Step 6 - Involve The Community
Involving a diversity of people in your Eco-Schools program will provide access to valuable sources of advice, information, financial support and all kinds of practical help.
Often teachers and students are the core group of individuals that comprise an Eco-Schools program. But other school staff can be a significant help. Maintenance staff, food personnel, office and administrative staff are all excellent resources and should be engaged in the program.
Your local community (parents, local businesses, resource specialists, local authorities, etc.) offers an even wider range of benefits for your Eco-Schools program. By expanding your classroom to include these individuals, you will strengthen your program and enhance its effectiveness. At the same time, you will raise the profile of your school in your community and help educate others beyond the school walls.
Many Eco-Schools programs around the world incorporate a school-wide Day or Week of Action. The event provides an opportunity for everyone in the school and the local community to come together to help achieve some of the targets set out in your Eco-Action Plan. Even more important is the day-to-day involvement that the whole school and local community can provide.
The following are some ideas of for incorporating the whole school and the local community into your program.
Involving the whole school:
- Hold a school-wide election campaign for student representatives on the Eco-Action Team
- Allot time during school assemblies for prospective representatives to explain to the whole school why they are campaigning for a position on the Eco-Action Team
- Publish information about Eco-Schools activities and Environmental Audit results on the school's website (or create a dedicated Eco-Schools website) and add regular updates
- Post information about your Eco-Schools program in a visible location inside the school (such as the office or library) and update it regularly
- Hold school-wide surveys to gather information about the state of the school's environment
- Utilize regular assemblies to launch Eco-Schools activities and to communicate any progress made
- For assemblies and other events, encourage students to experiment with diverse presentation methods (drama, music, presentation software) to make their communication more effective
- Hold a school-wide competition for the wording and design of the school's Eco-Code
- Organize a yearly Eco-Schools celebration event during which the whole school can celebrate the success achieved during the year
Involving the local community:
- Produce a newsletter to keep parents updated about the Eco-Schools process, and send copies to other members of the community, such as local councils, churches, and businesses
- Send letters to local businesses seeking support for initiatives
- Invite resource specialists from the community to give talks at the school or offer help with particular tasks
- Submit press releases publicizing Eco-Schools activities, research results and achievements
- Conduct community-wide surveys to gather information about environmental issues that are most relevant to residents
- Disseminate the school's Eco-Code within the community
- Invite people from the community to attend the Eco-Schools celebration event
Eco-Schools Tip: Have students contact your local newspaper and ask the paper to publicize details about the success of your Eco-Schools USA Program.
- The school has a prominent, designated way to communicate with the whole school and greater community such as a bulletin board, website or newsletter which details Eco-Schools USA activities.
- The school has a prominent, designated way to communicate with the whole school and greater community such as a bulletin board, website or newsletter which details Eco-Schools activities.
- The whole school, along with volunteers from throughout the community, engage in a number of Eco-schools activities.
Green Flag Award
- The school has a prominent, designated way to communicate with the whole school and greater community such as a bulletin board, web site or newsletter which details Eco-Schools activities.
- The whole school, along with volunteers from throughout the community, engage in a number of Eco-Schools activities.
- The school develops a day of action or other event that engages the greater community in learning about and helping with Eco-Schools projects.
- Students write about Eco-Schools projects for local papers and magazines.
- The school shares its Eco-Schools projects with other schools in the U.S. and with the global community through the Eco-Schools USA website and other communication tools.
Sources: Eco-School Program; Eco-Schools Programme Ireland