Croatia, Moldova, Slovenia and Ukraine win European Schools for a Living Planet award
"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 the region responded to WWF’s call to stand up for Europe’s environment and future. Over seven months, 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 choose the best projects.
Winning school projects from Croatia, Moldova, Slovenia and the UkraineThe 15 to 17 year old students of team The Bees, from the Theoretical Lyceum A. Mateevici, Soldanesti, Moldova, ran the ECO-Steps project – focusing on the importance of selecting waste. They saw the construction of a new local landfill as an opportunity to educate their peers and neighbours on how to dispose of waste in a correct manner, by means of training sessions and a series of radio shows. They convinced local authorities to support their initiative and also organised an impressive public demonstration on the city streets.
The 15 to 17 year old students of team CRO Butterflies, from the Josipa Slavenskog Gymnasium, Čakovec, Croatia picked as a subject for their project an endangered species of butterflies (Maculineia) which inhabits the county of Međimurje. They informed young people on the characteristics of this species and the importance of preserving their habitat. They got in touch with other local schools, held lectures based on primary research and organised field trips to the area of interest, thus building awareness on a hitherto unheard-of subject.
From Gimnazija Siska, Ljubljana, Slovenia the team The Co-workers of Nature were inspired by the benefits of organic farming and local produce and set out to promote them in their local school. Their efforts were directed at building and maintaining an eco-garden in the school yard, with external expert advice and help from international European Schools for a Living Planet peers. Moreover, they explored pupils’ and teachers’ attitudes towards eco-friendly agriculture practices and investigated the source of the products served in their cafeteria.
The Dnieper River in the Hands of People was the name of the project run by the students of Kyiv Peace School, focusing on the ecological state of the Dnieper river in Ukraine. Their initiative merged the forces and will power of the members of The Youth Parliament of the Dnieper River, an international assembly of youth from three countries: Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. By creating a structured and organised form of association, the “parliament”, they managed to get across the problems affecting the river to their community, particularly to the young generation, by means of a whole variety of activities.
The prize: a nature camp week in RomaniaFive pupils of each winning class will be treated to a nature camp week in Romania in autumn 2013.
"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.”
"The initiative European Schools for a Living Planet is an important addition to our cross
-border education projects. We are very happy that the group of young people, who creatively engage with our environments’ future in an international exchange, becomes bigger every year”, said Doraja Eberle, Chairwoman of the Board of ERSTE Foundation.