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.

National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA Introduces Two New Pathways of Sustainability

With the arrival of the new school year, Eco-Schools USA introduced two new environmental focus areas, or pathways of sustainability.  The first new pathway is the WOW pathway or Watersheds, Oceans and Wetlands. To celebrate the new pathways and to test drive the WOW pathway resources and audits, NWF’s Eco-Schools staff spent several days at Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  Staff paddled in canoes to a nearby marsh, identified plants and wildlife, collected data such as soil and water samples and then spent time speaking with island residents about the impacts of climate change on their lives and on the island. Staff created Action Plans and determined the best avenues for integration of the WOW pathway into school curriculum and community.  This hands-on testing allows Eco-Schools USA staff to put themselves in the place of educators and students and to ensure that the resources and programming they are developing work in the field and classroom and support student learning. NWF is planning to continue to “test drive” all new audits as they move forward in the development of new pathways and revisions to existing ones.

NWF’s second new pathway, Learning about Forests (LEAF) is a Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) programme hosted by NWF in the United States.  NWF has chosen to start the implementation of the LEAF programme as a pathway under the Eco-Schools USA programme. This brings the total number of pathways in the United States to twelve, and provides schools with opportunities to integrate a wide range of authentic, place-based, and environment focused instructional strategies as part of the school’s curriculum.  

The LEAF pathway builds upon NWF’s Schoolyard Habitats™ programme and Trees for Wildlife programme.  Students will utilise the forested landscape as a classroom for learning, and have the opportunity to increase their knowledge about the key role forests play in sustaining life on our planet. Schools will take actions such as creating “Tiny Forests” or “Food Forests” on their school grounds or in their communities, or investigate the concept of forest fragmentation on bird species and plant trees in urban areas to decrease the impacts of climate change.            

 Photo Credit: Brooklyn New School

Photo Credit: Brooklyn New School

n the U.S. not all schools are located near water, but with water being a critical environmental issue, learning to be good stewards of our waterways is crucial. Schools can choose to address any of the three pathways: Watersheds, Oceans or Wetlands to learn how to better conserve and protect these precious natural resources.  Some of the ways in which schools are addressing these issues include developing a campaign around plastic waste in oceans, learning about their local watersheds or field investigations on the impact of runoff on wetlands and wildlife. 

 Photo credit:  Elizabeth Soper

Photo credit:  Elizabeth Soper

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.
 

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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.

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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.

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PRESS RELEASE: Litter Less Campaign Phase III

The Litter Less Campaign - Six years and still going strong

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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.