The British PM visits St.Mary's Primary School for its 6th Green Flag celebrations!

On 12 October, St.Mary’s Primary School had a visit from the local Member of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May, Prime Minister. The school celebrated receiving its sixth Green Flag in a special assembly, led by Eco Leader Mrs Hurrell, before heading out to the newly refurbished eco-garden for an official opening. The Eco Committee stated that the Prime Minister was very impressed with how the whole school had been involved with the planting.

They then moved to the flag pole at the front of the school where the Prime Minister raised the school’s sixth Green Flag. The Green Flag is a symbol of sustainable living. The Eco-Schools assessors stated the following: “We truly felt that St. Mary’s Primary School embodies all elements of what it means to be an Eco-School. The students are enthusiastic, keen and understand what it means to care for the environment and their energy is infectious. Mrs Hurrell has done a phenomenal job in championing the cause and she is an inspiration to the children. They have embedded environment into their curriculum seamlessly and are an inspiration to all schools.” The Eco Committee reported that the Prime Minister mentioned that the school was an inspiration to all others.

Guests joined from the Portsmouth Diocese, Cafod, the Climate Coalition and Keep Britain Tidy, as well as Mrs Vanderpool from Anguilla who officially accepted the cheque of £4000 from the school for all the fund raising undertaken by the children to help rebuild the Vanderpool Primary School following the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

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Eco-Schools Romania celebrates 20 years of Eco-Schools!

The Carpathian - Danubian Center for Geoecology (CCDG) organised its 20th National Seminar in September 2019. Over 300 participants joined the event: teachers, principals, school inspectors, authorities, sponsors and many other collaborators. 

FEE President, Lesley Jones, special guest of the event, encouraged the participants to continue their work and sustainable attitude towards the environment. The event focused on values and impact of educational programmes developed by CCDG in Romania. The Eco-Schools programme has been the focus of attention, through the prizes offered to the most active schools, through exchange of experience and inspirational ideas for future activities. In Romania, the Eco-Schools programme has a real success, with over 300 enrolled educational institutions. At the event, a total of 10 schools were awarded the Green Flag for the first time and another 15 have been awarded for the seventh time. After being reevaluated, 94 schools received an Eco-Schools Trophy and 37 were awarded the Eco-Schools anniversary plaque, which marks 10 years of success in the programme.

We are grateful for the positive attitude of children and teachers towards the environment and confident in the change they can make!

 

Discussing Cultural Heritage at the eTwinning Conference 2018

eTwinning is an Erasmus+ Project aimed at connecting schools from different countries, encouraging them to work on common projects. The theme of this year was ‘Cultural Heritage’. Eco-Schools Global was represented at the eTwinning Conference 2018 in Poland by Marvic Refalo, from Eco-Schools Malta. Marvic held a workshop on ‘Cultural Heritage as an Eco-Schools theme combined with the SDGs’.

The conference represented a possibility to share the educational programmes and the values of FEE, particularly of Eco-Schools, with other schools and committees, and to get comments and feedback. Marvic engaged the attendees with stories of cultural heritage projects of Malta and South Africa and explained the Seven-Step methodology. The workshop presented cultural heritage as a crucial element of education, contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.

A lot of participants showed their interest in becoming part of the Eco-schools programme. As a result of the presentation, and as students’ empowerment and democratic participation are a fundamental part of the Seven-Step process, Eco-Schools was invited to hold a workshop at the next eTwinning conference in 2019 on Democratic Participation.

  • Story provided by Marvic Refalo, Eco-Schools Malta

 

Montenegro gets its first Green Flag schools!

The first Green Flag awards and certificates for 17 educational institutions in Montenegro

Bureau for Education Services of Montenegro, in cooperation with the UN System in Montenegro, organised the first Award Ceremony of Green Flags and Certificates for acquiring the International Green Flag status. The event took place at the Eco UN building in Podgorica on 20th September - Day of the ecological state of Montenegro.

Mr. Aleksandar Mitrovic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Education of Montenegro opened the event, and address speeches followed by Mrs. Fiona Mekluni, Coordinator of the UN System in Montenegro and Mr. Rešad Sijarić, Director of Bureau for Education Services of Montenegro.

Bureau for Education Services of Montenegro joined the Eco-Schools family through its FEE membership in 2016. At this year's call for Green Flag applications, 17 educational institutions applied. All of them have been implementing the Eco-Schools programme since September 2016.  All registered institutions went through the process of accreditation in May and June 2018. The accreditation was conducted by teams of the National Committee for the implementation of the Eco-schools programme composed by representatives of the Bureau for Education Services, Ministry of Education Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, the Centre for Vocational Education, ECOM and UNDP.

The Director of Bureau for Education Services awarded the Green Flag and Certificates to representatives of the following educational institutions:

  1. Gymnasium „Tanasije Pejatović", Pljevlja (https://gimnazijatpejatovic.wordpress.com/; https://gimnazijatpejatovic.wordpress.com/eko-skola/)

  2. Primary School „Orjenski bataljon“, Bijela (https://juosorjenskibataljon.wordpress.com/; https://www.facebook.com/JU-OŠ-Orjenski-bataljon-497415067098279/

  3. Primary School „Sutjeska“, Podgorica (http://ossutjeska.edu.me/; http://ossutjeska.edu.me/category/eko-skola/; https://www.facebook.com/search/posts/?q=sutjeska)    

  4. Primary School „Pavle Rovinski“, Podgorica (https://www.facebook.com/Pavle-Rovinski-1672707102952548/)

  5. Secondary School „17. septembar“, Žabljak (www.17septembar.me)

  6. Primary School ,,Vladimir Nazor", Podgorica (https://vladimirnazor1958.wordpress.com/; https://www.facebook.com/SkolaVladimirNazor/)

  7. Primary School „Srbija“, Bar (https://juossrbija.wordpress.com; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013782491646)  

  8. Public Preschool „Đina Vrbica“ Podgorica (educational units „Zvjezdani vrt“, „Mogli“, „Poletarac“, „Leptirić“, „Đina Vrbica“ and „Mali princ“) (www.djinavrbica.me)

  9. Primary School „18. oktobar“, Bioče

  10. Primary School „Radomir Mitrović“, Berane (https://www.facebook.com/JU-O%C5%A0-Radomir-Mitrovi%C4%87-893821440717134/; www.facebook.com/Eko-škola-JU-OŠ-Radomir-Mitrović-141665483223764/)

  11. Primary School ,,Spasoje Raspopović" Podgorica (www.sraspopovic.com; https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/JU-Srednja-strucna-skola-Spasoje-Raspopovic-Podgorica/172308606121903)     

  12. Primary School „Radoje Čizmović“, Nikšić (https://www.facebook.com/rcizmovic/)

  13. Educational Centre, Plužine (m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=446115882238608&r; https://obrazovnicentarpluzine.wordpress.com)

  14. Gymnasium, Cetinje (https://gimnazijacetinje.me; https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Education/JU-Gimnazija-Cetinje-874110349351760/)  

  15. Secondary Vocational Economic and Catering School, Nikšić (https://ek0n0mska.wixsite.com/eko-skola)

  16. Primary School „Druga osnovna škola“, Budva (https://drugaosnovnaskolabudva.wordpress.com/category/eko-skola/)

  17. Primary School „Luka Simonović“, Nikšić (https://www.facebook.com/JU-O%C5%A0-Luka-Simonovi%C4%87-Nik%C5%A1i%C4%87-1696683413900831/?ref=bookmarks)

International Eco-Schools Merit Certificate, for outstanding contribution to the Eco-Schools Programme, showing commitment towards ESD by continuously improving the environmental performance of the school and the wider community, this year goes to Primary School “Radoje Čizmović”, Nikšić.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/106991185@N05/albums/72157695693056040

Technology in favour of nature and biodiversity

In order to explore and popularise the biodiversity of Atanasovsko lake, students from the Eco Club "Captain Planet" at the "A.G. Kodjakafaliyata" Primary School in Burgas, Bulgaria in partnership with the Bulgarian Blue Flag Movement and Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, realised their volunteer student project "My Atanasovsko Lake".

They developed an audio guide through QR codes in Bulgarian and English. The audio files in the audio guide were divided into five different themes: Man and the Lake, Lagoon, Mud and Sea, Migration and Birds, All about the Lake, Salt and Salt Production, narrated in an interesting and attractive way by the students. Stickers with QR codes were posted in various public places in the Sea Garden and the city of Burgas.

For a year, the students from the school participated and developed several environmental projects and were awarded with the Green Flag.

Story provided by Petya Yordanova, Eco-Schools Bulgaria - Alexander Georgiev Kodzhakfaliyata School – Burgas, Bulgaria

Eco-Schools involved in marine conservation in South Africa

CTEET (Cape Town Environmental Education Trust) supports over 30 registered Eco-Schools across Cape Town. The majority of these schools are from low-income, disadvantaged communities on the Cape Flats.

This year, for World Cleanup Day, CTEET partnered with WESSA to host a beach cleanup in Muizenberg, Cape Town. Around 200 people attended the event, including over 120 learners from 9 of our supported Eco-Schools. CTEET feels that it is very important for the learners to get involved in action days such as this because it gives them a chance to actively play a role in environmental protection. It also drives home the real-world impact of some of the things that they are learning about – like the harmful impact that plastic has on our marine life and the effects of littering. This is especially significant this year as CTEET has run a number of educational day programmes around issues such a waste, plastic pollution and water with our Eco-Schools. Joining forces with a big group of other environmentally-conscious peers and role models also inspires the young environmental champions to keep standing up for nature.

We worked on about a 2km long stretch of beach, and the learners spend about 1.5 hours actively collecting waste from the beach. The item that was most found was cigarette butts, followed closely by straws and bottle tops. Interesting finds were a dead gull caught in fishing gut, a TV screen and a whole tyre.

Story provided by CTEET

Eco-Schools Malta focuses on food, waste reduction and appreciation of the outdoors.

The Gozo College Middle School in Malta has a long tradition in Environmental Education and in Education for Sustainable Development. Its Eco-Schools committee has been active for the past ten years and each year the students, together with their teachers, participate in various FEE programmes run by the NGO Nature Trust Malta of which LEAF (Learning About Forests), YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment), We Eat Responsibly, Litter Less Campaign, Water Explorer and related projects also linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.

 Students of the Gozo College collecting wild plants 

Students of the Gozo College collecting wild plants 

The action plan of the school focuses on responsible food consumption, waste reduction and appreciation of the outdoors. Taking a whole school approach, during the last scholastic year, the students researched and learnt about edible wild plants, went foraging and cooked various recipes using foraged leaves. Finally, they produced a recipe book on the use of wild plants to raise awareness about these freely available ingredients which are nowadays frequently considered as waste but in fact were used by the previous generations. The students also prepared herbed sea salt using the same foraged leaves and produced tangerine sugar using tangerine peel.  These were packed in clean reused glass jars and sold to visitors at school during an Open Day.

This year the committee continued on the same lines and promoted the use of the carob fruit, a resource growing naturally in the local outdoor environment – the carob being an indigenous and protected tree. The students researched about this tree and possible uses of its fruit and prepared traditional and innovative recipes using the whole of the carob pod in differenti ways. The students found out that carob powder which can be produced from the carob pod is in fact a healthier substitute for chocolate, produced it by grinding the pod finely and actually used it to make delicious cakes and drinks. During an Open Day at school visitors witnessed the launch of an informative leaflet about the carob tree including information about the tree, the various projects and programmes the school is participating in and six simple but healthy recipes using the carob products. Attendees had the opportunity to taste carob cake and carob banana smoothie prepared by the students and buy the traditional carob syrup and cake mix stored in reused jars.

 Students presenting their work during the school's Open Day - carob syrup and carob cake

Students presenting their work during the school's Open Day - carob syrup and carob cake

These activities were integrated in various subjects across the curriculum, involved the whole school community, reached out to a lot of people through social media but also on the national TV and various radio stations and above all managed to directly link a number of the SDGs including life on land, zero hunger, sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production. Moreover, in January 2018, representatives from the school were invited to the We Eat Responsibly International Forum in Prague to tell participants about this project.

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  • Story provided by the Eco-Schools Coordinator, Ramona Mercieca

Eco-Schools Latvia Summer Forum 2018

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The Eco-Schools Summer Forum in Latvia has become a strong tradition and it is the most anticipated event among the participants of the programme. This was Latvia's 8th Summer Forum and it lasted for a total of 6 days with activities tailored for teachers and students.

The first part of the event gathered 120 teachers from 70 Eco-Schools in Latvia. It was an opportunity to learn the latest news regarding Eco-Schools, get ready for the upcoming school-year and talk about current environmental challenges. Themes of the seminars included: climate change, biodiversity, responsible food consumption, outdoor education, environmental education and competence-based learning, students support and motivation. Practical workshops were held for teachers to learn new useful skills for a greener lifestyle. Moreover, the Forum was an opportunity to meet fellow activists and to strengthen the collaboration among Eco-Schools in Latvia. At the end of the event, a public waste monitoring session was organised on a beach near the venue in order to gather information on coastal pollution and to urge communities to volunteer at the coastal cleanup campaign, which will take place in September.

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Over a hundred young people between 14 and 18 years old participated in the second part of the Eco-Schools Summer Forum. The four-day programme was developed to deepen students’ knowledge of current environmental issues, to spark new ideas for environmental activities and to add to students’ know-how for organising such activities. Working in groups and team-building activities promoted the formation of a network of young environmental activists and new friendships among Eco-Schools in Latvia.

In order to minimise the environmental impact of the event, no disposable plates, cups or cutlery were used during the Forum. The participants were asked to reduce the amount of any waste to a minimum and to use energy and water resources responsibly. Considering the negative effects of industrial farming on the environment, the amount of animal products in the catering was considerably reduced. Recycled hygiene paper products and environmentally friendly household cleaning supplies were provided for the participants.

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  • Story provided by FEE Latvia

Second Regional Network in Eco-Schools: UK & Ireland come together for closer collaboration

On 21-22 August, Eco-Schools National Operators from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland came together in Wigan, UK, to share experiences, discuss processes and find ways to further collaborate. The meeting was a first step towards forming an Eco-Schools UK & Ireland regional network - the second one in our programme after the formation of the Eco-Schools African Network in November 2017.

 
 

Lee Wray-Davies, Karyn Fullerton and Francis Hyland coordinated the meeting at Keep Britain Tidy's headquarters in Wigan, Greater Manchester. Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and An Taisce were represented by Anne-Marie Robb, Matthew Bunt, Ruth Van Ry and Birgit O'Driscoll respectively. FEE Head Office was represented by Nicole Andreou, International Eco-Schools Coordinator, and discussions on FEE EcoCampus were led by Deirdre O'Carroll from An Taisce, Ireland.

The team had the chance to go through best practices, a review of resources available, ideas on collaborations and the Green Flag assessment process in each setting. On the second day of the meeting, Anne-Marie Robb held a workshop on the Sustainable Development Goals and how countries can best showcase them in their work. Deirdre O'Carroll introduced the FEE EcoCampus programme and its implementation in Ireland to inspire its further expansion and development in the rest of the nations. It is worth mentioning that Eco-Schools England and Eco-Schools Northern Ireland have recently launched the programme.

Discussions around the Marine Theme and calls to action against plastic pollution also took place. The meeting concluded with sharing best practice and exploring possibilities around the FEE Litter Less Campaign and the implementation of Eco-Schools' sister programme, Young Reporters for the Environment.

The first UK & Ireland National Operators meeting has been a truly fruitful one for all participants, who will keep exploring ways to work closer together and learn from each other's successes as well as challenges. 

 

PHOTO GALLERY

The first awarded Eco-Schools in the world

It is truly a family affair at Downpatrick Nursery School in Northern Ireland (NI). This year marked a landmark moment for Eco-Schools when Downpatrick Nursery School, the first school in the world to be awarded an Eco-Schools Green Flag in 1994, became the first school in NI to be awarded its 10th Green Flag, making it a national leader in sustainable education.

Three generations of the Rutledge family, who have been involved at the school from the start, celebrated the moment. Catherine Rutledge parent to Alan, pupil at the time of the first flag, has worked at the school for a further 8 flags and Eboni, Alan’s daughter, is a current pupil.  

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"I had no idea all those years ago that we were the first school in the world to achieve this award!"

 

“I was excited when the information about the first ever Eco-Schools Award Scheme arrived in the Nursery School in 1994. I was always very interested in environmental issues and encouraged the children to take an interest in wildlife and nature. I had no idea all those years ago that we were the first school in the world to achieve this award! I am so delighted that the Nursery School has not only maintained this eco-friendly ethos but strengthened and developed it to win their 10th Eco-School Award after 24 years”.  Kelsie Erskine, Former Principal of Downpatrick Nursery School

  

 

 

 

"The 'green' theme has become an integral part of our school life"

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Today the high standards are still being honoured and children are actively encouraged to promote environmental ideas and action plans to benefit not only the school but also the wider community.

"We are pleased to see that our parents and the local community all enjoy celebrating our success as an Eco-School and they actively embrace and support all the topics and initiatives that we promote. We aim to continue to find new ways of collaborating with other local schools of all ages in combined Eco-Schools projects."  Lorna Burns, current Principal at the school

 

  • Story and pictures provided by Keep Northern Island Beautiful

Joint efforts to protect Bahamas marine heritage

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On 17 July, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) celebrated the ending af an impactful six-day Marine Conservation Workshop with a closing ceremony at the Coral Harbour Base. The event shows the commitment of the Government of the Bahamas to protecting its limited naturaI resources.

The Minister of National Security also attended the initiative and highlighted the growing initiatives the Force has been assisting with, since the formation of its Environmental Conservation Office in 2017.  BREEF Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, expressed her satisfaction for the partnership with the RBDF to promote the conservation of marine environment.

"Knowledge is power and we now have an interdisciplinary group of workshop participants from law enforcement and education who are empowered to share this information that they have gained with their colleagues and students, and bring about change. Everyone has a role to play in sustaining our oceans." 
Casuarina McKinney-Lambert

The primary focus of the workshop has been to help members of the Defence Force and fellow law enforcement officers understand marine environment, the laws that govern it and the science behind the policies to better implement enforcement strategies. Partnerships and coordinated approaches are essential to increase effectiveness and reduce duplication of efforts. Law enforcement personnel and educators were selected across a range of the public service and secondary schools from around the country. 

The interdisciplinary course provided participants with opportunities to study island ecosystems from a hands-on, systems perspective within a week-long residential field-study programme at the RBDF Base. Participants took part in classroom activities, guest lectures, and field studies to nearby marine protected areas including Bonefish Pond National Park and the South West Marine Managed Area. 

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"This workshop was truly an eye opener for me and brought greater awareness of our marine life and the challenges we face with enforcement, not only locally but internationally. I was open and excited to absorb all that I could in the workshop." 

RBDF Able Woman Marine Aniska Bonaby


BREEF is the nonprofit organisation accredited to implement the Eco-Schools programme in the Bahamas. It has been conducting marine conservation teacher training workshops since 1995. In 2017 BREEF met the goal of having at least one BREEF-trained teacher in every school across the expanse of the Bahamas.

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  • Story provided by BREEF

Online Certificate on Education for Sustainable Development

The Earth Charter Initiative is a global movement of organizations and individuals that embrace the Earth Charter and use it to guide the transition towards a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

The Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development and University for Peace are offering an International Professional Development Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. This 5-month long course is an excellent opportunity for Eco-Schools Coordinators, teachers and everybody working in the field of Education.

 

Programme Objectives

This unique programme seeks to strengthen the capacities of educators to integrate the values of sustainability in their areas of action and develop educational programmes that promote a new awareness towards the environment and sustainable lifestyles.  Through the programme, educators would improve their skills to implement Education for Global Citizenship in their work, providing a space for dialogue and a professional update on pedagogical processes of transformative learning that respond to the new guidance and educational needs in this area. The programme will also offer a special space to look into the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Participants Profile

The Certificate Programme is aimed at K-12 teachers (primary and secondary educators), education professionals, and academics in different areas and levels of education.

Dates: 16 January - 19 June 2019

Register at: http://earthcharter.org/events/online-certificate-education-sustainable-development-2019

More information:  apply@earthcharter.org

Teach on the beach!

On 8 June, to mark the occasion of World Oceans Day, the students of the British International School of Stavanger in Norway attended class on the beach.

The students organised a great beach clean-up, followed by reflections and an analysis of what they found. They shared great knowledge when discussing different topics including plastic pollution, bioaccumulation and micro-plastic in everyday consumables.

The pupils also wrote poems about the sea, learned about the tides and listened to the sounds of different species under the water. The school arranged a drawing competition in line with World Oceans Day, where the winner would get his/her drawing on the school's World Oceans Day t-shirts.

The students had an exciting and educational day about the sea and everything that lives there. We encourage other schools and kindergartens around the world to do the same!

WWF-Thailand announces Eco-Schools 2018

  • Press release by WWF-Thailand

Thai schools reached the global standard for environmental education.

WWF-Thailand announced the list of Thai schools reaching the global standard for effective environmental education under Eco-Schools Program with aim to create sustainable environment through youth learning

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WWF-Thailand, together with the partner, IKEA Thailand, hosted Eco-Schools Award granting ceremony and presented the prizes to the schools operating 2018 Global Environmental Education. This year, there are 3 schools, recognized for excellence in environmental education, receiving the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award including Klongratumratutit School, Rattanakosin Sompotch Bang Khen School, and Ritthinarongron School amongst 21 schools nationwide that have joined the programme.

Mr Gordon Congdon, Conservation Program Manager of WWF-Thailand, stated about the success of Eco-Schools: “This is the second year that WWF-Thailand represents the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to operate Eco-Schools programme in Thailand. And this year, there are 3 schools recognized for excellence in environmental education and receiving the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award, which shows their progress in environmental management. Most of all, the students leading the program can also practice project management skill to prepare to be responsible and protect our world’s natural resources and environment in the future. We have to say thank you to Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC) for credible judgment and we want to express our gratitude to IKEA for the continue support, giving children a chance for joining Eco-Schools programme”.

Mr Lars Svensson, Sustainability & Communication Director, IKEA Southeast Asia, stated: “Apart from the schools receiving the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award, it is a pleasure that many other schools were also recognized the Silver Award and Bronze Award, reflecting their potential in environmental education. We are proud to support Eco-Schools program for the second year, following IKEA’s goal encouraging sustainable consumption and environmental responsibility”.

Ms Sutthawee Laowkae, a student from Rattanakosin Sompotch Bang Khen School, which was recognized to achieve Green Flag Award said: “At first, it was not easy. The problem of garbage is close to us but we have to be creative to solve it and to persuade all students to cooperate. In our school, we always inform about the benefits of waste management and waste segregation; we launch games to motivate all students. Moreover, our teachers help us to inform this issue like my teacher in Art & Music class that composed a new song to raise awareness of the student about waste segregation. The success is our pride; now we know we can do it and we will maintain it for long.

The Eco-Schools Program is aimed to educate sustainable environmental management in school, to motivate children’s learning progress through school’s environmental development activities, and to improve analytical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership skills. This program is aimed to help enhance their active learning and build up strong participation for school development

2018 Eco-Schools Awarded

FEE awarded 3 schools the Green Flag for their commitment towards improving their school environment. 10 schools were granted the Silver Award by WWf-Thailand while 4 schools received the Bronze Award.

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About the Eco-Schools programme

Eco-Schools is an environmental education programme for sustainable environmental management in a school. It is present in 67 country and more than 50,000 schools around the world. WWF-Thailand joined FEE and is Eco-Schools Program National Operator since 2016. Currently, there are 21 schools implementing the programme in Bangkok, Samut Prakarn, Nonthaburi and Phuket.

 

Eco-Schools Students in England Take Part in the Great Plastic Pick Up

On 11 May, Eco-Schools students at St. Mary's Catholic Primary School in Maidenhead, England were joined by British Prime Minister Theresa May for the launch of the Great Plastic Pick Up. The Great Plastic Pick Up is a campaign created by the Daily Mail and FEE National Operator in England Keep Britain Tidy with the goal to "turn the tide on plastic."  From 11-13 May, 12,000 volunteers at 1,100 sites across the United Kingdom removed tonnes of plastic and other litter from the UK's streets, beaches, and beauty spots.

Theresa May's visit was not the first time that St. Mary's has been singled out for its commitment to environmental education. On 13 March, the school was chosen from among hundreds of nominees as the winner of The Greenest School Award at the first ever Green Heart Hero Awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in London. The school has also been awarded five green flags over the course of its ten years of participation in the Eco-Schools programme. 

“This accolade is an acknowledgement of our school striving to be sustainable over the last decade... The event saw our pupils being acknowledged for their determination to make a difference in this world and preserve this beautiful planet for future generations.
— St. Mary's Primary Catholic School on its Greenest School Award

St. Mary's was not the only Eco-School to get involved in the Great Plastic Pick Up.              Many Eco-Schools students from the 18,400 registered Eco-Schools across England organised their own litter pickups in conjunction with the campaign. In an effort to further expand its environmental education curriculum, Eco-Schools England will launch the Marine and Coast theme on 4th June. Since plastic pollution poses a significant threat to the environmental health of marine and coastal zones, the Great Plastic Pick Up was an opportunity for Eco-Schools students to get an early start on activities related to the Marine and Coast theme. Check out the hashtag #GreatPlasticPickUp on social media to see some of their activities. 

Thumbnail image: Keep Britain Tidy

Are you ready to take up the challenge?

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The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

Over 60 cities will be competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the worldwide 2018 City Nature Challenge. 

Taking part is easy! Check the details here!

Great British Spring Clean #LitterLessCampaign

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  • Story adapted from Keep Britain Tidy (www.keepbritaintidy.org)

More than 1,000 children from 15 schools across Leicester have been taking part in a massive litter pick as part of the Litter Less Campaingn organized by Keep Britain Tidy last week. In only one morning, students were able to collect 200 bags of rubbish in and around their schools  before joining together at a Leicester park to celebrate their achievements and help raise awareness. This is the first time a city’s schools have joined together to achieve such amazing results!

The Litter Less Campaign (a joint initiative of the Wrigley company and the Foundation for Environmental Education) is now in its seventh year and has run in 35 countries.  

“It would be a great idea to do this every week… students learn about how important our environment is and why we should cherish it” – Jenni, year 11, Hamilton Academy.

“Fun and enjoyable whilst being good for our school and local environment” – Keira, year 9, Hamilton Academy.

“It’s surprising the impact a few plastic bottles can have, we should recycle a lot more. It was really good how our student council came together as one real community” – Georgina, year 9, Hamilton Academy.

 

Congratulations to all the teachers and pupils for such an amazing, inspiring initiative!

Empowering Youth Can Save Our Oceans

Story provided by One More Generation

In November 2016, One More Generation founders Olivia (14) and her brother Carter (16) launched their global OneLessStraw Pledge Campaign, in an effort to help clean up our environment and educate people on the harms of using single use plastic straws. 

Some interesting facts: In the U.S.A alone, an estimated 500,000,000 plastic straws are used every single day.  That is the equivalent to 1.6 straws for every man, woman and child living in this country every single day.  If you were to take an entire day's worth of plastic straws, they would fill up over 127 school busses of one-time use plastic straws that are ending up in our landfills and waterways.  Sick isn't it?

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Since the launch of the campaign, over 5,000 people from over 46 countries around the world sign the online pledge form stating that “they promise not to use a single use plastic straw for at least 30 days”. Almost 500 partners from around the world have also joined the OneLessStraw Partners Page and helped to share the initiative. 

Schools across the world can participate in the program.  Schools signing on are listed as partners and on our interactive Google map. Students are then given the opportunity to sign the pledge stating they promise not to use a single plastic straw for at least 30 days.  Students are also encouraged to speak with their favorite restaurant and ask them to participate by signing the pledge.  

The OneLessStraw.org website has lots of resources and a cool interactive Google map which will tracks the progress of the campaign around the world.

Tapei Rocks!

Taipei Rocks is a project that started at Taipei European School (TES) as part of their plan to become an official Green Flag Eco-School.

Students at the primary campus decorated and wrote environmental messages on rocks. Afterwards, they spread their messages outside of the school walls by placing their rocks in public places. 

The project has two main goals. First, to raise awareness of important environmental issues within our community and beyond. Secondly, to encourage students to spend more time outdoors enjoying nature. Our hope is that students at TES can see how a message can spread, and how even a small act can be the catalyst for much bigger change.

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If you find a rock…

You can search for the rock you have found on this website using the 4-digit code on the back of the rock. When you find the rock on the website, please upload your photo and be creative! You could take the rock out for some beef noodles or do some sightseeing with it around Taipei 101! The children who made the rocks will be following their page so we think it will be funny for them to see pictures of their rocks travelling around. Finally, please share the message of the rock on social media using the hashtag #taipeirocks to help spread environmental awareness.

The next step is to place the rock somewhere else. We want the message to spread, so the rocks need to keep moving around to do this.

Of course, if you would like to paint your own rock and add it to the treasure hunt…that would be even better! You can find out how to take part on this website

Let’s see how many rocks we can inspire and how far they can spread these positive messages!

 

 

Northern Ireland Pupils take on a Food Waste Challenge

  • Story provided by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Eco-Schools in Northern Ireland have been looking at the issue of food waste as part of their Eco-School action plans.

Pupils have been hearing about the damage caused to the environment when food waste is sent to landfill and have also been shocked to hear that globally we throw 1/3 of our food away. Most households in Northern Ireland have recently been supplied with a food waste bin service by their local council which is collected and then made into compost.

Pupils have been asked to highlight the great resource produced from recycling food into compost. They have learnt about the 3R’s of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling food waste and have been showing the creative ways they recycle by posting pictures to social media of their superhero waste recycling moves #wastehero.

The project supplied schools with the resources to conduct a food waste school survey and also supplied pupils with stickers and pledges to take home to remind the whole family about food waste reduction and recycling. A before and after survey will be conducted to see if pupils feel more confident about recycling their food waste after taking part in the project.

 Pupils from St Joseph’s Primary School, Cookstown, prove they are Food Waste Superheroes.

Pupils from St Joseph’s Primary School, Cookstown, prove they are Food Waste Superheroes.