Schools from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia win international environment initiative

Posted on 04 June 2012  | 
Last weekend the concluding event of the international school environment initiative of WWF and ERSTE Foundation took place in Moieciu in Brasov county in Romania. Under the title “European Schools for a Living planet” pupils and teachers from 9 countries in Central and Eastern Europe implemented environment conservation projects.

The activities ranged from self-built school gardens, street events and theatre performances to exhibitions and “pupils-teach-pupils” campaigns. The award for the best projects – a nature camp week in Romania - was presented to four schools from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.

"With European Schools for a Living Planet we particularly want to show pupils possibilities to get active, to express their opinion in public and to motivate others to take action", said Barbara Tauscher, leader of WWF Austria’s environmental education programme. "For us, the pupils’ overwhelming commitment is the best acknowledgement of the project.”

33 school classes from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Ukraine responded to WWF’s call to stand up for Europe’s environment and future. Over a seven-month period the 12 to 17 year old pupils worked on their eco-projects addressing the topics “Danube – Europe’s lifeline” and “Ecological Footprint”. They did research, discussed with decision makers and went on nature expeditions. The project ideas and realization were completely up to the pupils’ creativity. The teachers supported their pupils only as project coaches.

For the concluding event one teacher and one pupil from each class travelled to Romania to present their nature conservation activities in a colourful project bazaar and afterwards chose the best projects. Four school classes from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia won the competition.

Winning school projects from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia

The Romanian 12 year old pupils from Palanca village, Bacau county, with their project “Colour Your Food Footprint in Green!” focused on reducing the Ecological Footprint of their food. Their activities ranged from cooking by using renewable energy, building a mini-greenhouse in the school garden, to organizing workshops where they taught their parents about sustainable agriculture, organic food and carbon footprint.

The 14 to 18 year old pupils from the Bulgarian “American College Arcus” from Veliko Tarnovo with their project "The College’s Green Area“ planted trees in order to re-forest a natural area near the school that had been burnt down. This activity together with their awareness-raising activities represented a manifesto against man-made fires that damage Bulgarian forests every year.

The eight to 15 year old pupils from the Serbian “Svetislav Golubović Mitraljeta” school with their project "I Grew Up near the Danube” focused on raising their community’s awareness on how their carelessness affects the river. Their activities included a large-scale spring cleanup on the right bank of the Danube in Batajnica and workshops that pupils offered to both their peers and primary school and kindergarden pupils.

The 12 to 15 year-old pupils from the Serbian Primary school ‘Karadjordje’ in Velika Plana with their project "Nature for Nature “ had two main lines of action: “recycling is fun” and creating a park on a former wasteland. They did so after having collected input from their community on what the main local ecological challenges were. The pupils also took the role of “green agents” and doubled their work by intense awareness-raising activities and media work. One of many reactions to the pupils’ calls was that they had lots of people bringing their plastic bottles to their school for recycling after they had seen them on TV.

The prize: a nature camp week in Romania

Five pupils of each winning class will be treated to a nature camp week in Romania in autumn 2012.

"We want to encourage the pupils’ exchange even after the end of the competition”, said Tauscher. "Thus in the long run we want to establish a cross-national network of nature conservation active young people.”

"This was an intense and inspiring year for all participants of the European Schools for a Living Planet. 33 teams in nine countries proved once again their commitment and innovative approach to the environmental issues of today. Education for sustainable development gives young people competencies and motivation to contribute in an active and responsible way to the future of Europe", states Boris Marte, Member of the Board of ERSTE Foundation.

About the European Schools for a Living Planet initiative

This year, the school environment initiative “European Schools for a Living Planet” was held for the fourth time. Since the beginning 3,000 pupils from eleven European countries put their individual eco-projects into action. In the school year 2011/2012 the initiatives’ start was given at a one-week pupil-teacher academy in October 2011 in Austria. Via workshops and outdoor actions WWF experts introduced the pupils and their class teachers to the project topics and presented tools for the project implementation. The progress of the nature conservation projects could be watched and commented via a publicly accessible interactive weblog. There the school classes kept project diaries, posted pictures and videos about their projects and had the opportunity to exchange experiences.
European Schools for a Living planet 2012.
European Schools for a Living planet 2012.
© Alex Spineanu Enlarge
Osnovna škola "Karađorđe" iz Velike Plane
© Alex Spineanu Enlarge
Osnovna škola „Svetislav Golubović Mitraljeta” iz Batajnice
© Alex Spineanu Enlarge
European Schools for a Living planet 2012.
European Schools for a Living planet 2012.
© Alex Spineanu Enlarge
Učesnici na međunarodnom školskom takmičenju okviru projekta „Evropske škole za život na planeti” školske 2011/2012. godine
© Alex Spineanu Enlarge

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