The Hopkins Holy Family Primary School Eco-Club was founded in May 2015 by Landi Burns, a South African living in Hopkins. The idea came from her involvement in working with the Children in The Wilderness Program in Africa (CITW) Eco-Clubs. These Eco-Clubs are in the rural schools of various African communities, and give all learners who are interested in the environment a chance to meet, learn, discuss and expand their knowledge of environmental issues.
The Purpose of the Eco-Club is to awaken children’s environmental awareness and to widen their knowledge and understanding of the environmental problems and solutions within the immediate as well as broader areas that the children live in.
Each week between 10-30 children meet for an hour and learn about many different aspects of the environment. Often volunteers like the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) are invited to do a 45 minute presentation.
The club rules before every lesson are:
- Respect towards each other – so one person talks at a time
- No fighting or bullying
- Have fun
“My favourite lessons were ‘Manatees’ and ‘Everyone can make a difference’, especially the latter. It was very special as the children learnt that a smile can make someone’s day special and how not littering can make such a big difference in the village,” said Landi.
Unfortunately Landi had to move back to Africa, but luckily for the children the Eco-Club remains active and The Hamanasi Green Team have taken on the challenge to keep this Eco-Club going.
Our first few classes went well. In the first class when the children were asked to share one activity they enjoy doing and one reason why they joined the Eco- Club, their responses varied. Several members expressed because they want to learn more about the environment and how to protect it. After about four very enthusiastic replies, we got to Paul Bradley Jr, who said after introducing himself; “Well I like to eat! And I think we should visit Hamanasi so we can get good food!”
The Holy Family School Principal Natasha Acosta, said that the biggest problem with litter is that there are not enough trash bins on the school property. So this project was taken on by the Eco-Club and on their last class for the school year they erected three trash bins around the school. A job well done and something they can be very proud of.