmental charity that runs projects both locally and nationally.

I am working with the business team who run Investors in the Environment - an accreditation scheme for businesses who want to become more sustainable. I am here for the summer as I’m currently a student at the University of York studying Environmental Science.

I have really enjoyed my studies so far and feel that the surrounding environment is something everyone should take a keen interest in. Having looked in depth at the science behind climate change and the extent to which humanity has taken advantage of the planet I know that we all have shared responsibility to protect what we have and ensure future generations aren’t compromised.

This has led me to an aspiration to one day work within the environment sector. I was aware of Peterborough Environment City Trust’s work having lived in the city myself and so got in touch with Investors in the Environment to see if I could help out over the summer and gain some valuable work experience.

The team help businesses achieve green accreditation through reducing their resource consumption, such as water and electricity, and by introducing environmental management systems. I’m supporting the team on a day-to-day basis and my role includes updating the website, managing social media, updating databases and general admin.

Everyone has been very welcoming and they are a lovely team to be a part of. During my time here I am also hoping to carry out a bit of research for my dissertation, specifically looking at renewable energy opportunities for small businesses.

Outside of studying and work I am a keen rower and have recently competed at the prestigious Henley Women’s Regatta. I have also agreed to take part in a Lands End to John O’Groats bike ride this September so the days I’m not in the office are spent cycling around the Cambridgeshire countryside!

All in all I’ve really enjoyed my first couple of weeks here at PECT and looking forward to seeing what challenges and excitements the next few weeks bring!



Why I joined Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT)

Category: General

Date: 13.07.2015

Time: 17:28

By Anna Ruggiero, Marketing and Communications Intern. 

My decision to start volunteering with PECT stemmed from a lifetime of loving nature coupled with a desire to make some positive changes to my life.

Having spent too much time absorbing negative information from the media on the impending doom our planet is facing, I began to notice a real drop in my mood. I felt I was faced with two choices; either continue to grumble about the situation to anyone that would listen or to be proactive and do something positive.

Some people say ignorance is bliss but when it comes to the condition of our planet, I disagree completely. 

I contacted PECT and it seemed obvious (and perfect) that I would start working with Laura, PECT’s Marketing Manager, to help communicate the good stuff happening at PECT and also let people know ways in which they can help and be involved in community projects and take ownership of their local area. Combining my journalistic skills alongside my passion for nature seemed the obvious route to take.

So instead of feeling helpless and selfish about the current environmental issues, I now feel I am doing something positive, and taking some responsibility for the problems we face.

Much of our beloved plant and animal life is on the brink of extinction; we’re currently using resources at such a rate that we need three planets to support us. Did you know it takes three bottles worth of water to produce just one bottle of water? Many of us appear to be idly consuming our way through life without any real consideration of the effects our actions have on the planet, but this isn’t a blame game, it’s not our fault. The modern western way of life is not designed to make us question our way of life, we’re too busy for that! But we really should be looking at our actions when and where we can. Earth hasn’t allocated a space for all our rubbish, it’s not part of the universe’s grand design and it’s playing havoc with our eco-system.

It’s not always been this way and in many parts of the world indigenous people live alongside nature in a sustainable way. They take what they need and give back what they have taken. It’s simple logic, but sadly environmental issues sometimes seem to take a back seat in political debate, with the economy becoming the contender for the top spot of discussion. 

Small steps do lead to big changes and you don’t need to camp out in a tree to make a difference! Simple changes will all help. So if you can walk, walk! If it can be reused, reuse it! And if it can be recycled, recycle always! The one thing you can’t do is ignore the situation. Earth has given you life, now it’s time to give her a helping hand in return.



Organising the Peterborough Green Festival 2015

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 02.07.2015

Time: 14:08

I had the immense privilege of organising the PECT Green Festival this year. Over the past several months of planning, I have had unique opportunities to meet with some of the city’s many creative and innovative organisations with an eye towards showcasing their work and the people who are really making a difference in Peterborough.

The 2015 festival was bigger than ever and we had a huge amount of interest from new partners and old friends – it really seemed like everyone was up for getting involved in the festival this year, which certainly made my job easier!

The planning process for this type of event can be hectic, but I can honestly say that I have enjoyed some of the unexpected turns it has taken – some of which helped us to formulate new relationships and come up with unique ways of engaging with people who might not necessarily understand what it mean to be ‘green,’ because part of the event’s mission was creating awareness of the environmental issues facing our city.

I tried hard to come up with a single favourite or even a few favourites from the launch day but I really struggled to narrow it down! I loved the unique and beautiful Life Boat (created by the talented folks from the Institute of Crazy Dancing – their presence on the day was thanks to IKEA sponsorship) where people had a chance to climb in and forget about their troubles for a short spell, whilst relaxing to the gentle sway of the hammocks with St Johns Church in the background.

The Urban Street Art Space that we had running down King Street (and Cowgate) was the first time we’ve ever done something of its kind, and I loved seeing what was created there. Having fun with our sustainable transport theme, we had a quarter-pipe brought in and some graffiti boards were set up to bring in a lot of young people to involve them with the festival for the first time. It was a big success, with beatbox music and skateboard and BMX trials throughout the day. 

Of course, our multiple arts element really blew me away – from our artists’ projects to our folk and country bands, and our talented local dancers. The festival had a really great atmosphere and the variety of people, activities, and new spaces used really made it feel like a countryside festival in the middle of the city centre – our first ever Real Ale Tent helped with that too!

I can’t wait to see what new excitement next year’s festival brings.



8B2's Environmental Field Trip

Category: Education

Date: 01.07.2015

Time: 10:31

Mr Rai, from Ken Stimpson Community School, explains how students got involved with supporting PECT’s Forest for Peterborough project with a willow maze maintenance day.

12 year 8 students set off one Tuesday morning towards the East of England Showground. We arrived in good time and were welcomed to the site’s willow maze and nature conservation area. The students were eager to get exploring and split up into several groups to traverse the growing maze.

The group rejoined and after a short introduction quickly engaged in the site work. The maze fences and surrounding area had become dilapidated by natural causes. The group gathered small growing willow from areas thick within the maze and replanted it in areas around the maze. Students quickly began taking on different roles within the team – collecting willow, planting and rearranging parts of the maze. Every student became near-experts in using secateurs and deciding on which willow to use.

After a well-deserved group break under sunny skies, the group engaged again in the task, working together to collect further willow and then planting it to bolster the maze. The planting rate grew faster and faster, reaching 6 willow saplings per minute at one point thanks to the team effort!

In the last half hour the group then split, allowing for students to begin conducting samples of the area. They collected soil and microbe populations growing in certain areas. The results from this survey will be shared in the near future.

At the trip’s end students were allowed to enter the beekeepers site and explore the inner workings of a beehive. Students helped clear away any debris from the site and thanked all the staff.

Overall the day was a huge success, with thanks to the staff from Peterborough Environment City Trust alongside the school’s Science and Maths departments. The pupils had a fantastic experience contributing to the local environment and applying their knowledge in a challenging setting. All the students were a credit to the school and agreed they would like to revisit in 4 years’ time to see just how much their saplings had grown.