Environmental Education: An Interview On Eco-Education
By Charlotte Von Frischen
Our Eco-Education Workshop run with schools is one of Greenpop’s proudest projects. Students gain the chance to learn about the importance of the environment and how to become young eco-warriors. Greenpop sat down with Matthew Koehorst of Six Kingdoms who designed this program.
Environmental education isn’t always easy. With a multitude of abstract and complex concepts within the field, it can be challenging to get across a message that is informative, inspirational, and empowering. Here at Greenpop, we have spent the last 5 years refining and adapting the way we educate people about the environment and their role in it.
One of the programs we are most proud of is our school eco-education workshop which we run in Cape Town and Livingstone. This interactive educational program is designed to take primary school students out of the classroom, connect with peers and the environment. Learners between the ages of 11 and 14 break into small groups, exploring different topics through a rotation of three stations: seed-growing, waste management, and tree planting. Through games, discussion and activations they learn the importance of protecting the environment, as well as useful skills that can uplift themselves and their communities.
Matthew Koehorst, the programme’s designer sat down to tell us more about environmental education.
How do you make content accessible and relevant?
Matthew: We often use metaphors to make the content relatable, familiar, and easy to remember. For example, the facilitators compare tree-planting to looking after a baby. A baby needs water, care, nourishment, and a blanket (mulch, in the case of trees). It’s fun and easy to remember the steps involved. We also think about how education can inform the day-to-day realities of local communities, for example, creative ways to deal with waste management — using the resources that are available. For the self-watering seed germinator, we upcycle a plastic soft-drink bottle and use indigenous seeds of well-known local trees.
What are the core tenets of the program?
Matthew: They are four-fold: Getting active for your environment; learning through fun; being resourceful with what you have; connecting people from different backgrounds with a common purpose.
You mentioned the interactive style of the program. How do the learners become active participants?
Matthew: Learners respond in a different way based on their learning styles and habits. Some are shy and don’t answer questions but they still show tons of enthusiasm when it comes to watering a tree, adding mulch, or stuffing an eco-brick with litter found around the school. Every station is hands-on and interactive and practical. They enjoy having a different educational experience to the rote learning experience inside the classroom.
For more education and inspiration, follow Six Kingdoms.
For this year’s Women’s Day in South Africa, we want to introduce a woman in sustainability who inspires us daily. After earning a Master’s degree in Development Studies, she joined Greenpop in 2014. When she is not heading up programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa, you can find her spending time with her family, tending to her garden, practising Italian, and searching for the best pizza in the Mother City. Get to know Zoë Gauld-Angelucci!
World Environment Day is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been held annually since 1974. The goal of the day of action is to promote environmental awareness and draw attention to crucial concerns around our planet’s survival, that require active engagement and commitment. Today, the day represents one of the largest global platforms for environmental action, with millions of participants from around the world. Each World Environment Day focuses on a specific issue that reflects urgent problems and challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or pollution.
Composting is surprisingly easy with these 4 steps – you can even do it at home, and don’t need a lot of space.
Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.