Food: New Theme in Eco-Schools!

In the last three years, 513 Eco-Schools have engaged in shaping food consumption in a more just and sustainable way and thus have contributed to solving the global challenges of our time.  

Altogether 539,000 students were involved in actions around responsible food consumption such as planting vegetables, creating seed banks or campaigning for alternatives to palm oil.  Of these, 112,189 have directly organised events about how to stop food waste, eat less meat, find local and seasonal food, and promote farmers who produce it.  All this contributes to solving global problems of biodiversity loss, climate change, deforestation, pollution of water, soil and air, unequal share of global resources, and poverty.

The We Eat Responsibly project ran in 9 EU countries from 2015-2018.  We Eat Responsibly trained 3,012 teachers in the global dimension of responsible food consumption and 27,696 of their colleagues took part in organising project-related events. The project actively involved 76,000 parents conducting reviews of food consumption habits in 42,212 households. And 114,926 parents took part in some of the project events.

The enthusiasm of all and the impressive project results led to a proposal by the project consortium to include the Theme of Food into the  Eco-School Themes. This initiative was presented at the Eco-Schools NOM in Paris and FOOD as a new Theme within Eco-Schools International was accepted.
 

Icon FOOD theme Nr 12.png

Positive Actions in the Future of Education at the Eco-Schools NOM 2017

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Nicole Andreou, nicole@fee.global

 

Copenhagen, 7 November 2017 - Next week the Eco-Schools International team will be on their way to the annual Eco-Schools National Operator Meeting (NOM), this year taking place in Paris, France. Sessions, workshops and activities will revolve around the theme: Positive Actions in the Future of Education. The NOM will be taking place 17-19 November, and Eco-Schools project workshops are scheduled to take place on 20 November. Eco-Schools is one of five programmes run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

Eco-Schools National Operators from over 60 countries will be participating in the meeting to discuss, exchange experiences, participate in professional development sessions and make their contributions to the development of the Eco-Schools programme. The agenda focuses on the Themes of Health & Wellbeing and Marine & Coast, plus the Sustainable Development Goals and their connection to the programme. It includes professional development sessions on Transformative Education, Project-Based Learning and Fundraising; and provides space for group work on Green Flag Benchmarking, Eco-Schools Twinning, Natural Disasters, planning for the Eco-Schools 25th Anniversary in 2019 and FEE EcoCampus.

As part of the official programme, Eco-Schools International will welcome Jérémie Petit of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Marchand-Maillet of MGEN, Bernard Combes from UNESCO, Mari Nishimura from UNEP, Maëlle Montier from World Ocean Network, and French Eco-Schools representatives.

Attendees will have the chance to hear about programme developments by Thierry Lerévérend, CEO of NOM 2017 host organisation, Teragir, Laura Hickey of the National Wildlife Federation and FEE Board of Directors, Daniel Schaffer, FEE CEO, Bríd Conneely, International Eco-Schools Director, and many of the National Operators from across the globe.

Bríd Conneely says: “We are so excited to be going to Paris for the meeting. It is the first time France is hosting the Eco-Schools National Operator Meeting and it is also the largest meeting ever with over 100 delegates. It is a huge plus to have so many organisations from civil society in Paris discussing the SDGs and the communities that make them relevant.”

In the evening of 18 November, the Paris City Hall will be hosting a Green Flag Ceremony. Six French schools will be awarded the Green Flag by representatives of Teragir’s most prominent institutional and corporate partners: the Paris City Hall, the Ministries of Education, Sustainable Development, and Foreign Affairs, MGEN, and CITEO.

Follow Eco-Schools International on social media and stay tuned.

Press Release PDF.

 

#ESParis2017 #EcoSchools #EcoEcole

@EcoSchoolsInt @Eco_Ecole

 

TWITTER

Zero Waste Initiative: The British School Kathmandu and Cleanup Nepal

  • By Jenny Pinder, Eco-Schools Coordinator at the British School of Kathmandu

The British School Kathmandu has been supporting Cleanup Nepal to develop the Zero Waste at Schools Initiative. The idea is that a private school pays for a waste lesson, staff training, and a waste audit and a government school receives reciprocal training for free.


Up to now, recycling in Nepal has been very challenging, with poverty leading to waste dumping, and burning leading to poisonous leachate, fumes, dangers to animals, and visual and water pollution. Cleanup Nepal is working to try to re-educate the community by making them more aware of their impact and how they can improve their environment.


By teaching them how and what they can reduce, reuse and recycle hopefully we will see a huge improvement to the environment of Nepal.

Article published: Waste-Water-Watts (W³) - An Eco-Schools Green STEM, Project-based Learning Initiative

This month Eco-Schools International submitted an article to The Learning Teacher Magazine, presenting the Eco-Schools programme and the Alcoa Waste-Water-Watts (W³) project. Eco-Schools International will also be presenting a poster at The Learning Teacher Network Conference in Aarhus, Denmark on 21-23 September 2017.

Find the article here, on p.15.

W3 project picture.jpg

When Plastic Bottles Meet Fun

Story provided by WWF Thailand

This innovative idea came from the Wat Bangnanai School, Bangkok, Thailand. The Eco Committee wanted to solve their problem of waste separation by having a general bin and a recycle bin in the school area. However, the students still continued to mix their garbage.

One day, the school basketball team won the Thailand Regional Championship. This inspired a lot of the other students to want to become basketball stars. They started practicing by trying to dunk their plastic bottles like they were basketballs. The Eco Committee took that idea and created a special bin called ‘Shoot for Change’. This bin is more than two meters high with a painted backboard and basketball hoop at the top. Now the students can have fun throwing plastic bottles in the bin.  Moreover, they are now separating the bottles correctly at the same time. Because of its height, the other type of waste, especially general waste because of its lightness, cannot be thrown inside the bin.

This ‘Shoot for Change’ bin has gained a lot of interest throughout the whole school and reduced mixed garbage by more than 50% within one month. Soon, they will have a bottle shooting competition in the school as well.

'We Eat Responsibly' bringing Eco-Schools together

We Eat Responsibly project is a pan-European project built on a vision. In a world that is facing major global challenges, we ask what kind of learning do we need to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and values relevant for a sustainable future.

The We Eat Responsibly project started in February 2015  and will end in January 2018. It was built as an explorative project bringing together a long established Eco-Schools network (that has been operating for over 25 years) and an experimental innovative methodology with a systemic global scope of thinking.

Taking into account that as humanity we already live beyond the planetary boundaries and in the near future our planet will need to feed 10 billion people, we believe that reflection on our lifestyle and its impacts on the people and ecosystems of the world is a crucial step towards a future that can work for everyone.

We focused on work with a global dimension of responsible food consumption and sustainable food systems. The problematic management of global food systems nowadays is a root cause of key global challenges. Hunger, poverty and human rights violations, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, exploitation and pollution of natural resources altogether stem from the way our food is produced, shipped and consumed. These problems stand behind many social and political conflicts and contribute to climate change in a major way.

Our project enables children, pupils, students, teachers and members of local communities to explore the context of food production and empowers them to look for responsible changes that are achievable in their local context.

In 2017, after two years of implementation of the project, We Eat Responsibly has succeeded in involving 494 unique schools, training 2,950 teachers and involving more than 262,300 pupils and students in 9 project countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia).

There are all kinds of schools involved in the project – secondary, elementary schools and even kindergartens.

Responsible food consumption has proved to be an important and comprehensible topic for public actors such as municipalities, local governments etc. For example, thanks to students and teachers in Burgas, Bulgaria, who were involved in the We Eat Responsibly project in 2016, the local municipality of Burgas launched a campaign together with a  funding scheme: Eat responsibly, live healthy for addressing responsible food consumption in all the schools and kindergartens in Burgas.

The potential to influence public policy by the We Eat Responsibly project stems mainly from the public actions that are usually lead by local youth involving the whole community. We trust that the changes happening around schools, and the deeper understanding of global interconnectedness by students and teachers creates a greater confidence in the actors involved that change is possible and that this is at the core of public policy changes.

Website:  https://www.eatresponsibly.eu

Facebook international: https://www.facebook.com/weeatresponsibly/

 

We Eat Responsibly project is created with support from the European Union.

werlogo.png

PRESS RELEASE: Litter Less Campaign Phase III

The Litter Less Campaign - Six years and still going strong

Litter_Less_logo.jpg

Contact: Gosia Luszczek, International YRE Director
Foundation for Environmental Education
E: gosia@fee.global

September 2017 marks the beginning of Phase III (year 7) of the Litter Less Campaign, a joint initiative of the Wrigley Company Foundation and the Foundation for Environmental Education. The Campaign aims to engage and educate children and young people on the issue of litter and encourage them to make positive choices.

Two phases have been completed over the past six years, and the continued collaboration confirms the importance of the work and the on-going necessity of dealing with issues of litter and encouraging thoughtful behaviour from early on.

The main objectives of the Campaign are to:

  • raise awareness of the effect of litter and waste on the local environment
  • increase knowledge and practical skills in preventing and managing litter and waste
  • improve students’ behaviour and the schools’ waste management treatment
  • report on litter issues
  • encourage collaboration between schools for spreading good practices
  • tackle the issue of litter with active involvement from the local community

The partnership between the Wrigley Company Foundation and FEE already has a history of over six years of very effective collaboration. Phase II of the Litter Less Campaign began in 2014 and since then has been running in 35 countries in schools which engage in two of the FEE programmes - Eco-Schools (ES) and Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE). Over the full period of implementation of the Campaign, since 2011, 1,962,285 students in 3,184 schools from all over the world have been engaged. Such reach suggests that there is undoubtedly an impact on participants’ perceptions, behaviour and opinion leadership. In 2015-2016, a total of 1,356 Community Action Days were held and 240 schools introduced recycling systems.

For a short video about the achievements of the Litter Less Campaign Phase I and II, click here.

The Litter Less Campaign is our organisation’s largest project that embeds a positive and fruitful partnership between the Wrigley Company Foundation as the enabler, and FEE, its members, National Operators and participating schools as the implementers. This strong relationship allows for transparency and flexibility, which is ultimately what ensures the delivery of a fantastic Campaign.

Anne Vela-Wagner, Wrigley Company Foundation Executive Director, notes:
The Wrigley Company Foundation is proud of the positive transformation that has occurred in schools and communities around the world through the Litter Less campaign. Teaching students to be leaders and work to change littering behaviour and improve their communities is the strength of the program”.

The new Phase III will engage schools from 15 countries from both the YRE and Eco-Schools programmes. At the end of the project, we plan to have over half a million of students involved in practical activities related to litter prevention. Our target is to change students’ behaviour and increase understanding and action around litter prevention by an additional 10% of the students we serve.

Daniel Schaffer, CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education, adds:
“The Litter Less Campaign is a textbook example of how positive collaboration between the corporate world and a respected NGO can realise a shared vision. We highly appreciate the long-term partnership with the Wrigley Company Foundation and we are extremely grateful for the possibility of moving the Litter Less Campaign into Phase III. Their strong commitment and support cannot be taken for granted.”

Participating through the Young Reporters for the Environment Programme:

  • Australia
  • China 
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Malta 
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Ireland
  • Spain
  • Wales

 

Participating through the Eco-Schools Programme:

  • Australia
  • China
  • England
  • India 
  • Ireland 
  • Kenya
  • Mexico 
  • Northern Ireland
  • Russia
  • Scotland
  • Spain 
  • Wales

About the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)

With members in 76 countries around the world, FEE’s programmes represent the cutting edge in Education for Sustainable Development and Environmental Education. It is the vision of the Foundation for Environmental Education that its programmes empower people everywhere to live sustainably and in an environmentally conscious manner.

About the Wrigley Company Foundation

The Wrigley Company Foundation has awarded more than $70 million USD since its establishment in 1987. With a focus on oral health, the environment, particularly education for litter prevention, and improving Wrigley’s site and sourcing communities, it works to build brighter futures around the world.

About Wrigley

Wrigley is a recognized leader in confections with a wide range of product offerings including gum, mints, hard and chewy candies, and lollipops. Wrigley's world-famous brands – including Extra®, Orbit®, Doublemint®, and 5™ chewing gums, as well as confectionery brands Skittles®, Starburst®, Altoids® and Life Savers® – create simple pleasures for consumers every day. With operations across 50 countries and distribution in more than 180 countries, Wrigley's brands bring smiles to faces around the globe. The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, employs approximately 15,000 associates globally, and operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated.
 
Mars is a family-owned business with more than a century of history making diverse products and offering services for people and the pets people love. With almost $35 billion in sales, the company is a global business that produces some of the world’s best-loved brands: M&M’s®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, MILKY WAY®, DOVE®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, EXTRA®, ORBIT®, 5™, SKITTLES®, UNCLE BEN’S®, MARS DRINKS and COCOAVIA®. Mars also provides veterinary health services that include BANFIELD® Pet Hospitals. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars operates in more than 80 countries. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire its more than 85,000 Associates to create value for all its partners and deliver growth they are proud of every day.

Eco-Schools and the Sustainable Development Goals

On 25-27 September 2015, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Heads of
State, Government and High Representatives agreed upon the 17 Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) for 2015-2030.

They nominated 2015 as a landmark year for sustainability, as the transformative agenda for
people-centred targets for the coming years is set to face contemporary global challenges.
The economic, social and environmental dimensions of the SDGs seek to address poverty,
hunger, disease, fear and violence, education, healthcare, social protection, sanitation, safety,
sustainable habitats and energy.

This document constitutes Eco-School’s engagement in and contribution to the Sustainable
Development Goals.

 Click to download it here.

Eco-Schools Best Practice Report in Uganda, Tanzania & Malawi

This easily read report details best practices from the Eco-Schools programme in Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi to advocate for robust and effective government engagement and the institutionalisation of Eco-Schools methods. It also illustrates how resources have been mobilised, and shows the replication of the Eco-Schools approach in the region. The three partner countries began implementation at different times: Uganda in 2006, Malawi in 2008 and Tanzania in 2010.

Read the full Best Practice Report

Eco-Schools Northern Ireland reach landmark 1000th Green Flag in record breaking year

Press Release by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Northern Ireland schools continue to excel in the international Eco-Schools programme, achieving a record number of Green Flag awards for the 6th consecutive year and awarding their 1000th Green Flag.

Eco-Schools is the world's leading environmental education programme. It is a pupil-led initiative with the aim to make environmental awareness and practical action an intrinsic part of school life.

Eco-Schools is operated by environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, which is dedicated to inspiring everyone to help make Northern Ireland a cleaner, greener and healthier place in which to live. The programme which has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

This year marked a landmark moment when Walker Memorial Primary School, Dungannon, received their first Green Flag and Northern Ireland’s 1000th Green Flag.

Diane Lockhart, Eco-Coordinator at Walker Memorial Primary School said: “The children were totally delighted that we got the 1000th Green Flag. All pupils are very involved with the areas of the Eco-Committee’s action plan it has brought these areas of learning alive.  Pupils are highly motivated, inspired and focused to partake in lessons related to Eco-Schools.  The programme provides pupils with another avenue of learning, those who are more practical and creative thrive on being involved in identifying the needs of the school and sharing their ideas for future action.” 

Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful added: 

With support from the Department, Local Councils and many other partners, Eco-Schools is engaging our young people, who will be the next generation of business and political leaders, in developing eco-friendly behaviours that also help our economy. The programme is growing every year with more and more schools and young people making a real, tangible and positive impact on our environment through saving energy, reducing waste, picking up litter, travelling sustainably, providing biodiversity habitats and much more. Congratulations to Walker Memorial and all our schools who have achieved their Green Flag award; together we have reached this landmark 1000th Green Flag.’

 

This school year 149 schools achieved the prestigious, internationally recognised Green Flag award in recognition of the excellent progress they have been making in protecting the environment and moving towards a more sustainable future. The first Green Flag in the world was awarded to Downpatrick Nursery School in 1994. Since then the programme has consistently grown. There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of schools achieving the award for the 7th year in a row - increasing from 55 in 2010/11 to 97 in 2011/12; 103 in 2012/13; 114 in 2013/14; 128 in 2014/15; 136 in 2015/16 and now 149 in 2016/17.

Once registered on the programme schools work through a simple seven-step process resulting in the programme becoming central to the school's ethos. Schools can choose from ten eco-topics ranging from litter and waste to climate change, biodiversity, healthy living and transport to name a few. Schools renew their Green Flag every 2 years.

Eco-Schools is a free-to-enter programme that has real benefits for pupils, teachers and the school budget!  The programme is delivered to schools throughout Northern Ireland in partnership with a range delivery partners including DAERA and most Councils. To learn more please visit: www.eco-schoolsni.org.

 

- ENDS -

 

Photo Captions:

Photo 10: Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and Mid Ulster Council were delighted to visit Walker Memorial Primary School to celebrate their Eco-Schools success and award the 1000th Green Flag for Northern Ireland. Pictured back are L-R: Diane Lockhart, Eco-Coordinator Walker Memorial; John Murtagh, Environmental Project Officer Mid Ulster Council; Ruth Van Ry, Eco-Schools Coordinator Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. Pupils L-R: Sarah Hawe, Jake Sinnamon, Chloe Lewis, Katelyn Miller, Max Patterson, Jake Devlin and Jayden Williamson

Photo 8: Pupils from Walker Memorial Primary School, Dungannon, were delighted to be awarded their first Eco-Schools Green Flag which was the 1000th Green Flag awarded in Northern Ireland for outstanding environmental action. Pupils from the Eco-Committee pictured are back L-R: Jayden Williamson, Jake Sinnamon, Jake Devlin, Sarah Hawe, Chloe Lewis; front L-R: Katelyn Miller and Max Patterson.

 

Notes to Editors

Media enquiries to: Ruth Van Ry, Eco-Schools Coordinator, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.   

Tel: 028 9073 6920

Email: ruth.vanry@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

 

About Eco-Schools/Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

  • Eco-Schools is a programme for environmental management, certification and sustainable development education for schools. Eco-Schools was developed in 1994 on the basis of the need for involving young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges at the local level, as identified at the UN Conference on Environment and Development of 1992. The Programme was initiated by Member organisations of the Foundation for Environmental Education with the support of the European Commission.
  • In Northern Ireland, the Eco-Schools Programme is operated by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an environmental charity. The programme is supported by a wide range of partners.
  • Eco-Schools share the same methodology and concept across 64 participating countries and with over 17,500,000 participating students, and are identified by the Eco-Schools logo and Green Flag. The Eco-Schools Green Flag is a recognised and respected eco-label for environmental education and performance, and is awarded to schools meeting the international standard. Participating countries include, for example: Australia, Brazil, China, most of Europe, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, the USA and Zanzibar.
  •  Northern Ireland was the first country in the world to award a Green Flag to one of its schools. Visit www.eco-schoolsni.org for further information.
  • Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an anti-litter charity, is the province’s leading authority on litter issues, and provides a unique service to communities, businesses, councils and schools throughout Northern Ireland. 
  • Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful operates the Blue Flag for beaches and marinas, Seaside and Green Coast Awards, Young Reporters on the Environment, TIDY Business, The BIG Spring Clean, Adopt A Spot and Live Here Love Here as well as the Borough Cleanliness Survey, Northern Ireland Environmental Quality Forum, and the Eco-Schools Programme.

FEE Head Office visits Vienna International School for their first Green Flag assessment

On 8 June Nicole Andreou, International Eco-Schools Assistant and Green Flag Assessor, travelled to Vienna International School (VIS) for an onsite visit as part of the school's Green Flag application assessment. Vienna International School has been enrolled with Eco-Schools for International Schools since January 2016 and submitted a Green Flag application in May 2017.

After a preliminary assessment of the application by FEE Head Office staff, an onsite assessment took place to determine whether the school had fulfilled the programme's Performance Indicators and to witness firsthand the work done by the Eco Committee at VIS. The Eco-Schools Coordinators at VIS, Marti Hendrichs, Janet Gruber, Britta Hoernchen and Mady Peltier, organised a full day of activities, giving the Green Flag Assessor the chance to meet with all the core members of the Eco Committee and talk to students, staff and the school administrators.

During the morning hours, the Assessor accompanied a group of primary school students on an excursion to Bisamberg Forest to investigate arthropods and the local biodiversity. Upon returning to the school grounds, Nicole had a chance to talk to the very enthusiastic "Eco-Team" (Eco Committee) members of the Primary School about their involvement with the programme, the key actions implemented, side projects they have been running and their overall experience. The Secondary School team members presented their projects on Waste and Litter, Biodiversity & Nature, and discussed potential future plans.

The Assessor later joined a number of meetings with Andrew Warren (Catering Manager), Christine Lang (Primary School Principal), Magdalena Tsavkova (Secondary School Science Leader), Peter Metcalfe (Technology Department), Rob Reed (Early Learning Leader) and Elisabeth Stanners (Secondary School Principal). Discussions revolved around the Eco-Schools Themes and how they are addressed in the school's Action Plan, school procurement and links to the curriculum.

Finally, the Green Flag Assessor met with Peter Murphy (School Director), Benjamin Kuscher (Business Manager), Thomas Lammel (Development Officer), and Martha Ross (Primary School Deputy Principal). The constructive conversation about the implementation of the programme at VIS and the overall impression from the visit made it evident that the school administration is wholeheartedly involved with the Eco-Schools programme, not as an instructor, but rather as a facilitator of the students' ideas and environmental commitment. It is worth mentioning that all the people involved in these meetings are members of the Eco Committee.

The FEE Head Office would like to thank everyone at VIS who made this visit possible: the experience was truly invaluable in helping to gauge how the programme is being implemented on the ground. The assessment results will be announced shortly.

Special thanks to Marti Hendrichs, Janet Gruber and both the Primary and Secondary School members of the Eco-Team.

 

Learn more about Eco-Schools for International Schools, run by Eco-Schools International.

1 million children set to venture into the great outdoors

Teachers worldwide unite to reconnect students with the world beyond walls

Press Release by Project Dirt on Outdoor Classroom Day

Monday 15 May 2017: Over 1 million children in more than 8,000 schools around the world will step outside on Thursday 18 May and embrace the great outdoors, setting a new record for the Outdoor Classroom Day campaign. In the UK alone there are well over 400,000 children getting involved from Penzance to Shetland!

Project Dirt, the NGO that is leading the campaign globally, says it will be the highest number of youngsters ever to get outdoors on the day as part of a concerted global effort to make outdoor learning and play a cornerstone of every child’s day, and represents a new chapter in thousands of schools around the world.

The UK is the front-runner of the campaign and leading the way with nearly half a million children in over 3,000 schools signed up and ready to take part. From den-building and bioblitzing, to practising maths with stones and reading under trees, the day will see teachers take at least one class outdoors and help children embrace their nearby natural environments.

The last 30 years has seen a dramatic and steady decline in the amount of time children spend outdoors. A Public Health England study found that 50 percent of around 1.5 billion visits to parks and green spaces in England in 2015 involved a walk with a dog, but only nine percent of those were with a child. It also found that 12% of children (c 1.3 million) had never visited the natural environment in the previous 12 month period.1

The campaign is highlighting that not only does time outdoors improve children's health, wellbeing and happiness, it also gives them a strong connection to the natural world; a connection that is crucial if the next generation are to be the future guardians of our planet.

Richard Louv, the acclaimed author of The Nature Principle, invites us in a recent essay to imagine a world “where every school has a natural space where children experience the joy of learning through play once again. Where teachers are encouraged to take their students on field trips to the nearby woods and canyons and streams and shores. Where educators feel their own sense of hope and excitement returning to their profession and to their own hearts.”2

Nick Gardner, CEO and co-founder of of Project Dirt, and an environmental campaigner for over two decades, is worried. “Children will only grow up to protect the environment if they love it. They will only love it if they go outdoors regularly. That’s one key objective for Outdoor Classroom Day, to inspire schools worldwide to join together to make the outdoors part of every day!”

He added: “There’s still time to join the movement. Teachers, parents and anyone who cares about childhood and the future of our planet, can register their class to go outdoors on Thursday.”

To sign up, visit www.outdoorclassroomday.com

The campaign is led globally by Project Dirt and supported by Unilever’s Dirt is Good brands.

 

Ends

 

For more information, images or to request interviews please contact Olivia Pullman:

E: olivia@outdoorclassroomday.com M: 07792 919 314

 

References

1.    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498944/mene-childrens-report-years-1-2.pdf

2.    http://www.childrenandnature.org/2017/05/03/imagine-a-newer-world/

 

 

Notes to editors

About Outdoor Classroom Day

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. It is encouraging schools worldwide to make outdoor learning and play part of every day.

In 2017, there are three key campaign dates: on May 18, 2017, the focus is on Europe, the USA, Canada and South America. On the day, thousands of schools will take lessons outside and prioritise playtime.

About Project Dirt

Project Dirt aims to resource thousands of grassroots community projects, and to capture and share the stories of those achievements. Its online platform enables successful relationships to be formed between the business and community sectors.  Project Dirt's mission is to create a vibrant and active online community where individuals, communities, companies and local authorities can share knowledge, advice, best practice and access resources.

About Dirt is Good

Dirt is Good (DiG) is the campaign supported by Unilever’s leading detergent brands including OMO, Persil, Skip and Via, sold in over 78 markets. We believe that by getting dirty, children develop, learn and grow through rich memory-making experiences. These experiences often come in the form of ‘real play’: play that is free, exploratory and sometimes messy, allowing children to enjoy the present and thrive in the future. Our vision is to create a play-friendly world so that all children everywhere can experience play every day.

A Twinning School Visit in Italy

Georges Brassens School in France visited Canale Monterano Secondary School in Italy as part of the Eco-Schools International Twinning project between Italy and France. A delegation of more than 40 French students visited the Italian school and shared their experiences throughout the morning. The Italian school additionally organised an international Eco Committee meeting with the aim of proposing a common Eco Code for the two schools.

Three Eco-Schools Themes were worked on in three different workshops: Waste, Water, and Energy, as endorsed by the Alcoa W3 (Waste-Water-Watts) international project, which the Italian school (one of seven schools in Italy) is involved in during this academic year. In the afternoon the Italian and French students visited the Natural Park of Monterano, a very interesting area close to the school where history, nature and culture combine to show the power of this amazing place near Rome. 

The Butterfly House, by Carin Moffatt and Cathy Dzerefos

By Carin Moffatt and Cathy Dzerefos, WESSA

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you”. Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Grade 1’s of Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng embarked on an ambitious project to create a Butterfly House that would sustain a breeding colony of Swallow Tail Butterflies. The school is in Phokeng, North West Province which is within Swallow Tail’s breeding zone. Our main aim was to build a Butterfly House in which we could observe the four stages of the butterfly’s life cycle from egg, caterpillar, pupa and finally butterfly.

When we started, some children did not know the difference between an earthworm and a caterpillar. We learnt that each butterfly species has a specific plant onto which their eggs are laid so the hatched caterpillar can start to eat straight away. The wrong plants will either stop the butterfly from laying eggs or the caterpillars will hatch and then die because they do not have the correct food to eat. As a WESSA Eco-School we also need to educate our whole school and community on the importance of butterflies and how they are needed to pollinate flowers to make fruit! These were the steps taken to make our Butterfly House:

  • We built a metal structure that was big enough to fit all the host plants the butterflies would need. A pathway and bench were important so that we could enter and observe the butterflies closely. We used shade cloth for the walls to filter the sunlight, protect from wind and rain but also to allow us to peek in as we walked past.
  • We planted host plants for the caterpillars to munch, and a variety of flowers for the butterflies to feed on nectar, using their long proboscis or straw-like tongue! Butterflies will feed on any flowers, but they prefer small flowers.
  • Set up a feed station for the butterflies. This consists of a small shallow dish about the size of a side plate filled with 1 tablespoon of honey dissolved in ½ cup of warm water. Place a small sponge in the middle of the dish. The sponge will soak up the mixture and the butterflies can use their proboscis to suck the honey water. Butterflies also love citrus, so cut an orange in half and put that out for them as an extra treat.
  • Place a shallow bowl with fresh clean water nearby.
  • Put together an information board to educate passersby.  Use fun facts about why not to touch the caterpillars, you could squish them and they could die plus they secrete a pheromone that makes your fingers very stinky!
  • Our caterpillars came from an existing breeder. We want to conserve butterflies and did not want to capture them from the wild.

After waiting and watching we could see that our caterpillars grew, and grew and GREW until they turned into pupas. It was great fun to watch them getting bigger and changing colours each week. Every day we checked to see if a pupa had hatched until finally with great excitement our first butterfly emerged and high school learners were coming to have a look. This was followed by many more butterflies and we even witnessed a mating pair and eggs being laid. A few weeks later we were back to watching tiny caterpillars munching away and the whole cycle began again!

Keep Britain Tidy welcomes country’s first-ever Litter Strategy

Story provided by Keep Britain Tidy, www.keepbritaintidy.org

Government backs Eco-Schools programme to educate the next generation

We have welcomed the launch of the Government’s Litter Strategy for England, published today.

The Strategy identifies Eco-Schools, the world’s biggest environmental education programme, which is run by Keep Britain Tidy in England, as a key mechanism to educate children and young people about the impact of litter.

Eco-Schools has already received support from the Prime Minister who has visited two in her constituency since September last year.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Educating the next generation is vital if we are to win the war on litter. Our children and young people are the key to making littering a thing of the past.

“Learning about litter and its impacts, as part of their wider environmental education, must be a central pillar of the concerted effort needed to tackle the problem once and for all.”

Last month more than 300,000 people, including thousands of school children, took part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, clearing more than half a million bags of rubbish from our streets, parks, beaches and countryside.

The Government has recognised the value of this initiative in the Strategy, not simply to remove litter from the environment but also to raise awareness that a growing number of people want to see an end to littering and are prepared to take action.

Allison said: “We are delighted that the Government has pledged its continued support and endorsement of the Great British Spring Clean and to use its influence to encourage participation and support from people and businesses.”

The Government’s decision to set up a working group to look at how economic measures could help reduce littering is also a positive step, given the success of the 5p charge on single-use carrier bags.

Keep Britain Tidy runs awards programmes, including the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for beaches, the Green Flag Award for parks and the Keep Britain Tidy Award for public spaces and the Government identifies these as being central to creating litter-free environments in the Strategy and says it will encourage land managers to apply for these awards to ensure their efforts are recognised.

The charity also welcomes the Government’s pledge to introduce regulations that will allow local authorities to issue penalty charge notices to the registered keeper of a vehicle if litter is thrown from it, which will make it easier for local authorities to tackle the problem of roadside litter, which is difficult and costly to clear.

Keep Britain Tidy has been at the forefront of developing and testing innovations to tackle littering, some of which are identified in the Strategy, and we are delighted that the Government has pledged to set up a Litter Innovation Fund to support the development of affordable and scalable solutions that are proven to make a difference.

Allison added: “There is much to commend in this Strategy and we look forward to seeing some ambitious targets from the Government and effective monitoring to ensure that the Strategy makes the measurable difference we all want to see.

You can read the litter strategy in full here.

Over 440 Eco-Schools from 38 different countries twinned!

Thanks to the great work of our National Operator in England, Lee Wray-Davies, 440 Eco-Schools are now twinned and ready to work on collaborative projects. 

Twinning schools is an opportunity for Eco-Schools students to share experiences, and have fun in the meantime! Eco-Schools Coordinators are provided with the contact details of the twinned school, which they are responsible to reach out to. 

Once the initial contact is made, pupils can start writing letters/emails to each other, teachers can share lesson resources and activities, and they can all then develop a small project that can take place on the same day, or be organised in a similar manner.

By far the most common reason for Eco-Schools wanting to take part in the FEE International Eco-Schools Twinning Project is to raise pupils’ awareness of Global Citizenship. Using the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, students can decide which topics they would like to work on with their twinned Eco-School.
 

Eco-Schools in Bahamas "Engaging Young People to Reduce Plastic Pollution in Landfills & the Ocean"

Story provided by The Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF)

The Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF) and students of the Eco-Schools Bahamas programme with support from the Lyford Cay Foundation, are tackling a major problem that impacts oceans and shorelines around the world. Two hundred and fourteen students from six schools participating in BREEF’s Shopping Bag Challenge are keeping count of the number of plastic bags that their families get while shopping.

Although plastics are now part of everyday life, about one-third of the plastic we use is purposely designed to be disposable, and single-use plastics, like water bottles and plastic bags, are generally used only once before they are thrown away. Preliminary data shows that the students collected almost 12,000 plastic bags over a four-week period. The study group estimated that approximately 145,000 disposable plastic bags are used each month, by families at just these six schools alone!

“The data collected by participating schools on Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, and New Providence reveal that families average 60 bags per month. A substantial number, if we consider usage by the entire population of The Bahamas,” said Casuarina McKinney- Lambert, Executive Director, BREEF.

Plastic is forever. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists today. Unlike organic materials, which can be broken down naturally through the action of microbes, plastics, through a process known as photo degradation can only be reduced to micro plastics which remain in the environment. In The Bahamas, most of our plastics are discarded in landfills, where their bi-products can leak into the soil and water table, attract pests and can pose a health risk for communities. A significant quantity of plastic also ends up in the sea, impacting marine life through entanglement and being mistakenly consumed as food. Fish eating plastic in the ocean is a way in which harmful chemicals can enter the human diet.

Students are imploring the public to trade in their plastic bags for re-usable bags when shopping. BREEF’s newest re-usable bags feature the artwork of Shelby Sawyer with the slogan ‘Choose to Re-Use’ by Grace Swing. Both are grade 11 students of the Forest Heights Academy in Abaco, and winners of the BREEF Eco-Schools Design-A-Bag competition.

This semester, the project’s teams will continue to collect data, with a twist. “BREEF has given 5 re-usable shopping bags to each participating student. They will encourage their families to shop with the bags and collect data to determine how this impacts plastic bag use,” says McKinney-Lambert.

The Bahamas is an island nation, so our people depend on healthy oceans for food and to make a living. The plastic bag problem can be addressed and you can make a positive impact by choosing to re-use. For starters, how about taking a few re-usable bags with you whenever you shop?

The Eco-Schools programme is an international awards scheme which recognizes schools that make a commitment to continuously improve their environmental practice. The Bahamas programme is operated by BREEF, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, and includes a network of over 20 registered public and private schools. 

--------------------------------------------------------

To purchase re-usable shopping bag(s) please contact BREEF at 327-9000, or email us at breef@breef.org. You can show support to BREEF by becoming a volunteer, donating to our educational programmes or by participating in an upcoming BREEF event. For more information visit our website: www.breef.org, like us on Facebook: B.R.E.E.F., follow us on Instagram and Twitter: breef242 or subscribe to our YouTube Channel: bahamasreef.

Eco-Schools Northern Ireland visit Eco-Schools Kenya!

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Eco-Schools were delighted to take part in a field trip to Kenya organised by Trócaire last month.

Trócaire sponsor our Global Perspective topic in Northern Ireland. The trip visited many of the amazing projects which Trócaire deliver on the ground there – including waste collection, permaculture and water provision projects. We were really moved and inspired by what we saw. During the trip we were also pleased to have the opportunity to visit a Kenyan Eco-School, Samaj School in Nairobi, and meet the National Operators in Kenya, KOEE.

The pupils at Samaj School have been working on the Wrigley Litter Less project, putting in place a comprehensive recycling project, extra bins and making sure everyone uses them, reusing cartons into practical items such as desk tidies, and cleaning up their local creek. They are now in contact with Tempo Primary School in Enniskillen, who are also taking part in Wrigley Litter Less, to swap news and ideas about the Campaign.

Good luck to both schools we hope they enjoy contacting each other and have a successful Litter Less year.

Story provided by Ruth Van Ry, Eco-Schools National Operator in Northern Ireland.