Seventh Global RCE Conference, Tongyeong, Republic of Korea

The 7th Global Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) Conference was held in Tongyeong, Republic of Korea from September 21-25. The conference's theme 'coexistence' attracted the participation of over 500 delegates representing 101 RCEs worldwide; experts on ESD and RCEs; UNU-IAS; UNESCO; concerned government departments; NGOs; academia; and the office bearers and over 300 citizens of the host city Tongyeong.

Mr. Abdhesh Gangwar, Programme Director, CEE shared CEE's experiences in DRR in the Himalayan Region.

The sessions were organized under three themes.

1. Broad themes covered issues of Sustainable Consumption & Production; Livelihood and Well-being; Teacher Education and Better Schools; Health and ESD; Climate Change; Disaster Risk Reduction; Inclusive Development and Learning.

2 Theme Operations included fund raising and marketing; communications and outreach; and engagement with international sustainability processes.

3. Theme Strategy included Capacity development; appraisal of RCEs; research and development; governance and coordination; cross continental, inter-RCEs collaboration; and engagement with policy makers.

Mr. Abdhesh Gangwar, Programme Director, CEE represented the Srinagar RCE and facilitated the session on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) during the conference, wrote a position paper and conducted an online discussion prior to the conference. More than 40 good practices in ESD were presented by the RCEs world over. Two case studies of RCE Srinagar, 'Learning and Traditional Knowledge Project' and 'Dealing with Disasters' received a Certificate of Honour as RCE Recognition Award.

The next RCE Global Conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, and the 6th Asia Pacific RCE meeting will be held in Kitakyeshu, Japan.

21st International Zoo and Aquarium Educators' Conference

The 21st Biennial Conference of the International Zoo Educators Association (IZE) was held in Chester, United Kingdom, from August 28 to September 1, 2012. The conference, hosted by Chester Zoo, was an exciting and engaging one. It brought together zoo educators from around the world and also provided a forum to share some of the best practices and ideas. 169 delegates from more than 40 countries attended this Conference.

Ms. Nareshwar shared CEE's Handprint Zoo concept which was well received by the audience

The Conference theme, 'Changing Hearts, Minds and Ultimately Behaviours' inspired interesting and stimulating paper presentations, sessions, case studies, workshops and posters. The Conference placed a large emphasis on conservation, and how zoo educators can play a role in changing public perception.

Ms. Meena Nareshwar, Sr. Programme Coordinator, CEE and the Regional Representative of IZE for South Asia coordinated a workshop on Evaluation Techniques for Environment Education (EE) and Interpretation. The Handprint concept was well received by the audience.

The 22nd Biennial Conference of the IZE will be hosted by CEE in 2014.

Happenings at DéCee-CEE's Information Facilitation Centre

Green Birthdays

The Information Facilitation Centre (IFC) at CEE Ahmedabad has been setting a new green trend of celebrating birthdays with nature. The birthday programme offers the birthday child and his/her friends 3 hours of fun-filled, nature-oriented activities.

The group takes an oath on conserving nature and the birthday boy/ girl plants a sapling with his/her name tag on the sapling.

The programme starts with an ice-breaker followed by a nature trail in the green CEE campus. On the trail children learn interesting facts about the diverse plants, animals, insects, and fungi. The Nature Trail is usually followed by a game called 'Who Am I?' which enhances the knowledge on wildlife in a 'fun' way. During the trail and the games actively participating students get small mementos as encouragement. The nature activities end with a game of Scavenger Hunt where the children are divided into teams and have to collect certain articles from nature. The students have to collect things fallen on the ground thus giving them an important lesson that nothing in nature should be damaged. The scavenger hunt is thoroughly enjoyed and it promotes the skills of working in a team, as well as constructing an understanding about degradable and non-degradable products. The winning team gets a small prize. The activities end with a hands-on session on pottery, where a potter assists each child to make small clay pots of their desired shape on the potter's wheel. The 'party' ends with simple refreshments, and by giving innovative return gifts to all the friends.

Since August 2012, five such birthdays have been organized. This idea has been conceptualized, and is coordinated by Ms. Priya Nair, CEE's IFC In-Charge with support from Mr. Kedar Champhekar, Programme Officer, CEE.

An Early Start

50 students from "Brainz Nurture" a preschool, day care and activity center visited CEE to learn about fruits; flowers; and plant life. This was the first time that IFC conducted activities for a group of children between two to four years of age. Children had a fun filled and informative trip.

Its never too early to discover nature!

The Intergovernmental Conference Tbilisi+35: Environmental Education for Sustainable Development

The Government of Georgia in partnership with UNESCO and UNEP organized an Intergovernmental Conference on Environmental Education for Sustainable Development in Tbilisi, Georgia, on September 6-7. This conference commemorated the 1977 Tbilisi Declaration, and 35 years of global educational efforts towards a sustainable world. The goals of this conference were to make use of global educational efforts for transition toward a green economy by enhancing international cooperation; to provide a platform to decision makers to interact with UN-led forums devoted to Environment Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and to take a stock of the implementation of major national, regional and international EE agendas up to now, and to define pathways beyond.

Mr. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director, CEE, gave a plenary speech on 'Evolving ESD Vision: from Tbilisi to Tbilisi (1977-2012). Mr. Sarabhai was also part of the Tbilisi Expert group. To develop a draft outcome document series of high-level plenary and work sessions were held.

The final outcome document that was adopted at this conference 'Tbilisi Communique – Educate Today for a Sustainable Future' included a reference to the Handprint concept - "further promote good practices….including through building on the 'handprint' concept which encourages tangible positive ESD actions" (point 35).

The Handprint concept was launched at UNESCO's Fourth International Conference on Environmental Education: Tbilisi+30, held in 2007 at CEE. The Tbilisi Communique is available at www.tbilisiplus35.ge

Programmes at Sundarvan

Half day programmes for students of schools were conducted by Sundarvan, CEE's Nature Discovery Centre, Ahmedbad on September 21, 22 and 25 at the Sundarvan Campus.

Students from classes 3 to 5 filled in activity sheets on reptiles; birds; and mammals based on the observations. A reptile awareness programme; puppet show; origami; face-painting; and adventure activities were also conducted for them.

Lots to note and observe at Sundarvan.

Green Consumer Day celebration at Jaipur

On September 28, the Green Consumer Day, students from various schools of Jaipur participated in an event jointly organized by CEE, Jaipur and Rajasthan State Bharat Scouts and Guides. The event began with a rally, which aimed at spreading awareness among the general public on the UN call for a green economy. A movie on an eco-friendly lifestyle was screened. It highlighted the crucial role that individuals could play while dealing with current environmental problems. Students were able to showcase their creative side through activities like wall painting and trendy bag-making competitions. This helped in expressing their concerns and ideas about sustainable use of resources.

Students had hands-on-experience in recycling paper.

Kamalapur Anandshala: A source of learning and inspiration

A group consisting of lecturers from the District Institute for Education and Training (DIET) from 13 districts of Uttarakhand, teachers of physically challenged children and two DIET coordinators from Gandhinagar and Vadodara District visited the Kamalapur Anandshala School as part of their educational tour.

The educationists spent a day at Waghodia interacting with teachers, students and team members at the field. While the members from the CEE field office oriented them on the concept and the process of Anandshala, the teachers and students shared their experience of changing the burdensome learning experience to a fun filled one under the Anandshala programme.

The school ambience; maintenance of the physical infrastructure such as water and sanitation facility; kitchen for mid-day meal; and medicinal garden fascinated the group. The 'learning corner' developed in the school under this programme was the key feature of the school that interested them. Various educational-aids, activities, displays and hands-on kept as part of the learning corner was highly appreciated.

Kamalapur school of Waghodia block in Vadodara district of Gujarat, won the 'Best Anandshala' Award. The school is now also being seen as a model school by the Block Resource Centre Coordinators of the District to showcase quality education process.

A Democratic Anandshala Process

The Gita Managalam Trust, Waghodia Taluka, Vadodra District makes annual donations to different government schools in the district and has committed to fulfill the needs of both the children and the teachers. Mr. Maheshbhai Patel, the donor and also the Managing Trustee, had been interacting with the CEE field Office staff Mr. Premji Valsur, Sr. Project Associate over the last 6 months. He appreciated the processes and the working of Anandshala.

He was especially impressed with the democratic process by which students of Bhadol Khurd Primary School were engaged in a process of enlisting the things that they need. As part of this process, the students of this Anandshala school requested for badminton rackets, bats and balls, instruments for athletic games, among others from the donor. This was different from the school uniforms requested for by the teachers. This process aimed at satisfying both the High Networth Individual and the recipients as well.

CEE is the ENVIS centre on Environmental Education (EE). As an ENVIS centre, CEE caters to the information needs of environmental educators. Write to the CEE ENVIS Centre at cee.envis@ceeindia.org

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