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.




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

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



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.

March is Water Month, time for action Water Explorers

Water Explorer encourages students aged 8-14 from 11 countries to take bold and powerful action to save our precious water through fun, interactive water saving Missions. (Schools are given grants. Our NOs are very pleased with this project.)

With over 2,000 teams, Water Explorer has had a huge impact over the last two years. Schools have managed to save an astonishing 1.7 million cubic meters of water – that’s enough to fill more than 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

It has been fantastic to see how many schools have made efforts around International Wetlands month and Frogs!

See www.waterexplorer.org for some great stories.

Via Water Explorer and WESSA, South Africa

Generation Z: Global Citizenship Survey

What the world’s young people think and feel is the biggest, most comprehensive up-to-date global survey of Generation Z – the teenagers and young adults who were born around the turn of the millennium.

Over 20,000 young people in 20 countries around the world were surveyed to create the first international comparative study of the attitudes of youth. The report draws on their attitudes, behaviours and experiences, in order to present a detailed overview of their wellbeing, hopes, and values. It looks like we are in good hands!

Download the report here

Via Varkey Foundation

Universities - 2017 ISCN Report: Educating for Sustainability

At the World Economic Forum, the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) in collaboration with the Global University Leader Forum (GULF) shared exemplary campus sustainability case studies provided by 30 of the world’s leading universities all focused on educating for sustainability.  

By including sustainable development in the strategic goals for all their activities, universities can create an environment that promotes holistic education of all students. To complement professional and disciplinary education, they can expose students to the practical problems that must be solved in order to achieve the SDGs. They can foster the acquisition of critical, systems-oriented thinking as well as the ability to communicate with various stakeholders within and outside academia.

View the press release and download the report.  Via ISCN

FEE visit to the Indian Ocean States

Our CEO, Daniel Schaffer, left our Head Office in Copenhagen a week ago on a mission: to visit our FEE members in the Indian Ocean States.

Thanks to the great collaboration between our organisation and the Indian Ocean Commission in the region, Daniel has completed a successful series of meetings with local representatives, talking about Eco-Schools and the other four FEE programmes.

Follow his blog here.

FEE's CEO at the Green-Campus Network Meeting

Following the end of the UN decade for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in 2014, UNESCO identified five focal areas to be the foundation for the Global Action Programme (GAP) that was put in place to follow the decade. One of these areas is Transforming Learning and Training Environments. This is also referred to as embedding the Whole Institutional Approach (WIA) towards ESD. The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) has taken an important part in defining WIA for the GAP based on its long experience with the Eco-Schools seven step methodology.

FEE EcoCampus is an international award programme that guides all third level institutions on their sustainable journey, providing a simple framework to help make sustainability an integral part of campus life. Like Eco-Schools, EcoCampus leads to transformative thinking and can help enhance the curriculum and get the whole institution united behind something important.

On 2 February 2017, Daniel Schaffer, CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education spoke at the Green-Campus Network Meeting in Dublin, Ireland. Watch below!

GreenMetric World University Rankings 2016 - FEE EcoCampuses at the top!

The UI GreenMetric World University Ranking is an initiative of Universitas Indonesia which was launched in 2010.

The aim of this ranking is to provide results on the current condition and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in universities all over the world. It is expected that by drawing the attention of university leaders and stakeholders, more attention will be given to combating global climate change, energy and water conservation, waste recycling, and green transportation.

In 2016, FEE EcoCampus Universities ranked close to the top of the list! Congratulations to University College Cork, Dublin City University and University of Limerick, Maynooth University, University College Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland, Universidade da Coruña, Vigo University in Spain, University of Maribor in Slovenia, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences in Latvia, and all the other universities for their efforts towards sustainable campuses! 

See the overall ranking here.

green metric rankings.PNG

A World in Common - Teaching Resource by the Danish Outdoor Council

Take our hand and come with us to Uganda, a country almost in the middle of Africa. Here we will experience how Climate Change affects the country and the people, who live there.

In August 2016, the Danish Outdoor Council launched the teaching resource “En verden til fælles” (in English: A World in Common). The resource focuses on children’s lives especially with regard to Climate Change, sustainability and democracy in Uganda and Denmark. 

The resource raises questions that will make the pupils reflect on their own lives as well: What does a child in Uganda do during a normal day? What is it like to go to school in Uganda? How do you get water in Uganda? How is your own life different from the life of a child in Uganda?

Besides supplying this resource, the Danish Outdoor Council also runs an information campaign for schools in which the pupils get a chance to produce campaign materials, which will be used in a national information campaign in Denmark. The Civil Society in Development, an independent association of 280+ small and medium-sized Danish Civil Society Organisations, finances the teaching resource and the information campaign.

The Danish Outdoor Council works with Eco-Schools in Uganda and Tanzania in cooperation with local environmental organisations which ensure that the local communities surrounding the schools develop sustainably.

The resource is mainly available in Danish, but here you can find the example available for the English class. 

Thick Jumper Day 17 February 2017: Participate and Keep the Polar Ice Cool!

In 2005, Milieuzorg Op School (MOS, Environmental Care at School) of the Department of Environment, Nature and Energy organised the first Warm Sweater Day in response to the Kyoto Protocol.

The protocol’s objective was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Since 2005, Warm Sweater Day has reminded us of the agreements made under this crucial treaty with a few simple activities: wear a warm sweater and turn down the heat, take your bike more often, eat locally grown food, reduce standby power and so on. On Warm Sweater Day, Flanders massively reduced CO2 emissions as well as raising the awareness of school-going children, businesses and the authorities.

Participate in the 2017 edition of the Thick Jumper Day:

Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School (Bangkok Prep) is awarded the Eco-Schools Green Flag!

This week Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School was awarded the Green Flag! The International School in Thailand has been implementing the 7-Step Eco-Schools methodology since January 2015. Congratulations!

Following the assessment of the application and supporting documentation by the Foundation for Environmental Education Head Office, as well as an external on-site assessment by certified Assessor, Emi Imai, the school has officially been notified about their award. The Eco-Schools Green Flag willsoon be hoisted on the school grounds. Keep up the good work! 

The Assessor's comments

The vision of the school to be the flagship Green School is clear to all and there is evidence that everyone is working towards the same goal.  The eco-practice is embedded in the school life through the curriculum, ongoing projects and initiatives. 

The school improvement plan has sustainability as priority and for 5 years, and the plans of the new school grounds show the commitment by the leadership and the governing body as well.  They involve great investments in solar panels for sustainable energyandcarefully selecting plants for biodiversity.

The success of this school lies with the students’ drive and enthusiasm.  However, this does not magically happen and it is a credit to the Teachers who enabled them to flourish by investing time, spreading the passion and giving them platforms to execute these initiatives.  It was shown by Mr Leverton that every small step leads to success by resilience and continuity.

I would like to thank all staff and students who took time to show me around your wonderful Eco-School. You have shown me how great teamwork and leadership can make a successful Eco-School. Thank you.

Education for Sustainable Development from schools to communities

via Indian Ocean Commission

The Eco-Schools programme is an initiative which encourages young people to take actions to protect their environment and to be the change for sustainability. It starts in the classroom, expands to the school and fosters change in the community.

Within the Indian Ocean region, more than 72 schools, representing over 25,000 pupils are now involved in the programme. Eco-Schools Indian Ocean - part of the international programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) - was introduced in the region by the Indian Ocean Commission ISLANDS project, funded by the European Union and run by a wide range of partners from the Government, NGOs and private sector. It was recognised by the United Nations as “one of the most effective sustainability projects over the past 10 years.” 

“We have activities concerning the environment at school, such as gardening or composting. That same compost is used in our vegetable garden. We also do waste sorting by separating paper and other wastes.” says Matthieu, 7, from RCA St Pierre School, one of the schools piloting the programme in the region.

Eco-Schools provides framework and standards to help educators integrate sustainability principles throughout their schools. It offers the methodological tools for schools and communities to evaluate their own challenges, assess risks and develop the solutions. The schools are guided to re-orientate existing curricula around sustainable development themes, and work collaboratively with their local communities to develop practical projects.

 “Our school has always been environment-friendly. We have always taught our pupils different ways of protecting the environment. With the eco-school programme, these teachings can be put into practice. Now the children are able to participate in activities that help to protect the environment, such as sorting of waste, composting or the creation of an endemic garden. As they take part in these daily activities, the children understand better how to actively protect the environment” states Pascale Napaul Lafrance, teacher at RCA School. 

Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme aims to provide a regional framework to integrate themes of sustainable development, climate change and disaster risk reduction into national education systems, and strengthen cooperation to address the unique vulnerabilities of the region. 

“For most of the schools, the Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme is acting as a powerful force of change. Examples of school activities include projects for rainwater harvesting, soil stabilisation, food production, sanitation, and waste management amongst many others. The most successful schools are those that have built strong partnerships between governmental institutions, NGOs and the private sector,” said Sameer Kaudeer, Education Officer at Reef Conservation, one of the NGOs implementing the programme in the region.

Children in schools across the south western Indian Ocean region are facing the damaging day-to-day effects of climate change such as sea-level rise, soil erosion, flooding, water shortages, and high frequency of natural disasters. These endanger their safety, health and wellbeing and affect the livelihoods and economies of their families and communities.

“The eco-schools programme is an opportunity for children of the entire region, sharing common Ocean and many similar challenges to take collective action in their schools and communities” says Hon. Riziki P. Juma, Minister of Education and Vocational Training in Zanzibar, Republic of Tanzania.

Eco-Schools Indian Ocean is a voluntary programme open to any school in the participating Indian Ocean countries. Schools follow a simple seven step process and work on ten possible themes that respond to common sustainability challenges faced by the participating countries in the Indian Ocean region. 

“At home, I put into practice what I have learnt at school. My parents don’t know much about environment issues. Therefore, I teach them the importance of preserving the environment. I have introduced them to various notions among which the sorting of wastes,” Matthew concluded. 

Through the Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme, island States from the Indian Ocean are joining 64 other countries and more than 49,000 schools already implementing the programme worldwide.


Eco-Schools is the largest sustainable schools programme in the world and run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).  Eco-Schools and FEE are lead partners in UNESCOs Global Action Plan for Education for Sustainable Development which follows the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD).

Implementing partners of the programme in the region:

  • Comoros: Maeecha
  • Mauritius: Reef Conservation
  • Madagascar: Madagascar National Park
  • Zanzibar: Zayedesa

Seychelles have their own Eco-School programme  developed by the Seychelles Ministry of Education running in schools for more than 20 years. The Seychelles Eco-School programme is an important partner of Eco-Schools Indian Ocean and has helped with the development of this programme. Eco-Schools for La Reunion and Mayotte is operated by Eco-école France.

  • Eco-Schools Indian Ocean National Coordinator: Olivia Copsey, ISLANDS  (info@eco.schools.io)
  • Eco-Schools in the Union of Comoros: Nasser Assoumani, Maeecha, n.assoum@maeecha.org 
  • Eco-Schools in Madagascar: Olga Randriamanantena, Madagascar National Park,  cee@madagascar.national.parks.mg 
  • Eco-Schools in Mauritius: Kathy Young, Reef Conservation, admin.reef@intnet.mu 
  • Eco-Schools in Seychelles: Shane Emilie, Eco-Schools Seychelles, shaneemilie@hotmail.com 
  • Eco-Schools in Zanzibar: Omar Mattar, ZAYEDESA, omattar01@gmail.com 


The Great Plant Hunt Teacher training in Croatia

On 8 November, the Association "Lijepa Nasa" held a Great Plant Hunt teacher training session at the kindergarten Dječji vrtić Sisak Novi. The session was led by Anita Šetić and Teute Skorin.

The teacher training brought together Eco-Schools coordinators from kindergartens and primary schools from several counties in Croatia.

The welcome and introductory speeches were given by Ljubica Ivšić and Ivana Pandurić respectively, where the successes achieved through the Eco-Schools programme were highlighted. The educators then presented the progress in the project implementation through the 7 steps, highlighted the specifics of each step, and the importance of monitoring and adherence to deadlines.

The teacher training seminar concluded with two practical workshops and exchange of experiences and ideas.

via Dječji vrtić Sisak Novi

Oepsie the Ostrich is off to Spain!

Oepsie the Ostrich, made by a 10-year-old Rustenburg boy, Dohann Schoonbee from Deutsche Schule Kroondal, has been on the road for over a year. He has assisted the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and the Wrigley Litter Less Campaign in South Africa to promote a cleaner, greener and healthier environment.

At the Eco-Schools National Operators' Meeting (NOM), with over 60 country representatives participating in the Eco-Schools programme, Oepsie was offered and accepted the opportunity to spread his message to Spain. Oepsie has raised our awareness that burning plastic and tyres causes asthma and cancer and has shown that we can do creative and fun things with waste to beautify our surroundings or possibly to sell. For example, Temogo Special School obtains old linen from tourist establishments and makes these into bags or cushion covers and then paints floral motifs.

Oepsie has encouraged three schools to start herb gardens and these have been used to make a type of Zambuc and to bake rolls and biscuits. Broken mirror and tiles that were found in the bush have been re used. Scarecrows, pallet swings, bottle top wall murals, educational toys for pre-schoolers, birdfeeders and T-shirts from shopping bags are other items that have been made from waste. Tyres are being used as borders, planters, tables and chairs, an earthworm farm and to make see-saws for pre-schoolers.

Currently three schools have earthworm farms and 15 schools have food gardens. Oepsie also started a recycling swop shop which has been a success with the two participating schools choosing the option to receive washable sanitary pads rather than stationary. To date 56 girls have earned themselves packs and we hope that this will assist them in feeling confident to attend school during their monthly cycle. 

Eco-Schools National Operators' Meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa

via WESSA.

Last week WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) played host to the 2016 international FEE Eco-Schools conference – also known as the National Operators’ Meeting (NOM) – in Johannesburg.  The three day event saw 85 delegates from over 50 countries around the world come together for an exchange of knowledge and best practices around environmental education at school level.

The focus of this year’s conference was the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the critical role that the Eco-Schools programme plays throughout the world in supporting these goals by providing education for sustainable development. The Eco-Schools programme aims to create awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools and their surrounding communities, as well as to support Education for Sustainable Development in national curriculum. 

Eco-Schools is a programme of FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) – a non-profit organisation based in Denmark – and is active at 49,000 schools in 64 countries around the world. One organisation is selected as the local Eco-Schools programme representative in each country and WESSA has been the South African implementation partner since the programme was launched in the country in 2003.  Through the Eco-Schools programme WESSA has reached over 400,000 learners and 16,000 teachers in the country, providing dedicated support to schools through the Eco-Schools principles of environmental education, teacher training, transformative learning, empowerment and behavioural change.

This is the first time that the annual international Eco-Schools conference has been hosted in Africa and the Johannesburg event has been hailed the most well attended Eco-Schools conference to date.

The gala dinner – sponsored by Coca-Cola African Beverages, Woolworths, PlasticsSA and the National Recycling Forum – was a celebration of the world-wide Eco-Schools programme. It also gave WESSA the opportunity to recognise and thank the many local partners, funders and teachers who have contributed to the success of the programme locally and who understand the important role that Eco-Schools plays in addressing the education challenges in the country. 

Key local corporate partners present at the event included Nampak who have been loyal supporters and funders of the programme for over 10 years.  Also present were some of WESSA’s government partners in the Eco-Schools programme, who include the Department of Basic Education; the Department of Environmental Affairs; the Northern Cape Department of Environmental and Nature Conservation; the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs; and the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation, who together with WESSA Eco-Schools fund the joint Water Action project that has won multiple awards over the past five years.

The keynote address at the gala dinner was delivered by 50|50 television producer, presenter and writer Ntokozo Mbuli, who inspired the audience by sharing the story of her own journey to becoming a passionate advocate for environmental education. She has been a vocal activist for environmental causes in South Africa through her the coverage of environmental issues in numerous television documentaries, and has engaged with schools and corporate organisations in her role as a public figure. In 2015, WESSA honoured Ntokozo with their National Award for Individuals for her contribution to conservation and environmental education and for inspiring a community of people from very diverse backgrounds.

WESSA is proud to be part of the international environmental education community, and its hosting of the 2016 international Eco-Schools conference forms part of the organisation’s programme of special activities to mark its milestone 90th birthday this year.




For more information about WESSA visit www.wessa.org.za

For more information about Eco-Schools visit www.ecoschools.global

For more information about FEE visit www.fee.global