Newsletter January 2020

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Changing Together

the 25-year history of Eco-Schools is released!

Eboni Rutledge is holding a picture of her father’s class during the first Green Flag award ceremony in Northern Ireland in 1994. The cover picture of the publication was taken on the occasion of the 10th Green Flag award celebration at Downpatrick Nursery School, Northern Ireland.
For a quarter of a century, the Eco-Schools programme has been engaging young people in taking positive actions that transform their lives. From its modest beginnings in a few European countries, the programme has expanded to affect change in some 59,000 schools in 68 countries across the globe. We are committed to reaching every child with ESD and this requires resources and collaboration. We invite all stakeholders to contribute to scaling up the programme. Eco-Schools is the largest global school network built with an investment of 25 years that can support education and the Agenda 2030 - the global agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals that provides us with an exciting opportunity to engage 20 million students being supported by 1.3 million teachers. The possibilities are immense and being part of this transformative process is exciting!

This publication is dedicated to the teachers who are at the forefront of providing children with the most stimulating experiences possible: it is they who have built this programme. It is their belief and commitment that has created the Eco-Schools we see today.

Find the full publication, including the Eco-Schools 25-year history, evolution, information about FEE EcoCampus, the Eco-Schools Seven Steps, mentions in research and specially dedicated chapters on Eco-Schools in different regions here.
Alexander Leicht, Chief, Section of ESD, Education Sector, UNESCO

The Eco-Schools programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education makes a major contribution to ESD across the world. Eco-Schools integrate environmental issues into every aspect of the school life and involve all concerned stakeholders along the way. Eco-Schools promote learning that is hands-on and that ultimately results in beneficial actions in the community. In this way, Eco-Schools are spearheading the ‘whole-school approach’ to ESD, where students learn what they live and live what they learn. UNESCO, as the lead UN agency for ESD, has been pleased to be able to work closely with the Foundation for Environmental Education and its EcoSchools programme for many years. Eco-Schools are a strong and credible partner for UNESCO.


A conversation with
Jan Eriksen

"The story of Eco-Schools is also the story about how the whole world works with the environment. If you look into history, I think we all have to realise that the environment has been on the agenda for a very very short time...One of the very important roles of Eco-Schools is that we are advocates of democracy. You could say that it starts in the very small things like an Eco Committee at a school. But one should not forget that for many students that is new - to actually be together and work on something that is not the normal way of doing schoolwork, to be able to think more holistically about the environment and discuss with people who they usually do not discuss with." Read Jan Eriksen's interview on page 20.

Academic & Skills
Development Changes

There are literally hundreds of research reports that document how environment-based, hands-on learning programmes at schools improve academic performance in schools and by students. Environment-based education has a number of positive and measurable effects on a student’s ability to learn and be academically successful. These effects include improvements in science performance, math and reading along with improvements in student motivation and behaviour. According to Shanker, A. a. (2017), Eco-Schools help participants develop leadership skills, public speaking, meeting, negotiation and communications skills.
Read the full Literature Review of Research Studies on page 46.

“Being an Eco-School has provided students with opportunities to be trained as future stewards of the environment. WWF-Singapore workshops and the presentations conducted at various platforms have made the students become confident speakers and deepened their understanding of the environmental issues." 
Habibah Ismail, Teacher, Ang Mo Kio Secondary School, Singapore
“Back in 1994, we started the programme with some of the pioneers of nature and environment from the Municipality of Næstved..Now we can see that the children get the environmental engagement under their skin from early childhood and carry it with them the rest of their lives.”
Lisbeth, Teacher, Kobberbakkeskolen. Lisbeth has been part of Eco-Schools since 1994.
Judy Braus, Executive Director, North American Association for Environmental Education
Reaching over 20 million students in more than 68 countries, this programme can be a model for how to infuse new thinking and professional development into a global network. As we look to the future,  we can learn so much from this long-running programme about how to empower students and teachers to enhance learning, improve the school environment, save resources and money, and involve the community. I was so impressed to meet the Eco-Schools leaders who are working every day to ensure that their schools use the least research in how to inspire students to take an active role in their own learning and support the educators who make magic happen every day in classrooms around the world. 

FEE's relaunched Global Forest Fund is up and running, so remember to offset your travel emissions over the holiday season by contributing via the emissions calculator at! All FEE members are welcome to apply for project funding and can read more here!

Copyright © 2020 Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), All rights reserved.

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