By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This year, The British School, Rio de Janeiro is taking part in Escola Floresta, an environment program designed to teach pupils about the environment and reduce the carbon footprint of classes through reforestation. The first trees, grown on site at The British School, are ready to be planted into the Mata Atlântica forest.
There are currently more than fifteen schools involved in the project, with The British School’s Class Four taking part in every step of the process from the germination of the seedlings until they are ready to be planted.
Having to nurture and take care of their seedling through the year, the process is considered a practical way to teach students about the importance of environmental awareness and the effects of global warming and deforestation.
“All the schools that are involved in the project have their children learning environmental education in a very practical and fun way,” Adriana Andrade, Head of Admissions, Communications and Marketing Department of The British School told The Rio Times.
“This is growing their own trees, taking care of them all year long and finally preparing them for the reforestation event which takes place in late November at the beginning of the rainy season.”
The number of seedlings from each class is calculated to neutralize its annual carbon dioxide emissions based on the consumption habits of the students and teachers, designed to teach students how their daily lives impact the environment.
“The preservation and restoration of our forests is a topic that concerns all sectors of society. It is important to cultivate a responsible attitude towards the forest, realize actions for its preservation, and propagate its relevance for the economic, social and environmental life of Brazil,” the school’s Head of Upper Primary Simon Lee says of the project.
The project is coordinated by Sustentarte, and environmental NGO that works in cooperation with the Environmental Secretariat of Rio’s council and their own reforestation program. The weekly sessions in the school are led by two members of the organization, adapting their program to the needs of each school.
“The work methodology of the program consists of a mix of theoretical and practical elements that promote conversations, cultural events and encourage very strong links with many other areas of the TBS curriculum,” Mr. Lee continued.
The planting sites for the schools are chosen in coordination with the Prefeitura (council) and are integrated into larger reforestation projects.
“This year, Campo Grande was the selected spot because it is one of the areas where the Prefeitura will work in 2013-2014 and it has the proper conditions and infrastructure to receive a large group of children,” Ms. Andrade explained.
The British School, Rio de Janeiro, founded in 1924, has a long history of social and environmental projects, teaching their students to respect and value the world they live in. In 2012, they also founded a separate The British School Charity to assist various communities throughout Rio de Janeiro through different projects.
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