Last week 33 school classes from 9 European countries participated in the kick-off event of the international school environment initiative „European Schools for a Living Planet” of WWF and ERSTE Foundation in Austria. The pupils and teachers gathered at the one-week pupil-teacher academy south-eastern of Vienna. Until the end of the school year the classes will realize individual nature conservation projects addressing the topics „Ecological Footprint” and „Danube”. The best projects will be nominated at a concluding event in Romania in June 2012.
The winners await a nature camp week in Romania. „For the fourth 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 Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldavia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Ukraine took 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 introduced 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 academy was 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 teachers support their pupils only as project coaches. The project ideas and realization is completely up to the pupils’ creativity. Over the last three school years great activities originated such as recycling action days together with municipalities, exhibitions, theatre plays and ‚pupils-teach-pupils’ campaigns
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 Boris Marte, 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. 85 school classes from eleven European countries participated since then. That way, around 2.000 pupils aged 12 to 17 put their individual eco-projects into action.
Further information on the weblog http://schools.foralivingplanet.eu