Are you and some friends at school interested in helping our environment and want to do more? Why not start a Green Team? Your Green Team can create and run projects and campaigns at your school to fix the environmental problems that you think are the most important to the kids at your school.
Green Team members are the most important kids in the school. They set a great example and encourage others to care for our environment. Green Teams are student leaders. Follow the steps to start a Green Team at your school.
Step 1. Who is going to be in the Green Team?
The first thing you need to do is find out whether there is anyone else at your school that wants to be a part of a Green Team. Ask around! Is there anyone in your class or your year level that is also interested in caring for our environmental and would like to be a part of a Green Team? Having kids from all grades in the Green Team means that there will be more ideas about what to do and more people to help kick some green goals. Your Green Team start out small but it will grow quickly, and together you’ll be able to make a real difference at your school and to our environment.
Invite your teachers to be green
You should also approach your teachers: you may have some teachers at your school that are interested in environmental issues, or you may already have an environmental coordinator at your school. Invite your teachers to join your Green Team! Ask your teachers to visit the Cool Australia site and read through the information around how they can be involved in a Green Team.
Ask your principal as well: your principal will be aware of some of the things the school is already doing to help our environment, like purchasing GreenPower or buying organic food for the tuck-shop or installing solar panels.
What about also trying to involve your grounds-person, cleaner or caretaker? They will know what things your school is already doing for our environment, like installing energy or water saving devices around your school. They might also have a good understanding of how things work at your school, and how easy your green ideas for your school might be to do.
Step 2. Hold your first Green Team meeting!
After you have worked out that there are a few other people at your school that would like to be a part of a Green Team, it’s time to organise your first Green Team meeting!!!
Some things to think about when organising and holding your meeting:
a. Meeting time and place
You should try to pick a time for your meeting when you think you’ll be able to have as many people involved as possible. After school might not be so good – lot of people play sport or have other activities after school or have buses to catch and so can’t stick around school once it’s finished for the day.
You could have it in lunchtime, but just remember that maybe some teachers or parents might not be able to make it. Or you could talk to your teachers about having some time in assembly or another in-school time to talk about your Green Team. Assembly seems to work well because the whole school is there to hear all about it. Parents can be invited to attend.
Think about how parents could be involved in other ways. Parents might be able to help with weekend activities, or evening events, or school holiday programs, or they may be able to help the Green Team create newsletters or a blog during after school hours.
b. Who is in charge?
Do you have someone who can help run the first meeting? You will need someone who can raise the topics that you want to talk about and who can take notes around what is discussed. They don’t have to be in charge of the Green Team, but you will need someone to take charge of this first meeting.
c. Who will you invite?
While you could just invite the people who have said they are interested in being in a Green Team, why don’t you try and get as many people as possible to come along to the first Green Team meeting. Make a flyer or posters to advertise the Green Team meeting and put them around the school in places where you think they will easily seen.
On your flyer you will need to include the following things:
* Meeting time
* Meeting place
* Who is invited
Step 3. What will you talk about in your first Green Team meeting?
The big issue
In your first Green Team meeting you will probably want to think about the issues that your Green Team will focus on. Ask all the members of your team what they think are the big green issues at your school. You might think about recycling, rubbish in the schoolyard, lunch waste, water use and waste, energy use and waste, transport to and from school, local and organic food in the cafeteria, the plant and animal biodiversity at your school, or you might have a garden or creek that needs some love and care.
Once you’ve decided what area you would like your Green Team to focus on, think up a short sentence or statement that sums up what your vision for the Green Team is. For example, if you’ve decided that your team is going to focus on waste and recycling at school, your statement might be “The Green Team – making a cleaner, waste free school”. Or if you want to focus on the school’s biodiversity, your statement might be “The Green Team – creating a safer environment for the plants and animals of our school”. Or if you want to look at energy use, your statement might be “The Green Team – caring for our environment by saving energy”.
You should then begin to brainstorm how you could achieve this vision: What sort of things will you need? Will you need to talk to anyone? What can everyone do to help achieve the Green Team vision?
If you have decided that you want to focus on biodiversity at your school and want to have more plants and green areas to attract native animals, birds and insects, what do you have to do to get this done? You will need plants. How will you get these? Does your school already have plants you could use? Do you need to find some new ones? Can you grow your own? What sorts of plants will you plant? You may need to do some research and talk to your teachers and grounds person about these issues. Who will do the planting? Will it just be the Green Team or is everyone at your school invited? When will you do it? Who will look after them and make sure that they are watered and cared for? What will happen over the holidays? Who will look after them then?
Who is doing what?
You should think about what roles the members of your Green Team can take. You don’t necessarily need to have a leader, but it might be a good idea to have people take on tasks and jobs around running the Green Team. Think about the skills that people in your team have and try and use them best you can.
There some people who really like art. Perhaps they could be in charge of designing posters and flyers to advertise upcoming meetings.
Do you have someone who likes to record what was said in the meetings? This means writing down all the main points that were discussed in the meetings. Someone else can take on the role of making sure that everyone in the meetings has a chance to speak and have their say.
Get it out there
And finally, you should think about how you’re going to advertise your Green Team. Think about creating posters for the Green Team with your vision statement on them, so that everyone in your school will be reminded of what you’re doing, how they can help, and how they can get involved in the Green Team.
Put these posters around the school in places where kids hang out – in the schoolyard, in the toilets, on notice boards, or in the library. The idea is to encourage more students to think about the vision of the Green Team and how they can get involved.
Step 4. For later meetings
Once your Green Team is up and running, it will be time to think about the following:
Time for something new?
Is the project you started up and running and going well? Think it might be time to start another project? Can you manage a new project and still keep your other one going?
Get them involved
Another thing you might want to discuss is how you can get more mates involved. It would be great to have students from all grade levels in your team – actions can be taken by all classes.
A good way of getting more mates involved is to think of activities that suit everyone. Can you think of green activities that people of all ages would enjoy or could help out with? Most of us love being outside and spending time in a garden. Does your school garden or playground need some help?
Your Green Team can start by greening your garden. Student of all ages can get involved with preparing the soil, choosing and planting native plants, designing the garden, caring for the garden by watering and weeding, and checking out the changes in the garden and in your school environment.
The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) is running a schools program called Switched on Schools that your Green Team (and whole school) can get involved in. Visit their website to find out more.
Want to go bigger?
You can think about taking your Green Team beyond your school and into you local community. Your Green Team could work with other people or groups in your community to do things like cleaning up a local creek, or planting trees in a local park, or being involved in community or neighbourhood gardens. Your Green Team could organise a community campaign for waste and recycling, or water or energy saving.
Still want to know more? Anything we can do to help? Contact Cool Australia!