Eco-kids fly to Kenya

2008-09-19 00:00

King’s School in Nottingham Road has proven that hard work and commitment do pay off. It is one of only 14 schools in South Africa to have earned an international Eco-Schools flag after defending its green flag for five years. With such commitment it is not surprising that other opportunities should follow.

All the schools that achieved their international flag in 2007 were invited to participate in a climate-change poster competition sponsored by Kenya Airways. Pupils were invited to create posters that represented issues around this theme. A number of outstanding posters were submitted. However, there could be only one winner. King’s School pupils captured their audience with an impressive full-colour poster that measured two metres by three metres that was a joint effort of the Grade 6 and 7 pupils.

The panel of judges was particularly impressed by the fact that all the pupils were involved and that the poster reflected an understanding of the problems of climate change and depicted what the solutions are.

However, there is also a certain irony in that the competition prize was a five-day trip to Kenya. It doesn’t quite go when one considers the carbon footprint associated with flying. That said, why shouldn’t schools that are committing to social and environmental transformation in South Africa be the ones to benefit from such opportunities? Besides the excitement of the trip and the wonderful learning opportunity experienced by the eight children, they visited two Kenyan eco-schools and became television stars as they were accompanied by TV personality Michelle Garforth who filmed and interviewed them during their trip.

One of the highlights was visiting the two Kenyan eco-schools, not to mention the snorkelling experiences in the tropical waters off the coast of Mnarani. Kenya has been implementing the Eco-Schools programme for as long as South Africa and is now also in its sixth year with over 300 schools participating. The Star of the Sea Primary School and Desliz Primary School are both situated on the outskirts of Mombasa and were wonderful hosts to the King’s group.

The schools shared their thoughts on climate change and pollution through the performance of plays and trees were planted in memory of their visit.

Importantly, King’s will be calculating its carbon footprint for this trip and will be investigating ways to offset it. This will all go towards achieving its flag status for 2008.

Kenya Airways has committed to running this competition again for all schools with five flags or more this year.

• Look out for the jet-setting eco-school pupils from King’s on the SABC TV programme Bush Radar in January.

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