One key aim of the Eco-Schools program is to raise awareness of your environmental activities – throughout the school and the wider community – and to make sure that as many people as possible get a chance to take part.
Guidelines from Foundation for Environmental Education:
Actions should not just be confined to the school: for example, students should take home ideas to put into practice.
Involving the wider community brings a wide range of benefits. Parents, neighbours, local businesses and the local authority can be sources of advice, information, practical help and financial assistance. This is also an ideal opportunity to raise the school’s profile within the community through the production of newsletters to parents, press releases to the local paper, open days, etc. Eco-Schools Committees may appoint a ‘PR’ group from amongst their numbers to ensure high visibility throughout the school and the community.
One of the best ways of involving the whole school is to organise a Community Action Day (or Week!). This is an opportunity for everyone in the school – students, teachers and other school staff – to get together to work towards achieving some of the targets set out in your action plan. ‘Days of Action’ need planning; both to allocate responsibilities and to make sure everyone knows about them and what to do.
However, the day-to-day involvement of everyone in the school’s eco activities is essential. Activities such as recycling, saving energy and water and litter awareness can only be a success if everyone is involved in doing them.
The following are some ideas how the Eco-Schools Committee can plan for dissemination:
Involving the whole school
- hold a school-wide election campaign for student representatives on the Eco-Schools Committee
- dedicate school assemblies during which prospective student representatives can explain to the rest of the school why they are contesting the elections
- publishing information gathered during the environmental review on the Eco-Schools notice board. The whole school can be kept updated regularly about the progress being made in addressing the targets set
- hold school-wide surveys to gather information about the state of the school’s environment
- regularly utilise assemblies to launch Eco-Schools activities and to communicate any progress made. Children can be encouraged to utilise diverse presentation methods (e.g. drama, music, presentation software) to make their communication more effective
- publish information about the Eco-Schools activities on the school’s website (or in its absence… produce an Eco-Schools website for the school)
- hold a school-wide competition for the wording and design of the school’s Eco-Code organise a yearly Eco-Schools celebration event during which the whole school can celebrate the success achieved during the year
Involving the community
- produce a newsletter that regularly keeps parents updated about the Eco-Schools process. Copies of the newsletter can also be sent to other members of the community (e.g. local council, parishes, local businesses)
- send letters to local businesses seeking support for initiatives
- ask resource people from the community to come to the school to give talks or offer help in particular tasks
- hold press releases publicising Eco-Schools activities, research results and achievements
- hold community-wide surveys to gather information about the environmental issues that are mostly relevant
- disseminate the school’s Eco-Code within the community
- invite people from the community to attend the Eco-Schools celebration event