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Eco-Schools Newsletter February 2016

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Dear all,  

Welcome to the Eco-Schools International newsletter for February 2016.  

This month we interview Abbie from Bermuda, and Ricardo from Brazil. 
We welcome Julie Giles, the new National Operator in Wales, and say thanks to Louise Tambini for holding the fort.

Many new projects are being initiated: last November saw the launch of 'The Great Plant Hunt', part of the 'Toyota ESD project 'Connecting to the future'. Furthermore, Eco-Schools Finland launched their Global Scrapbook Campaign, and 23 Eco-Schools all over the world will soon receive their
first scrapbooks!

 
A 'Beyond COP21 Symposium' was organised by Target4Green in Dubai, to help students understand the implications of COP21 and the SDGs.

The 2015 report for the Global Forest Fund is now available on the Learning about Forests website, and it includes twelve wonderful stories from last year. Do have a read and pass on the stories and links.

 
If you haven't already done so, follow FEE and Eco-Schools International on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr, and share your stories through these channels - see buttons below.

Any feedback or ideas on how to improve the newsletter are welcome. Feel free to share it with anyone who may be  interested.

Enjoy reading and enjoy this sunny, cloudy or snowy February.
 
Lead on Eco-Schools!
 
Bríd, Liesbeth, Anna
New people on board!
 
                   HELLO                                                  ... and GOODBYE
                                                                             
                                                                                                               
            JULIE GILES                                 LOUISE TAMBINI 
 
                                 Eco-Schools Wales

The Eco-Schools National Operators 

The Eco-Schools programme keeps on growing. As we only meet once a year, Eco-Schools International will showcase two National Operators in each newsletter. In this way we get to know a bit more about the Eco-Schools programme in the different countries and the people behind it. 
 
In this newsletter we feature:
- Abbie Caldas from Bermuda (our newest National Operator)
- Ricardo Cerruti Oehling from Brazil

 

Name: Abbie Caldas                                                                         
Country: Bermuda
Organisation name: 
Greenrock
City: Hamilton                      
No. staff organisation: 2.5 (4 people, with 2 part time)         
No. staff Eco-Schools:
 1.25 (2 people with one part time)

  
Eight quick questions

Cats or dogs?                    Cats
Sea or Mountains?            Mountains
Chocolate or chips?          Chocolate
Film or book?                     Film
City or countryside?          City

Favourite word/phrase?   Enough.

If you could sing one song in a music competition show on television, what would it be? 

I would not sing in a competition show on TV!

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? 
I was a judge at a school science fair. One of the students’ projects was the mentos in a coke bottle experiment and he offered to demonstrate it for me as I was asking him about his scientific methodology. Not thinking it through, I accepted and we created a minor explosion in the assembly hall in the middle of the science fair. His poster board was a bit soggy after that but it was a pretty funny way to get a top mark on his project.


The Eco-Schools Programme

What is the high point of the programme for you? What are your hopes/dreams/visions for the programme?
Whenever I meet a new group of students as they form their Eco Committee, we discuss their motivations for signing up, their strengths, and their interests. On one occasion, the teacher gave me a heads up about one young boy who tends to act out in the classroom. I actually tried to ignore this being pointed out to me before I met him and to my pleasant surprise, he was the most enthusiastic participant. He shared that the reason he joined the group was because he feels calm in the garden and he likes to work with his hands alongside other students when he’s not getting in trouble. For me, that was a moment that I knew I am in the right job for me – giving young people a positive way to channel their energy and connect with their learning, while also making a positive impact on their immediate and long term quality of life.
My hope for the programme is to find many more opportunities like this. I always say when helping to recruit Eco Committee members that I’m not necessarily looking for eco-warriors or those whose main mission is to protect the environment; I’m looking for artists, scientists, athletes, social butterflies… no matter what these students grow up to be, I want them to remember their dependence on and responsibility to the natural world and that they are a very important part of it.


What kind of activities do you run during the year? (teacher training, clean-ups, student workshops etc.)
We run a teacher training for all teachers in Bermuda once a year, coordinated through the Bermuda Union of Teachers. Then upon request, I also provide an assembly presentation, parent teacher association (PTA) night presentation, and a staff workshop throughout the year for each of our 15 schools. These can be to inspire participation, or to link directly with an action plan, or to facilitate their ‘inform and involve’ event.
For the students, we coordinate a ‘Networking Conference’ for participants to meet each other and share tips and inspiration. This year we produced 5 questions about the programme, its benefits, and challenges. Students answered them on post-its around the room and then shared their responses.
We also hosted a ‘Resource Fair’ where we showcased all our local delivery partners: other third sector organisations, small businesses, and government departments that are interested and able to assist with relevant school projects. Students mingle and connect with partners and understand resources available to support them.
In March, Greenrock hosts Earth Hour and Eco-Schools is a part of it, with school teams participating in a glow walk. In April, we host Earth Day events, most exciting is the Earth Day video competition.
And finally, we host the Annual Awards Ceremony in June to celebrate all the school accomplishments, thank our partners and sponsors, and inspire new schools to sign up.

 


                                                                                                           
Name: Ricardo Cerruti Oehling 
Country: Brazil
Organisation name: IAR - Instituto Ambientes
em Rede                         

City: Florianópolis
No. staff organisation: 3
No. staff Eco-Schools:
1*
*
In the organization (IAR) I am the Eco-Schools National Operator and work alone, but we have six partners (associations) that work like “Local Operator” in their regions, across the country.
 
Eight quick questions

Cats or dogs?                   Dogs
Sea or Mountains?           Sea
Chocolate or chips?         Chocolate
Film or book?                    Book
City or countryside?        Countryside


Favourite word/phrase?  Prosperity.
 
If you could sing one song in a music competition show on television, what would it be? 
'The Sound of Silence'

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? 
After six years away, I just moved back to the town where my 10-year-old son lives, and where I joined IAR and the FEE programmes. Well, it isn’t a “funny” story but a dream that I was trying to realise! The funny part is that things seem to be flowing much better!

 

The Eco-Schools Programme

What is the high point of the programme for you? What are your hopes/dreams/visions for the programme? 
It is not easy to define the highest point because I believe there is not only one: when everybody works together for a common goal (Action Plan), this is a high point. When students get involved and lead their actions outside the school, this is another strong point, and of course the Eco Code formalises the cycle of actions performed.
My dream is that the Eco-Schools programme will become one of the best environmental education programmes in Brazil, recognised by the authorities and part of our National Environmental Education Policy.
A
nother target is to convince companies to promote and sponsor the programme in public schools, because they have a lot of enthusiasm but no money.

What kind of activities do you run during the year? (teacher training, clean-ups, student workshops etc.)
So far we have just a few schools running the programme. I monitor the implementation, analyse all the documentation and guide them in their activities and actions.
In Brazil we have created partnerships with other local associations that act as consultants, training teachers and assisting schools in their actions.
We have the idea of holding future workshops among/with our partners as well as between schools.

Please include one inspiring case story of a school in your country
When I decided to invest and work harder in the programme, one of the goals was to get partners in each region of our country to help spread and implement it. One of these partners was the first school that became an Eco-School in Brazil. This school liked the programme so much and identified itself with it so deeply that they wanted to help spread the methodology in other schools, with all the benefits achieved and changes made.
 

The Great Plant Hunt 
Eco-Schools Toyota Biodiversity Educational Project

Since the launch of the Great Plant Hunt campaign in November, over 300 schools have registered in ten countries throughout Europe, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey.

Over 3,000 teachers are working to increase the level of awareness and knowledge about Biodiversity, in particular, plants and their associated species. Over 30,000 students, aged between 5 - 7, are actively engaged in the campaign. 

The campaign has even been recognised by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. They shared the story in their recent newswletter! See below. 
The Great Plant Hunt is a joint initiative of Toyota Motor Europe and the Foundation for Environmental Education. The campaign includes practical activities based on resources developed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with funding from the Wellcome Trust.
Read more

Beyond COP21 Symposium

The first of a global series of Symposia was organised and facilitated by Target4Green in Dubai on 16th January 2016 at GEMS Kindergarten Starters, to learn about taking a more sustainable path and understand more deeply the implications of COP21 and the SDGs.

Over 200 students from seven schools attended the full day of presentations, team-building and performances. Experts on sustainability took part in speeches and practical activities.

 

Learn more

The Global Scrapbook Campaign

Eco-Schools Finland are happy to announce that 23 scrapbooks are departing this week from Finland in order to bring greetings and joy to other Eco-Schools around the world!

The Eco-Schools Global Scrapbook Campaign, initiated by Eco-Schools Finland, will bring together 100 schools and kindergartens from different countries participating in the programme. The purpose of the campaign is to establish links between Eco-Schools and kindergartens in different countries as well as to spread joy and share stories about their life and Eco-School activities.

 

Read more


The Global Forest Fund in 2015
 

For eight years, the Global Forest Fund has been investing in worthy tree planting events and environmental education activities around the world. The Foundation for Environmental Education invests 90% of the Global Forest Fund each year into worthy projects. Over the past eight years, 154 projects have been supported around the world. In 2015, the Global Forest Fund received almost €7,000 from the Foundation for Environmental Education as CO2 compensation for flights in 2014. A welcome donation was also received from Semaphore Signs, The Netherlands, as CO2 compensation for the worldwide production of the Blue Flags.

The full report is available on the Learning about Forests website - included are twelve wonderful stories from seven countries around the world.

Due to changes in our procedures we will not be in a position to support any GFF projects in 2016. We will however look forward to supporting worthy projects from 2017.
 
Please feel free to share this report with your friends, colleagues and work partners and encourage them to compensate CO2 emissions from their travels and donate to the GFF to support tree-planting and educational activities in schools around the world.

 

Read the full report
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