MAGGOT munching, building a wilderness shelter and water-bearing were among a host of activities completed by eco-students to secure a national award.
Pupils at West Park Academy have been recognised for their efforts in the world of ecology with the Total Green Schools Award.
And they plan to spend the £500 prize-money making their Darlington school even greener with the provision of plants for the newly created sensory garden.
More than 60 year four pupils spent six weeks researching the lives of the Afar people, who live in the Danakil Desert, Ethiopia, where daily temperatures soar to more than 48 degrees Celsius.
They examined plants and wildlife, including cactus and camels, water usage and fair trade, before putting together a portfolio of their findings, including trying to carry water in a bucket around the school fields, recreating the distance Afar children must travel for a drink.
They also spent a day in Brancepeth Woods building shelters, learning survival crafts and cooking outdoors, with maggots and river fleas on the menu.
Teacher Sarah Savage said: “The pupils were really up for it and loved the project. They thoroughly deserve the recognition they have received as their portfolio was incredibly well researched and presented.
“We are all looking forward to the next stage, enjoying the sensory garden, which will be a very useful asset to the school.”