CEE Sustainable Development Programme Announced

Centre for Environment Education (CEE) India 's two-week course in Environment and Sustainable Development was announced at the World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) held in Montréal from 10 to 14 May .

The two-week program provides cross-disciplinary understanding and practical experience of development approaches that deal effectively with these interconnected challenges under the guidance of a skilled and experienced faculty drawn from leading thinkers and practitioners in the area of sustainability.

The program is planned as a stimulating mix of educational sessions, group work, lectures, excursions to natural and cultural heritage sites and field experiences of successful local sustainability initiatives. Students will select a project for their field work that strengthens their cross-cultural understanding of development for a sustainable future. The programme consists of three major components

Foundations: Five days at CEE's green campus in Ahmedabad, Gujarat , where the students will attend lectures, interact with experts, be a part of intensive workshops and group sessions, grounding them in the special development challenges and unique policy and practical responses of India , a society in transition. They will also explore how CEE as a n organisation approaches Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and functionally embodies the principles of sustainability.

Field work: Five days focused on local best practices in Gujarat including in and around Ahmedabad. Students will break into small groups and focus on theme-specific field work in sustainable agriculture and rural development, waste management, disaster preparedness and rehabilitation, urban issues and heritage and sustainability in the business environment.

National Policy: Three days in Delhi visiting institutions working in environment and development, and meeting with government officials and high profile organisations and individuals focused on environment, development and conservation issues.

The course is designed for university students from a wide variety of disciplines and with an interest in sustainability and cross-cultural studies. SDP will create interdisciplinary groups as part of the study program. Undergraduates and postgraduates may apply. A CEE certificate of participation will be awarded to all students who complete the two-week programme.

Apply online at www.ceeindia.org/sdp . Apply by 30 September 2009 to get an early bird discount on the course fee. Applications will not be accepted after 10 November 2009 .

Anandshala: Joyful Schools

Scientific Toy-Making Workshop for teachers
Anandshala project is a school project aimed at making learning a joyful experience. As a part of the vacation activities,a day long scientific toy-making workshop was held at Waghodiya, in Vadodara district for teach ers of Anandshala schools . It aimed at making science interesting and easy for school students by preparing teachers to handle science sessions in a more creative and interactive manner.

Teachers enjoyed making toys and games through which the complex concepts of science can be made simpler for the children.

Exposure Visits for Rural Children
Children enrolled in Anandshala schools mostly come from rural areas and get few opportunities to see the world outside their villages. Keeping this in mind, CEE organised educational tours for these children to different places like railway station, airport, dairy, police station, film studio, printing press etc. Over 292 students took part in the programme which was well appreciated.

International Day for Biological Diversity in the Kashmir Valley

Students and teachers in the remote hill villages of Kashmir Valley in India joined CEE in celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity 2009. Three hundred fifty students and twenty six teachers from seven schools participated in these celebrations which were held at two different locations in Baramulla and Kupwara districts. They were apprised on the importance and history of the International Biodiversity Day and also on the theme for this year's celebrations which was ‘Invasive Alien Species (IAS)' - one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. They were also informed about the definition of alien species, their characteristics and how they could pose a threat to the local biodiversity. Examples of alien species reported from different parts of India as well as the Kashmir valley were cited during the discussions. For example the Congress Grass ( Parthenium hysterophorus ), which came from America with wheat seeds, has now spread to almost all over the country. It causes allergy, skin problem, and lung problems to humans and poses a serious threat to native species. Another example cited was that of water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) which is found predominantly in the water bodies of Kashmir . Discussions were held on the various ways to control the problem of invasive alien species, and students were briefed about prevention, eradication, containment exclusion, site specific control and biological control of these species.

A Summer of Fun

Sixty eight children in the age group of 6-13 years enjoyed a fun-filled summer programme at CEE. The month long programme organised by CEE's Information and Facilitation Centre at Ahmedabad, D'e Cee was structured as a series of one week modules, each with a different theme. Children could choose one or more of the modules.

Week 1 - Creative Expressions: offered skill based activities like photography, clay modeling, pebble painting, canvas painting etc.

Week 2 - Natures Creatures: offered exposure to nature through nature trails, bird-watching, movie screenings, games and discussions.

Week 3 - Choose to Re-use: Children were oriented to the types of wastes and the 4 R's (Reuse, Reduce, Refuse, Recycle) of managing waste in our day to day life. This was reinforced through a lot of hands-on craft and creative recycle reuse activities. As part of their field visit, children visited the plastic recycled products unit at Phethapur.

Week 4 - Theatre and Performing Arts: Children learnt the skills of observations, puppet making, voice modulations and they developed story lines and scripts which culminated in a performance on 5 June 2009 for World Environment Day. Children also put up an exhibition showcasing all the products they made during the one month programme.

The programme came to an end on 4 June 2009 with a valediction programme and with distribution of prizes to winners of various games and other activities and certificates.

CEE Canada!

On May 20, 2009 a launch reception for CEE Canada was held in Toronto . As a gesture of partnership for biodiversity conservation the launch was hosted by REPTILIA a unique reptile zoo. The launch of CEE Canada at a reptile zoo was also symbolic as a significant feature of the early evolution of CEE India was a reptile education program in the late seventies.

Kartikeya Sarabhai, Charles Hopkins and Andre' Ngo' (reptile expert at REPTILIA) with an Argentine Black and White Tegu

The launch started with a guided tour of the reptile zoo and a reptile education program. All three speakers of the evening, Kartikeya Sarabhai (Director, CEE), Dr. Charles Hopkins (President, CEE Canada ) and Brijpal Patel (Executive Director, CEE Canada ) highlighted the role of partnership and why it should be the cornerstone of CEE Canada 's strategy. The two key aspects of CEE Canada's mandate was reinforced by speakers, first - of bringing culturally diverse groups into the discussion and discourse of Education for Sustainable Development; and second - to bring global perspective to local initiatives through international exchange.

The launch saw the presence of individuals, not for profit organisations, universities and government departments. The teachers from Springdale School presented CEE with a cheque of funds raised by children of ‘Me to We' club in the school. The launch ended with informal interaction between the invitees and Board members of CEE Canada . Dr. David Bell, Tom Tamblyn and Brijpal gave each invitee a Handprint pin for their commitment to partner for positive action in ESD.

Contact: brijpal.patel@ceeindia.org

Reaching Out, Reaching Within

CEE Andhra Pradesh is facilitating Accenture , a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company in conducting various environmental awareness programmes as part of their Environment month celebrations from 16 May to 13 June 2009 .

CEE organized a visit for members of Bhoomi club of Accenture to an organisation in Hyderabad which develops solar dryers. The focus was to help understand the concept of harnessing solar energy as alternative source of energy. The volunteers interacted with scientists and professors working in the sector and discussed about the possibilities of using solar energy in daily life.  

The club members and the girls painted on different aspects of environment on a cloth which was hung in the hostel dormitories .

A visit to a girls' orphanage involved club members in orienting the girls on various issues pertaining to environment through games like Web of life to understand the relatedness in nature and depletion of natural resources. The club members were also involved in an awareness programme on solid waste management conducted in colonies around Hussain Sagar Lake .

The members distributed cloth bags along with vegetable seeds and saplings to 100 households in the area.

RCE Conference

The fourth international conference of RCEs (Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD) was held back-to-back with the 5 th World Environmental Education Conference (5WEEC) in Montreal , Canada . The conference was organized by RCE Montreal and was held at the famous symbol of Montreal , the Biosphere, from 13 to 15 May 2009 . This year, as in the past, the annual conference brought together RCEs from various parts of the world in order to st rengthen the RCE global network by sharing experiences with and learning from each, and building relationships, communication and collaborative projects.

The idea of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development, proposed and supported by The United Nations University (UNU) through its Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) has gained strength? taken off, and there are now 62 RCEs around the world. Six of those are in India , the largest number in any country other than Japan . Four of those RCEs, namely, Guwahati, Kodagu, Lucknow and Pune, each initiated by CEE, were acknowledged in 2007, while the other two RCE Bangalore( initiated by CEE) and Delhi (by TERI) were acknowledged in 2009.

From L to R:
(Backrow)- Simanta Kalita (RCE Guwahati), Kartikeya Sarabhai (Director, CEE), Sanskriti Menon (RCE Pune), Charles Hopkins (Chair, CEE Canada ).

(Front row)- Prithi Nambiar (Director, CEE Australia ), Kiran Chokkar (Indian focal point for RCEs), Preeti R Kanaujia (RCE Lucknow), Shyamalamani (RCE Kodagu

During the WEEC a few workshops were organized by the RCEs to provide an overview of opportunities and challenges in various areas in which the RCEs work. Kiran Chhokar, along with Heila Lotz-Sisitka, facilitated the workshop on Supporting Higher Education Institutions for ESD. During the RCE Conference, the discussions were organized in thematic groups and also in continental groups. Shyamala Mani was one of the facilitators of the thematic session on biodiversity where the participants decided to focus on the Biodiversity COP-10 to be held in October 2010. Sanskriti was one of the facilitators of the thematic group on urban challenges, and Kiran co-facilitated the thematic group on Higher Education.

All the CEE members also participated actively in the different activities at WEEC. Asian continental group discussions and in poster presentations to highlight the initiatives and activities being undertaken by their respective RCEs.

CEE organized a visit for members of Bhoomi club of Accenture to an organisation in Hyderabad which develops solar dryers. The focus was to help understand the concept of harnessing solar energy as alternative source of energy. The volunteers interacted with scientists and professors working in the sector and discussed about the possibilities of using solar energy in daily life.  

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