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Eco-Schools Newsletter August 2015
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Eco-Schools Programme

Newsletter (August 2015)

 
Dear National Operator,                                                                          

Welcome to the Eco-Schools International newsletter for August 2015.     

In the Hello - Goodbye section,  we welcome
Edith Caballero, the new National Operator in Mexico,
and we say goodbye to Teresa Romero.
However, Teresa will continue to work with the programme,
so thank you both for your precious work!


A colleague from our member organisation in Belgium who was on
holidays in Scotland sent us a stunning photo of the Green Flag
waving at Elgol Primary School, and we receceived another 
great picture from Ricardo, our Brazilian National Operator,
who also sent a message for all of us.
We look forward to receiving many more amazing pictures!


Uganda Eco-Schools is launching a fundraising campaign for an Eco-Schools Community Radio: you will find more information in the News section, together with a very interesting video about TheGoals.org, a platform that can be used as a powerful educational resource.
We also include a piece about the Earth Charter and FEE's commitment as an official endorser.

 
If you haven't already done so, follow FEE and Eco-Schools International on Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn and now 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 this with anyone interested.

Bríd is on leave from 20 August - 9 September, and Liesbeth and Anna will be happy to help if you have queries. 

 
Enjoy reading and enjoy this sunny, cloudy or rainy August. Look forward to hearing from you.

Lead on Eco-Schools!


 
Bríd, Liesbeth, Anna
New people on board!
 
HELLO                                                          ... and GOODBYE
                                             
 
EDITH CABALLERO                     TERESA ROMERO
 
                             Eco-Schools Mexico

The Green Flag waving at Elgol Primary School,
Isle of Skye (Scotland)

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:
- Chitra Venkatesh from Singapore (our newest National Operator)
- Paul Pace from Malta (National Operator since 2002)



   Name: Chitra Venkatesh                       
   Country: Singapore                             
   Organisation name: WWF Singapore
   City: Singapore                                    
   No. staff organisation: 15 to 20         
   No. staff Eco-Schools: 2                     

  


Eight quick questions


Cats or dogs?                 Dogs would be first preference but I like cats just the same.
Sea or Mountains?         Mountains. Fantastic views and fresh air!
Chocolate or chips?       Fine chocolates only, and all kinds of chips.
Film or book?                  Books, books and more books!

City or countryside?      Countryside

Favourite word?  Irony. The more I explore its meaning with my teenager the more complex and confusing it becomes.

If you could sing one song in a music competition show on television, what would it be? 
“Diamonds are Forever” if I could only hold the tune.


What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? Today I gave my boss his KPIs (Key Performance Indicators ed.) for this year - Eat lunch, smoke less. I will be checking on his progress during our monthly meetings.


The Eco-Schools Programme


What is the high point of the programme for you? What are your hopes/dreams/visions for the programme?
The inquiry/problem-based approach to the programme implementation - It ensures that the programme activities are student initiated. It provides ample opportunities for students to leverage on their existing knowledge and understanding, apply higher level skills and take action to make a change to their environment.


What kind of activities do you run during the year? (teacher training, clean-ups, student workshops etc.)
We have an onboarding student-teacher workshop twice a year to introduce new Eco-Schools to the 7-step process of developing an Eco-Schools project. We are planning events like beach clean-ups, nature walks and day camps. The biggest event this year will be the Eco-Schools conference, that for the first time will be entirely organised by WWF-Singapore. We are getting secondary school students involved in the planning and organising process. In addition, we organise separate overseas learning trips for primary and secondary school students once a year. During the trips, the students visit Green Flag schools as well as WWF conservation sites.

Please include one inspiring case story of a school in your country
Ms. Eunice from Nan Hua High, through her open-mindedness towards learning, has managed to create a community of compassionate young people. The students took ownership of the Eco-Schools programme and have initiated actions to include their neighbourhood. For example, during the Earth Week, the students observed that the older citizens carry their wet market purchases in plastic bags each morning. They invited the senior citizens in their neighbourhood to a canvas bag making workshop. They spoke to senior citizens about climate change and how they can make a difference by reducing their plastic bag usage. The participants designed a canvas bag to use during their wet market trips.

 


  
   Name:
 Paul Pace
   Country: Malta
   Organisation name: Nature Trust (Malta)
   City: Msida
   No. staff organisation: 9 (full-time)
   No. staff Eco-Schools: 6
  

Eight quick questions

Cats or dogs?                 Cats
Sea or Mountains?         Sea (don't have mountains in Malta :))
Chocolate or chips?       Both
Film or book?                  Book
City or countryside?      Countryside

Favourite word?  Let's go Camping!

If you could sing one song in a music competition show on television, what would it be? 
"Redemption Song" (Bob Marley).

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
One day, while parking my car, I discovered that I could not go in reverse. My mechanic could not find anything wrong and told me that he’ll have to look at it in more detail. However, I had several Green Flag evaluation visits scheduled and could not afford not using my car. So I decided to use my car just the same. I quickly realised that … you don’t really need to go in reverse that much … as long as you park in open spaces and are ready to go in neutral and push your car a bit here and there. After about 6 months I took my car to the mechanic and before opening up the gearbox he told me to get into the car and put it in reverse while he examined the mechanism from underneath. At that moment the reverse went in as smooth as a hot knife through butter … and I realised that throughout the whole period nothing was wrong with my reverse … I had been engaging the wrong reverse sequence. My story has become my mechanic’s favourite anecdote.


The Eco-Schools Programme

What is the high point of the programme for you? What are your hopes/dreams/visions for the programme?
EkoSkola has proved to be an effective way of putting the learner at the centre of education in schools. Most of the theoretical educational jargon is actually being implemented effortlessly through this programme bringing about significant change in our educational system.
Local research has shown that while being a Green Flag school does not have a significant impact on the level of environmental knowledge of its learners, EkoSkola brings about significant institutional change towards sustainability and personal behavioural change towards sustainable lifestyles. There is also evidence that learners carry the skills acquired during the programme beyond their school years. 
Our vision is to extend the EkoSkola programme to universities and other higher education institutions. We are also conducting a pilot to introduce the EkoSkola methodology to community centres … hence addressing the non-formal sector.



What kind of activities do you run during the year? (teacher training, clean-ups, student workshops etc.)
Besides the regular school-based professional development courses we run in different schools, we organise the following annual events:

 

  • Annual seminar during which we brief teachers about how to promote Education for Sustainable Development through the EkoSkola programme. We also provide ESD workshops for students during these seminars.
  • The Green Flag award ceremony is a national event during which the nation’s president (who is also the patron of the programme) awards the flags to the schools.
  • Each year a group of schools are invited to perform an Environmental Audit of a community resource. So far students have performed such audits at the president’s palace, a hotel, a toy factory, the Education Department offices, an Insurance Brokers head office and a residential home for the elderly.
  • A Young People’s Summit during which students have the opportunity to discuss and voice their concerns about specific SD themes.
  • A Parliamentary session during which students present and discuss the concerns they outlined in the summit to the country’s Members of Parliament.


Please include one inspiring case story of a school in your country
The Young Adult Education Resource Centre at Wardija caters for students having diverse special needs and multi-disabilities. It was the first educational entity of its kind to be awarded the Green Flag. We promote EkoSkola as a programme that empowers learners to become change agents. Given that locally and internationally people with disability have been practically excluded from discourse related to education for sustainable development, our aim has been to provide equal opportunities to learners with disabilities in order to setup an environment that is conducive towards the self-empowerment of all individuals by valorising abilities and meeting individual needs.

As part of their journey towards the Green Flag the learners introduced and managed a waste separation system; persuaded the school authorities and helped in the organisation of a waste free Barbeque; and addressed the Parliamentary session during which they raised issues of accessibility. Besides paving the way for other such resource centres, this particular case helped us realise that learners – whatever their abilities and needs – can profit from EkoSkola provided they are given the opportunity and are given the liberty to follow their aspirations. After getting their Green Flag, these learners have also engaged in LEAF and YRE with impressive results.
 

NEWS...

Picture taken at Escola da Colina, São José dos Pinhais/PR 
 

A message from Ricardo,
the Eco-Schools National Operator in Brazil

"Eco-Schools in Brazil slowly started to grow this year with two more pilot schools, and we are planning to achieve ten pilot schools by the end of 2015.

Instituto Ambientes em Rede (the Eco-Schools National Organisation) has a partnership with five organisations in different states of Brazil and we are  expanding our programme activities.

We are very motivated and happy to be part of this great Family, and we hope to contribute to the worldwide growth of Eco-Schools."


Greetings to all,

Ricardo Cerruti Oehling

Eco-Schools Coordinator
ES National Operator in Brazil

Fundraising for an Eco-Schools Community Radio

Uganda Eco-Schools 10-Year Anniversary

The Eco-School concept was introduced in Uganda in 2005, and I am glad to inform you that we are planning to celebrate the Eco-Schools 10-year anniversary in October 2015. As we commemorate the anniversary, we are fundraising for an Eco-Schools Community Radio. 
In our last preparatory meeting, members proposed that we kindly request you to help us circulate the Uganda Eco-Schools 10-year anniversary FM radio fundraising web link to Eco-Schools member countries or schools for their participation where possible.

Please find here below our preliminary list of programs for broadcasting. We would love to receive your reflections or advice, if you have any.
Proposed broadcasting programs for the Uganda Eco-Schools Community Radio:

 

  • Children’s Voices Program
  • Eco-Schools/Education News Bulletin
  • National News Broadcast
  • Eco-Pupils’ Parliamentary Sessions
  • Eco-Parents’ Voices Program
  • Nature Files and New World Sustainability Trends Program
  • Stakeholder Talk Shows and Audience phone calls on Sustainability Education issues
  • Eco-Music, Quizzes and Drama
  • Adverts and Announcements

You can follow our pledge card link here below and advise accordingly: http://cecodug.org/pledge.php

Robert M. Isingoma
Eco-Schools National Operator in Uganda

 

GOALS.org
 "The first connected generation can become
the first sustainable generation"
In April 2015, FEE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The International Foundation for the Young Masters Programme (ISYMP) in order to promote sustainability awareness and to promote the educational platform TheGoals.org on sustainable development. 

TheGoals.org is a platform that can be accessed on any phone. Through it, all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be available as an educational resource for FEE programmes.
 
If you are interested in running a pilot project using the technology, please contact the International Eco-Schools Director.
Here’s a three-minute video that describes the Goals.org:
https://vimeo.com/122124304

Earth Charter (Inspiration for Eco Code for schools)

 
At the NOM in Warsaw in 2011, FEE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Earth Charter.
The Earth Charter was finalised and then launched as a people’s charter on 29 June, 2000 by the Earth Charter Commission, an independent international entity, in a ceremony at the Peace Palace, in The Hague. The Charter (a code of ethics) is a valuable document which has four pillars: I. Respect and Care for the Community of Life. II. Ecological Integrity. III. Social and Economic Justice.  IV. Democracy, Non Violence and Peace. These four Pillars have subheading encompassing 16 Principles.

In July 2015, FEE endorsed the Earth Charter through a formal letter: FEE sees the endorsement as the practical side of the MOU that was signed between the two organisations in 2011.
It is clear to FEE that its work around the world implementing its five educational programmes fits extremely well with Principle 14 of the Charter: Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.

From FEE’s point of view, our focus in priority of importance is:
  • As part of the Seven-Step methodology, Eco-Schools will encourage schools and Eco Committees to use the Charter as a tool and inspiration to create, renew, and revitalise their Eco Code. 
  • We will disseminate and promote educational material designed by the Earth Charter Initiative. 
  • We will promote Earth Charter training courses to all our members, but especially in South and Central America. 
  • We will use the Earth Charter to help create collaboration between UNESCO’s GAP network partners and promote and strengthen commitment to GAP around the world
FEE is an official endorser of the Earth Charter because it is one of the best articulated visions of sustainability. The Earth Charter declaration is considered to represent an emerging global consensus on sustainability ethics and values and FEE recommends that you consult it as part of your Eco Code formation process.
You can endorse the Earth Charter either as an individual or as an organisation here: Earth Charter in Action,
 and we encourage you to do so.
Here also are some excellent links for teaching material for teachers and children in Arabic, Dutch, German, English, Russian, Spanish etc. This link is for primary and secondary school educator resources, this and this are other excellent resources for teachers.
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