Step 1 - Eco-Action Team
The Eco-Action Team (EA Team) is the driving force behind the Eco-Schools process. Establishing an EA team is the first step to take towards becoming an Eco-School.
Ideally, your EA Team should represent the whole school community - including people beyond your school walls. Keep in mind that students should play a leading role on the team and represent the views of the entire student body.
Who should be represented on the Eco-Action Team?
- Students from every grade in your school
- Administrative staff
- Non-teaching staff such as janitors, facilities managers, and lunch room staff
- Parents or grandparents
- Representatives from the local community
- Resource professionals from local environmental or conservation organizations
Eco-Schools Tip: It can be difficult to involve and inform the whole school, particularly at the high school level. You will need to consider how to create a team that will work best for your situation. For instance, you might utilize an existing student council or after-school club. No matter how you structure it, it is essential that this group finds ways to keep the rest of the school informed and engaged.
What are the functions of the EA Team?
- To ensure that all students and the whole school community have an opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process
- To inform and provide a link to the rest of the school and the local community
- To take the lead in determining how best to carry out the Environmental Audit
- To take the lead in creating the Action Plan
The size of your team and how often it meets will be determined by your school's needs and what award level you are aiming for. Some schools have found that they need to meet more frequently in the beginning and can then scale back meetings once their program has become established. It is important for the EA Team to take minutes during each meeting and record any decisions made by the team, as well as to communicate with the greater school community. Students should play a strong role in all functions of the EA Team. Lastly, you should have a plan to ensure that your Eco-Schools work will continue if and when key members of the EA Team leave.
Once you have established your Eco-Action Team, you should move on to Step 2 - Performing an Environmental Audit.
- The school has identified an Eco-Action Team that is composed of a diverse group of teachers and students.
- The group meets at least 4 times a year.
- Informal minutes are kept at each meeting
- The group informs the whole school of committee discussions and actions.
- The school has identified an Eco-Action Team which is composed of students, teachers and community members.
- The group meets at least 6 times a year.
- Students are part of the decision-making process and share responsibility for keeping minutes for each meeting.
- Students are responsible for communicating Eco-Action Team information to the whole school.
Green Flag Award
- The school has identified an Eco-Action Team which has strong representation from students (at least 50%), and also includes teachers, other school staff and community members.
- Students take significant responsibility for conducting the Eco-Action Team meetings and the team's decision-making process.
- The group meets at least 8 times a year.
- Students share responsibility for keeping minutes for each meeting and communicating information to the whole school.
- Student representatives actively engage other students and collect suggestions from the greater student body.
Sources: Eco-Schools Programme Ireland, Eco-Schools Programme Scotland, Eco-Schools International.