AN enthusiastic group of youngsters won over the judges in a competition aimed at making schools more environmentally aware.

Stephenson Way Primary School, in Newton Aycliffe, won the competition, which had been organised by local manufacturer 3M alongside projects to protect and enhance the environment for native wildlife.

The school has its own environmental group, the Busy Bees, led by teacher Lorraine Dando.

Its members have been instrumental in designing and managing a new flower garden at the school, as well as a wildlife garden created in the grounds two years ago.

Martyn Harvey, of 3M's environmental panel, which judged the competition, said: "We were really impressed with the thought and effort that had gone into their projects and the way that the pupils were so proud and enthusiastic about the results."

Mrs Dando said: "The children were delighted to have won the competition.

"They have put a lot of hard work into the garden projects and at the same time have really embraced the necessity for looking after our environment through recycling and other schemes."

Their prize is a trip to Nature's World, near Middlesborough.