An eco-club is a focal point for environmental activity and projects within a school. It's usually made up of a mix of pupils, teachers and staff, with activity driven and delivered by pupils.
An eco-club can help people engage with important environmental issues like climate change which will affect this generation of children and young people as they grow older.
An eco-club is a great way to engage pupils with decisions about how the school is run, as well as an exciting way of engaging pupils with the curriculum. It can help the school to save energy and money, freeing up resources for use where they are needed most.
Many school eco-clubs have expanded their activities to include engagement with parents, governors, local environmental groups and local businesses. And people participating in eco-clubs – young and old – have a chance to build new skills and knowledge.
The easiest way to get pupils involved with an eco-club is to ask for volunteers! You may want to bring together pupils from the same year group or to have representatives from every school year.
Once you have started your eco-club, you will need to think about how you will involve pupils in future years. It is nice to bring in new pupils each year as they bring new ideas. Older children can act as mentors, although they should not dominate the discussions and decision making.
You will also need to think about what happens if you are not available to run the eco-club for any reason. Who is your back-up? Which other teachers could take on some or all of the role?
You could carry out projects across a number of themes; we have listed these below.
We'd encourage you to start with a focus on saving energy – that's what Untapped is all about! Untapped can help you to understand how energy is used in your school and find ways to save energy. You can read more about how Untapped works here.
Energy – understanding how your school uses electricity and heating, taking steps to reduce energy use, measuring how much energy has been saved
Transport – looking at how people travel to and from school, local air quality, road safety
Food – where food comes from including gardening, different options (e.g. fair trade, organic), food waste and composting
Water – understanding how your school uses water, taking steps to reduce water use, measuring how much water has been saved
Purchasing and waste – understanding the types of products used in school, finding opportunities to use them more efficiently (so the school can buy less), reducing waste, recycling
It's important to try and measure where you're starting from and what you've achieved. It's also valuable to measure a few weeks or months after each activity: sometimes people change their behaviour but it doesn't stick.
Untapped is designed to help you measure where you're starting from and what you achieve when it comes to saving energy.
The most successful eco-clubs are those which share and celebrate their successes. Ask your eco-club members to come up with ideas for how to tell people what they have done. You might want to share your successes with other pupils in school (e.g. through assemblies), with parents (e.g. on the school website) or with governors (e.g. through a report to the next Governors' Meeting). You may also find that the local newspapers are interested in what your eco-club is doing.
Please send us a message via Facebook or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will also find a "Behaviour Change" Powerpoint and some further information about changing people's behaviour that you can use to create initiatives within your school here.