Since two weeks, Terra VET school in Meppel inthe Netherlands, is the proud owner of a hive. Colleague Klaas has placed the basket on the school grounds with different intentions. Firstly, he thinks about contributing to SDG 15. In addition, he is a real teacher: you teach students (and colleagues!) about the life of the bee, its usefulness and necessity. A third reason is that honey is of course a particularly fine and tasty product…
SDG 15 is about protecting, restoring and sustainable management of life on land in all its forms. Protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity can strengthen resilience against increasing population pressure, intensification of land use and climate change.
A living garden is a garden with more functions than a standard garden, with terrace, lawn and border. A living garden means that there are many plants and flowers that attract insects. One creates more biodiversity with a living garden. It is also good for people: it is a resting place, a meeting place, a place to enjoy the greenery. Also bird houses scan be found.
The garden has been designed and created by Terra students Sander Bijman, Axel Hulleman, Niels Schriel and Gerben Zantingh in the context of SDG Goal 15:
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat and reverse desertification and land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Take urgent and decisive action to limit the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent endangered species.
Terra stands for a clean and sustainable living environment. We are therefore working towards a new way of waste collection that is in line with our green identity: smarter and cleaner collection: waste separation starting from school year 2022-2023.
In a circular economy there is no waste and products and raw materials are reused over and over again. The waste is the new raw material. That is why, in addition to paper, we are now also going to separate PMD (plastic packaging, metal cans and drink cartons), residual waste and Swill (organic waste) at our schools. In order to be able to collect this waste separately, different bins are needed to collect the different types of waste. We get so-called environmental streets for this. These are several garbage bins next to each other for the various types of waste. The recycling centers are placed at strategic places in the school. This means that all current waste bins will disappear.
A ‘waste team’ is formed per location to supervise the implementation of waste collection. With the pay-off ‘From mess to beautiful, can you help?’ we want to encourage everyone in the school to separate waste as well as possible, so that it can be used as a new raw material. In this way we can really make a difference together.
During our TPM in October we visited Yuverta College in Nederweert. This pre-vet school invested in the development of a green paradise at their school to attract new students.
The amount of students entering the school declined during the years from more than 450 students in 2010 till almost 240 in 2019. Because of this decreasing trend the quality of the school was under pressure and actions were needed to attract more students.
The new director of the school Marisol Becerra beliefs in the power and attractiveness of a green learning environment and invested with her team in the greening of the environment of the school both outside and inside the school.
First of all the tiles at the schoolyard were removed replaced by a natural pond and garden, a vegetable garden and a wooden open outdoor classroom. The old ugly wall surrounding the garden was also renewed through an inspirational green artwork. They call it the green paradise to indicate that it is a very friendly and attractive place to learn, work and relax.
The interior of the old school was also tackled. Through a partnership with a local nature photographer the hallways and classrooms were changed into green classrooms by adding beautiful pictures at the walls of landscapes, animals, plants and flowers. Even the lockers of the students were changed into green lockers by adding a large picture of a butterfly.
The effect of these changes were very clear. Teachers, students, parents and visitors were very enthusiastic and really felt at home in this new green paradise. This year the inflow of students has increased instead of declined. Will this be beginning of a rising trend? And is this the effect of greening of the learning environment? It is is not certain, but there seems to be a positive effect.
But how did she get the budget for all these changes?
Her main advise is to be active and creative to realise different kinds of budget. There are all kinds of budgets which can be applied for and can be combined for you own benefit. Also think about sponsoring and crowd-funding. A lot of companies, even MC Donalds, want to help and allocate money for greening, sustainability and education. So connect to your environment en invest in developing a good network with local partners.
This Good Practice makes clear that investing in an attractive and inspirational learning environment is important and will support the raise of students entering your school.
It also makes clear that connecting with partners in your local en regional environment is important because it can help you to realise your ambitions and goals. Invest in a proper network with companies, other schools and your local government.