This week, 33 pupils from nine European countries gather at the one-week pupil-teacher academy south-eastern of Vienna, the kick off of „European Schools for a Living Planet”. Via workshops and outdoor activities they receive background information on various nature and environment conservation topics. Afterwards, until the end of the school year the classes will realize individual eco-projects. The winners await a nature camp week in Romania. „For the fifth year in a row the initiative links up nature-loving pupils and teachers from different countries and cultures”, said Barbara Tauscher, leader of WWF Austria’s environmental education programme. „We’re eager to see which great ideas will be realized during this year’s round.”
33 pupil-teacher-teams from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldavia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine take part at the one-week pupil-teacher academy held in Illmitz in Austria’s Seewinkel region. Via workshops and outdoor actions WWF eco-pedagogues and various nature conservation experts introduce the 12 to 17 year old pupils and their class teachers to the project topics „Danube – Europe’s lifeline” and „Ecological Footprint – Consumption’s global effects”. „The main focus throughout the whole initiative is on ‚Active Citizenship’”, stressed Tauscher. „We want to show the students possibilities to get active, to express their opinion in public and to motivate others to take action.”
The project ideas and realization is completely up to the pupils’ creativity. The teachers support their pupils only as project coaches. Over the last three school years great activities originated such as „pupils-teach-pupils” campaigns, exhibitions, theatre plays, street events or recycling action days together with municipalities.
The progress of the nature conservation projects can be watched via the publicly accessible interactive weblog http://schools.foralivingplanet.eu. There the school classes will keep project diaries, post pictures and videos about their projects and exchange experiences. Pupils, teachers and anyone else visiting the site can comment on every project activity.
„ERSTE Foundation takes part in the initiative ‚European Schools for a Living Planet’ to enrich our cross boarder education projects with the significant environmental aspect”, states Doraja Eberle, Member of the Board of ERSTE Foundation. “Supporting education means taking Europe’s future seriously. „Imparting sensitivity for ecological issues within an international project is a sustainable experience for the young people as well as for their teachers.”
The school environment initiative „European Schools for a Living Planet” was held for the first time in the school year of 2008/2009. 118 school classes from eleven European countries participated since then. That way, around 3.000 pupils aged 12 to 17 put their individual eco-projects into action.
Further information on the weblog http://schools.foralivingplanet.eu