Dear EarthTalk: I’m thinking about starting an environmental club in my middle school. Can you give me some ideas about how to start? Can you connect me with other school clubs?
— Rosemary, Andover Township, NJ
Starting an environmental club at school is a great way to get students energized about taking care of the Earth and helping their community while learning about some of the most important issues facing the world in the 21st century.
EarthTeam, a non-profit environmental network for teens, teachers and youth leaders, offers many tips on how to start an environmental club. First and foremost is to make sure there are at least a half dozen or so other students interested in forming such a club to begin with, and then also finding a teacher, community leader or parent who is willing to serve as an adult sponsor. The sponsor’s role is to provide advice along the way and to help ensure the stability of the group from year-to-year given that all of the students, even the founders of the club, will eventually graduate, or move on to other interests or endeavors.
Once the core membership and adult sponsor have been established, EarthTeam suggests all sitting down together to decide on the club’s vision (“Why are we here?”) and to brainstorm about possible activities or projects to undertake (“What do we want to accomplish?”). Once these questions have been answered, it’s time to hold the club’s first official meeting, which should be advertised as widely as possible to other students who may be interested in finding out what the group is about and how they can get involved, too.
The next step, according to EarthTeam, is to forge an action plan that focuses on one group-oriented, year-long project that has measurable benefits to the school or community and that can keep the interest of the student members—who will no doubt be spending long hours volunteering. Whatever project(s) the group decides on, members should develop a timeline that clearly lists goals, dates and responsibilities.
In addition to undertaking the one major project, clubs can also host or sponsor special events for extra visibility. EarthTeam suggests getting students outside for a river or beach clean-up, a tree planting day, or a field trip to a local wetland, zoo or nature reserve. Another popular idea is to hold an Environmental Awareness Day to educate the entire student body about relevant green issues.
Eco-Schools in more than 70 countries around the world follow the same Seven Step framework, which has been designed to place young people in control of environmental actions in their school, local community and beyond. Click the links below to view the criteria for each step, informational videos, advice from the Eco-Schools team and examples from successful Eco-Schools.
Step 1 Eco-Committee
A group of young people who, with the support of an Eco-Coordinator, are responsible for running the Eco-Schools programme in your school community.
Step 2 Environmental Review
A set of fact-finding questions linked to our 10 Eco-Schools topics that have been designed to help your Eco-Committee understand what environmental work your school is already doing, whilst inspiring further youth-led eco-actions.
Step 3 Action Plan
A working document to help your Eco-Committee plan and manage actions for 3 Eco-Schools Topics of their choice, which they will work on during the school year.
Step 4 Curriculum Links
Including environmental education in a variety of different curriculum areas educating a variety of year groups during the school year.
Step 5 Informing and Involving
Engaging the entire school and its wider community in eco-projects and actions for the 3 Eco-Schools topics chosen in Step 3: Action Plan.
Step 6 Monitoring and Evaluation
Assessing the impact of the topic work in your action plan, addressing what worked well, what needed adapting and how your Eco-Committee could develop their eco-actions in the future.
Step 7 Eco-Code
A whole school promise to protect the planet that reflects the topic work your Eco-Committee have completed in their Action Plan during the school year.
We are a charity passionate about engaging young people in environmental education and action. We do this by providing a simple, seven-step framework that guides, empowers and motivates pupils to drive change and improve environmental awareness in their school, local community and beyond.
After completing the seven step process, schools can then apply for Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation, which recognises, rewards and celebrates the environmental achievements of young people.
Eco-Schools was founded in 1994, operates in 70 countries and engages 19.5 million young people globally. This makes Eco-Schools the largest educational programme on the planet.
News & Updates
Join Our National Eco-Committee
The Eco-Schools Programme is Changing
The Eco-Schools programme is designed to be pupil-led, every day the Eco-Schools team have the privilege to learn about impactful environmental actions that have been completed by forward-thinking and innovative young people.
We want to use the Eco-Schools website to showcase these ideas and inspire others… so if you have completed a fantastic eco-project, or tackled one of the Eco-Schools Seven Steps in a unique or effective way, use the link below to get in touch, share your work, feature on the Eco-Schools website and, most importantly, inspire others!
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Keep Britain Tidy is a registered Charity No. 1071737. Registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 3496361. Registered office at Elizabeth House, The Pier, Wigan, WN3 4EX.
The new Eco-Schools Portal and Eco-Schools Green Flag Application are Live!
Having clicked login or register on the Eco-Schools website, all schools will need to then click on the orange ‘Register,’ button to register with the new system before logging in for the first time. If you are registering with the Eco-Schools programme for the first time, this will allow you to create an Eco-Schools account and then login to the new school portal. If you have an existing Eco-Schools account, doing this will allow you to login to the new school portal, whilst connecting you to your existing Eco-Schools account. Please then check all of your school details are correct and up-to-date, whilst completing any of the blank sections which are new additions to the Eco-Schools registration process (such as secondary contact details).
If you’ve been wondering what’s been happening in the world of Eco, here’s a brief overview:
Both the Eco Group and the year 9s were involved in the task of clearing ground space of brambles during half term. We were amazed at how much space was left when it was completed. Wood chip was also put down to create more of a suitable path to the outdoor area. Brambles were shredded and a lot went into the composter. The Living Willow Tunnel was started… so a busy month for us.
This month we’ve been finishing off the clearing of the brambles and shredding them. We’ve put down more wood chipping and have completed the Williow Tunnel- pictures soon when there’s some life showing!
One of the most important additions to the outdoor area- the greenhouse- has also been erected.
A couple of us added the finishing touches to the path leading to the greenhouse. While this was happening, the rest of us were planting seeds to stick in the greenhouse. These included; red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leeks, French Marigold, Lavender, Tomatoes, Peppers and Lettuce.
As well as Rhubarb and Asparagus being planted in the veg patches outside, we started our Sunflower Competition!
Remember, if this seems like your sort of thing, you’re welcome to get involved. 🙂
All You Sea
February 4, 2009 · Filed under Uncategorized
Three billion gallons
Floating in de sea.
Whales an dolphins
Don’t like it,
Seaweed an fish
Don’t like it,
De dead at sea
Don’t like it,
Don’t like it.
Three billion gallons
Floating in de sea.
There’s a time bomb
In our water,
De boats are
Three billion gallons
All for you.
Clubs enrich the experience of students from elementary school through college, but it takes work to run one. To earn official status for a club, follow the school’s procedures for chartering a new group.
Get to the Point
Your new club needs a specific focus if you want support from the school. Instead of saying you want to start a community service club, be specific as to the group’s mission and purpose. You might do service projects around the school, in the community or for national causes, for example. No matter the purpose of your club, think through why you’re starting it and what you hope to accomplish. Put in place the club leadership, including a faculty sponsor and officers.
Follow the Rules
For a club to earn recognition, it must adhere to district policies. According to the New York City Department of Education, a school club needs a name, description, faculty adviser, petition with signatures of potential members, plan for meetings and proposal form. Submit a written proposal that outlines specifics, such as the mission of the group and leadership details. The district may require you to have written bylaws and officers in place before you become official. If you are starting a local chapter of a national student organization, review the guidelines and regulations of the parent organization to ensure you follow them.
Hit the Ground
Once your club is official with the school, set regular meeting times, which might be weekly, biweekly or monthly. Have a specific agenda for each meeting so the time is well spent. Let people know about your club through fliers, presentations in classrooms or announcements at school.
As time passes, it can get harder to track down graduated students for reunions or special school-associated events. A high school alumni association will help support individual graduating class events by keeping an updated list of all school graduates. Before you can arrange special events and ask for donations or dues, you need an association committed to planning and hosting alumni events.
Reach out to high school graduate classmates with whom you are still in contact to form an interest group. Once you’ve arranged a meeting with this group, have each member of the group communicate with classmates with whom they’re still in contact about possibly joining the group.
Meet with school representatives to let them know you are starting a high-school alumni association. Determine whether this is an overall school association for all graduating classes or an individual graduating class association. Ask for a list of graduating students’ names and addresses from the school files. This will give you a starting place to help begin creating a list of graduates and starting a database.
Let each member of the interest group take several names from the graduate list to update alumni contact information. Have each interest group person track down the members of the class by contacting other classmates they still know or communicate with on social media websites or by searching online for them. Update the alumni list with current email addresses, street address information or both.
Write a letter to alumni graduates that explains the plans to create an alumni association. Ask them to provide updated contact information. Ask those interested in participating in the alumni association to contact members of the interest group.
Establish an agenda for the first-ever meeting of the alumni association. The agenda should include plans for developing the organizational structure of the association such as bylaws, mission statement, plan of action, goals, association officer nominations and elections, and funding structures, if any.
Convene a meeting of those interested in participating on the leadership council or association board. Decide when to hold officer nominations and elections and on the voting mechanism. Organize a committee to be responsible for developing the organization’s bylaws and another group to come up with ideas for funding activities such as volunteer donations, annual dues or sponsorships.
Hold officer elections and formalize the organization’s bylaws.
Ask for individual volunteers to participate on separate committees to handle association communications, fund-raising activities, dues collections, if established, and reunion events.
Schedule dates for committee meetings, and coordinate upcoming board meetings to include committee updates. For example, plan the next leadership or board meeting date, time and place, and include on the agenda a committee presentation on the proposed association dues structure and suggested fund-raising activities for review and approval.
This section contains photocopiable activities that can be used independently or to complement the topics in my textbook, ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward: An Environmental Course for the Next Generation’, published by Macmillan Language House, Japan.
Although these activities were originally created for use in the Japanese ESL classroom, many of them are also suitable for English speakers in Grade 4 – 8 in any subject classroom the teacher deems appropriate. Please note that four of the activities will need to be adapted to fit the country/currency as they are Japan specific.
The time spent on each activity will vary from 45 minutes to over an hour depending on how the activity is conducted and the students’ English level. All of the activities require working with a partner or in a group of five or six members. A few activities require a short homework and will thus have to be conducted over two class periods.
This article presents a student-led global issues discussion course for advanced EFL or high school students. Students spend two class periods in small groups discussing a topic selected by the teacher from a list of possible topics students expressed interest in during the first class. (If the teacher wishes to focus only on Environmental Issues, the students could be asked to nominate the possible topics solely from this category). The students, however, are unaware of which topics were selected and, in the first week’s discussion, only the discussion leader knows what the new theme will be. The main requirement for the course is for each discussion leader to hand in a ‘topic discussion packet’ containing their lecture(s), discussion questions, the note-taker’s notes, students’ research findings and an essay reflecting on the discussion contents and their roles as discussion leaders. This article concludes by suggesting that removing the teacher from authoritarian roles and having the discussion led by student peers can enable class members to share their opinions more openly without fear of ‘being wrong’ and discussions can be conducted in a more candid and animated way.
Environmental Activities for Junior and High School Students
This section contains a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities that can be conducted with students from Grade 7 up. I have included an outline of how to conduct each activity along with some personal insights and suggestions about how teachers can adapt some of the activities based on my own personal experiences. ENJOY!
This article was co-authored by Alicia Oglesby. Alicia Oglesby is a Professional School Counselor and the Director of School and College Counseling at Bishop McNamara High School outside of Washington DC. With over ten years of experience in counseling, Alicia specializes in academic advising, social-emotional skills, and career counseling. Alicia holds a BS in Psychology from Howard University and a Master’s in Clinical Counseling and Applied Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. She also studied Race and Mental Health at Virginia Tech. Alicia holds Professional School Counseling Certifications in both Washington DC and Pennsylvania. She has created a college counseling program in its entirety and developed five programs focused on application workshops, parent information workshops, essay writing collaborative, peer-reviewed application activities, and financial aid literacy events.
There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 213,972 times.
Would you like to spice up your daily routine? School clubs are an awesome way to focus on your interests while also providing a much-needed break from homework and studying. Even if your school doesn’t offer many different clubs, you may still be in luck. As long as you’re willing to put the work, you can start a club of your very own. Don’t worry—we’ve answered all your frequently asked questions to help you along this exciting journey.