Messages of climate change drawn by youngsters in County Durham will be proudly displayed at two popular parks to encourage visitors to think about the environment.

To celebrate World Environment Day on Saturday, 5 June, Durham County Council’s director for neighbourhoods and climate change Alan Patrickson joined pupils from Neville’s Cross Primary school to reveal the winners of last year’s The Big Draw competition.

In the world’s largest celebration of drawing, the teams at Hardwick and Wharton Park asked young visitors to draw and submit a design to raise awareness of climate change, with the winning design to be turned into a flag and displayed at the parks.

However, park staff were so impressed by all of the submissions they simply couldn’t pick a winner, and a montage banner including all the images has been created to display at both parks.

Neville’s Cross pupils Zack Smith, 11, Martha Manning, 10, Toby Horton, 11, and Hazel Dixon, 11, met with Alan at Hardwick Park in Sedgefield to see if they could spot their creations as the new design was unveiled.

Alan said: “It’s fantastic to see all of the amazing designs combined into one banner which highlights the impact of climate change.

“This is such a vital issue and something we take very seriously as we work towards our pledge to reduce carbon emissions from our operations by 80 per cent by 2030, and make the county carbon neutral by 2050.

“It’s wonderful to see the younger generation with so much awareness of how important an issue climate change is. Their creations will help to spread the message and encourage visitors to think more about protecting the environment.”

Following the theme of ‘ecosystems restoration’ this World Environment Day, the council is celebrating its partnership with North Pennines AONB. This partnership work aims to conserve and enhance the internationally important peatland resource within the North Pennines and to promote peatland conservation at local, national, and international levels.

Saturday 5 June is also International Trails Day and the council’s Seascapes and Heritage Coast teams will be encouraging people to explore the 33-mile section of the England coastal path that runs from Seaham to Peterlee.

It is also the 20-year anniversary of Durham’s Heritage Coast, defined in 2001 to mark the transformation of the Durham Coast shoreline and included the restoration of its magnesian limestone grasslands, denes, cliffs and stacks along the coastline.

This area is now a much-loved visitor attraction that welcomes thousands of people and is an area of national and international conservation importance.