An Environmental Companionship between North Chevy Chase Elementary and Nanhua Elementary School in Tainan City, Taiwan
A new Eco-Campus Partnership Program between the United States and Taiwan will provide high-quality collaborative educational experiences for students from diverse cultures, according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Aiming to increase environmental literacy among students, the new partnership has engaged 36 schools in the United States and pairs them with 36 sister schools in Taiwan. It will engage 24 more pairs of schools in the U.S. and Taiwan this year. The program launch event highlights North Chevy Chase Elementary in Chevy Chase, Maryland and Nanhua Elementary in Tainan City, Taiwan, who will collaborate on environmental and sustainability themes as part of the program.
The Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPA-T) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-US) have cooperated for over 20 years. In April 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy visited Taiwan and witnessed with EPA-T Administrator Kuo-Yen Wei the launch of the International Environmental Partnership Program (IEP), which extends the bilateral cooperation to the entire Asia-Pacific region. One of the most important programs of the IEP is the Eco-Campus Partnership Program that EPA-T funds through the National Wildlife Federation as a three-year project. Coordinated by NWF through its Eco-Schools USA program, the program connects schools in the U.S. with Taiwanese schools to encourage students within each country to engage in project-based learning on sustainability topics such as energy, water, climate change, wildlife habitat through school gardens and more.
“Research has shown in the past that school partnership programs contribute significantly to an increased intercultural understanding within the school community and it creates opportunities for sharing pedagogies and engaging in joint curriculum development,” said Laura Hickey, senior director of K-12 Education Programs at NWF. “Not only does it benefit staff and students involved, but it increases the prestige of the school as they are seen accomplishing environmental goals on a global level.”
The program was introduced to increase environmental literacy between schools internationally. While participating in this program, both North Chevy Chase Elementary and Nanhua Elementary will engage their students in key environmental projects. Students will be expected to connect with their peers to examine and compare local environmental issues, such as river water quality, climate change and more. Students will debate, write letters, organize cleanups, create gardens, conduct recycling campaigns, and suggest solutions to environmental challenges.
“This program will give students a different, new and exciting way to learn. With NWF’s proposed Project-Based Learning, students are involved in individual and collaborative work to explore real-world problems,” said Kim Martinez, manager of Regional Education Programs at NWF. “Through this learning method, students acquire skills in critical thinking and cross-cultural awareness, a skill that will only be an asset to them as they grow older.”
Leading the environmental movement within Maryland public schools, North Chevy Chase Elementary holds recognition as a multi-year Maryland Green School. For the school’s tireless efforts in creating an Eco-Action team, action plan and Eco-code, as well as linking environmental learning within their curriculum and involving the greater Chevy Chase community in their environmental journey, North Chevy Chase Elementary has been awarded the International Eco-Schools Green Flag award. Presented by NWF, the award is given to schools that have shown exceptional effort in “greening” their school, students and greater community.
Nahhua Elementary School is located in the preservation zone for Formosan rock-monkeys and the Nanhua Reservoir. The school has a 107-year history since its establishment in 1908. One of the school’s focus is environmental education, which includes creating a low-carbon living style, recycling resources, and maintaining sustainable development. The school looks forward to partnering with NCC as an eco-campus.
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