For a School To Become Environment Friendly
Environment-Friendly Schools, Anyone?Click thumbnail to view full-size
Environment-Friendly Schools, Anyone?
Today, I like to share something that I find so important for all school administrators, teachers and students, even the community where the schools are located, to take heed of. Nobody is spared from the negative effects of environmental degradation including the schools where students commune everyday and learn things about life. And yes, schools must be free from any risks. Everybody is invited to take a positive response to the call to make this world a better place to live in. Schools can partake in the said advocacy, so here are some suggestions we can pick from ideas that can help schools to start with their initiatives on environmental protection.
Set phase (Preparation)
1. Conduct simple orientation on proper waste management for students. This can be done by class, by year level, or in a students’ assembly especially during the opening of classes every semester or school year. But prior to any activity like this, planning sessions with people and organizations to be involved should proceed for when we fail to plan, we plan to fail. To assure everyone that things are doing good and going strong, planning should always be on top of the list.
2. Conduct a conference with the school leaders including the School Governing Council (SGC) to thresh out policies to implement consistent with the set policies and guidelines issued by the Department of Education. Through this, the guidelines are a collaborative response on environmental initiatives implementation.
Further, guidelines set and issued by the Department of Education should be used as legal basis for any action plans so that, again, efforts along this line are in order. It is then imperative that these issuances are properly filed in the schools to serve as ready and easy reference for decisions, plans and actions to be made.
3. In the conference, it is also suggested to review the School Improvement Plan (SIP) to see where in the Vision and Mission is the environmental concern initiative anchored, and if found proper, by all means be pursued. It must also find its way to the Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) carrying, of course, Objectively Verifiable Indicators (OVIs) and other elements such as physical and financial targets with the sources.
These, as all school administrators and School Planning Teams (SPT) and SGC members understand, are bases for any resource generation and mobilization so that any programs can proceed assured of sustainability.
4. Conduct regular monitoring on the implementation of any school initiative on environmental concern to ensure that all school personnel and students adhere to school policies on making the school environment friendly and healthy. This is important in order to track the pluses and minuses along implementation and lead to plan setting of any intervention. That way, any implementation has its sources of inspiration to continue.
5. School organizations whose advocacy include environmental protection should take part in the promotion of clean and green surroundings, just like the Youth Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O). If possible, they align their priorities and in partnership with other school organizations, pursue better plans for implementation to win bigger support from the studentry and community. (Please see additional information below.)
6. Organizations like the schools can also draft their own slogans as part of their advocacy. Slogans should be displayed conspicuously in any place permitted by the school administration. This will strengthen the campaign in favor of environmental protection, and awaken more the community on its importance to widen awareness and encouragement of collective support from them.
7. School organizations should also seek audience with the school administration to craft plans and draw support from internal and external stakeholders in implementing any plan of action. This action is of course a very important factor in keeping any program or project alive and strong for they serve as sources of renewal and sustainability.
8. They can also search and seek support through the net where many organizations can extend any material, informational, service and financial support for environmental advocacy. Organizations and individuals whose advocacy include environmental protection will be more than willing to signify their support if our plans are aligned with their priorities and programs.
9. It will also be helpgul if schools and organizations are keen at resource generation and mobilization especially using the technology. The internet can be a huge resource of information and support generation if only used to widen the circle of supporters for any environmental advocacy measures. It will also take them to do a profiling of these support organizations and individuals as part of the sustainability measures.
10. Of course, working committees or structures for the implementation need to be organized to take care of the many aspects covered by the plans. These structures and others will be sources of information, feedback, and plans to be laid next time.
Go get phase (Implement)
1. Assign garbage bins in strategic places where most students pass. Label them if need be for garbage to be classified into biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials. This will serve several purposes for the school later in the implementation.
2. Aside from proper disposal of biodegradable wastes into school designated dump sites, schools should also restrict students from setting them on fire or burning them to ash. Such dump sites can be a big source of fertile soil that can be used in landscaping activities and in any physical improvement in the school.
3. If capable and space is available, school organizations can entablish a school nursery that can be maintained to provide seedling materials for tree planting activities which can later be a regular activity of the students every year. In fact, all legal holidays declared by government can not actually be an unproductive holiday but can be turned into one productive tree planting activity for schools, organizations and individuals.
4. School organizations can schedule a regular tree planting activity which can be done monthly, quarterly, semestrally, or annually.
5. Regular monitoring of the survival of the planted trees can also be done by them. Replacement of the mortality should be part of the monitoring.
6. Tree pegs should be provided by the student-planters to secure the trees from any destruction.
7. Students should find ownership in the tree planting activity and of the planted tree seedling by reusing empty mineral water bottles and placing a paper printed with their names inside, and tied to any of the tree pegs around the planted tree. By that, they have referrents when doing visits on their planted trees and be able to find more meaning in growing trees.
8. Schools, if space is still available, can establish mini-forest where students can plant trees and other plants.
9. Schools, through the organizations can also do inventory of the number of trees and species found in the school campus and maintain them.
10.Labelling of any plant and tree around can be done by the organizations to provide information on their names . Information on their uses can also be included.
11.Classrooms can also be structured to include regular monthloy display of environment trivia. These can also be used for class discussion in order to make bigger input to the students.
12.These regular monthly bulletin board display can be maintained by the class organizations and made as a contest by them where monthly winners can also be declared using an agreed criteria prepared by them. Regcognition rites can be done simply during the flag ceremony in the morning of a month’s opening day.
Schools can still find other means and ways to improve their school environment and promote better living and learning within its four corners. The challenge really for them still remains to be for creativity and responsibly doing its share in protecting Mother Nature.
Following are two issuances of the Department of Education on the organization of the YOUTH FOR ENVIRONMENT IN SCHOOLS (YES) for your reference especially on reviewing the terms and references of the said organization in the school.
1. DepEd Order 93 series of 2011 entitled MANDATED PROGRAMS, PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES, VARIOUS FORMS, TARGETS PERTINENT TO THE YOUTH FOR ENVIRONMENT IN SCHOOLS (YES) PROGRAM
2. DepEd Memorandum 254 series of 2007 entitled THRUSTS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE YOUTH FOR ENVIRONMENT IN SCHOOLS ORGANIZATION (YES-O)
Following also are three issuances for the SUPREME STUDENT GOVERNMENT (SSG):
1. DepEd Order 79 series of 2009 entitled REVISED STANDARD CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF THE SUPREME STUDENTS GOVERNMENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
2. DepEd Order 49 series of 2011 entitled MANDATED PROGRAMS, PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE SUPREME STUDENTS GOVERNMENT
3. DepEd Order 34 series of 2008 entitled MANDATED THRUSTS, PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE SUPREME STUDENTS GOVERNMENT