The Eco-School Club at St. John’s College in New Providence received their third green flag on Monday, becoming the first Eco-School to be given the honor this year. The green flag is the top level award recognized as a global symbol of excellence in environmental education and practice.
Students headed off the “Road to Green Flag” initiative with guidance from their teachers, organizing events and campaigns throughout the two-year span for the green flag renewal. Gardening, flora and fauna education, community cleanups, energy conservation and recycling were some of the ways students exercised sustainable practices on their school campus.
The green flag assessment is a part of BREEF’s Eco-Schools Programme that oversees the network of 43 recognized schools in The Bahamas. Schools that tick the boxes to qualify the eco- friendly criteria are awarded with the distinction of being a green flag school.
St John’s Eco-Schools Club member, and winner of BREEF’s 2022 Young Reporters for the Environment Competition, 12-year-old Eliana Bowe shared her excitement in being a part of the Eco-Schools Programme.
“It’s good to learn more about the environment and try to give back to it rather than just enjoying it. This opportunity helps us to share our knowledge about the environment and also learn more about it,” she said. Raising awareness about sustainable practices like recycling and energy conservation are actions that many more students in the country can empower themselves by doing, according to 14-year-old Eco Club member, Teasia Munroe.
“We have to take the time to research and figure out what’s really going on. In the Eco Club it’s our duty to lead by example to educate others so they would know how they can help to make the country a better place,” she explained.
Biodiversity being one of the key parts of the green flag assessment, gardening and being able to identify different types of plants are a big part of the St. John’s Eco Club activities. After leading the garden tour, 13-year-old Eco-Club member, D’Anthen Rolle Davis said that in the future he hopes that all schools would engage students in programmes that promote sustainability.
“I think every school should join in on this programme because we learn about the big negative effects that the little things like throwing a paper on the floor can have in the long term.” He continued, “You have to know what’s happening in your environment and how you can help to save the world.”
The teachers sat back as students took the reins during the presentation, to be assessed by BREEF Eco-Schools National Operator, Kevin Glinton and Commonwealth Brewery Sustainability Manager Kendria Ferguson. The youngsters spoke about their collaborations with other school clubs that resulted in an increased level of awareness and Eco Club membership.
BREEF’s Eco-Schools Bahamas (ESB) network is spread over six islands and consists of 43 schools (18 government and 25 private schools). Since 2009 the BREEF has been running the ESB programme free of charge through the generous support of many BREEF donors including the Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative. SJC is one of 14 Green Flag schools in the programme.