33 school classes from 11 European countries in an environmental competition
All projects were presented: self-made school gardens, street events, theatre plays and exhibitions as well as students-teaching-students actions. The exchange process on important learnings and possible obstacles during the projects as well as the strengthening of the intercultural network were important milestones of the final event.
Together, the participants also created the cornerstone of the transnational „ESFALP River Day“, which will be held in fall 2014. „With ′European Schools for a Living Planet′, we want to teach our students, that they can change things. With our workshops, we provide them with methods to do so and articulate their opinion in public and motivate others, to take care of the environment“, says Barbara Tauscher, head of the WWF Environmental Education Program in Austria.
33 school classes from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine participated in this year’s „European Schools for a Living Planet“ initiative. For seven months, young adults between 13- and 17-years old worked together on different ecological projects. They did researches, discussed with decision makers and went on nature expeditions.
The project ideas and realization were completely up to the students’ creativity. The teachers supported their students as project coaches. For the big final event, one teacher and one student from each project team travelled to Moieciu de Sus in Romania. There they presented the achievements of their work, exchanged opinions on the challenges they faced and last but not least – learned from each other.
Young adults and teachers got the skills they needed in order to implement the planned projects during a preparation camp at the beginning of the school year in Austria. Through workshops and outdoor training the participants were informed about the topics „Danube -Lifeline of Europe“ and „Ecological Footprint – how to handle our planet’s ressources“. Project management, team building and public relations were tought as well.
The actions on environmental issues are not going to end with the final event: together, the „ESFALP River Day“ was created. The day will be held transnationally in fall 2014 and will be celebrated in all the eleven European countries from the ESFALP project. The connective topic will be „rivers“. This ecological day is another important step in order to support the created network of environmentally active young adults which shows how sustainable environmental education works.
„Young people have the power to shape the future, so we should all encourage them to care for the environment and to constantly search for creative solutions for improvement. This is why ERSTE Foundation supports the ‘European Schools for a Living Planet’ cross boarder initiative, and we are very impressed by the commitment shown by both students and their teachers”, 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 valuable experience for the young people as well as for their teachers.”
This year, the school-environmental initiative „European Schools for a Living Planet“ was held for the sixth time. Since the beginning oft he initiative, a total of 5,000 students from eleven different European countries at the age of 12 to 17 years participated and put their individual eco-projects into action.