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Joseph Natoli, SFSF Project Director

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Your School EcoNewsletter

You can do it.... requires 4 keen students
Produce a 4 double sided A4 page local Environmental Newsletter!

No it doesn’t have to be an impossible dream. If your school is already environmentally active the stories are already there!. They just need to be written...

One effective way to do this project is to give it to four keen students as part of a literacy/computer/environment activity. Naturally they still need your support.

Your students need to know what types of stories can be part of the newsletter. Look up the SFSF website and you will see a huge range of ideas. What we particularly suggest would be:

  • Your schools achievements with recycling and waste reduction programs
  • The other environment projects you are undertaking or would like to do (particularly if you can gather community support!)
  • Stories about children's experiences in National Parks
  • Your children’s and school views on the importance of protecting and enhancing the environment.

Your editors should not write all the stories. Their role would be to encourage particular stories from students and staff, collate and produce the newsletter. They might even be able to find a local sponsor who would like to support printing of the newsletter in return for recognition.

"The SFSF EcoNewsletter has been a fantastic way for schools to really show their communities what they consider valuable. Give your students the chance to show their leadership"


Why should you be involved?

Schools for a Sustainable Future knows that many schools, teachers and communities are concerned about our environmental future and are taking positive actions to make a difference. However the reality of schools is that there are many other priorities to be addressed.

When it comes to highlighting what is happening in our schools academic results. reading , maths sport music and Technology seem to be key features.

So SFSF has decided that, for once, students and schools should have the chance to be recognised for their work on the environment and create an opportunity to speak to your community.

You probably wonder how can young people make an impact with their concerns. Well it has already happened in Melbourne. Just this year students from Trinity Grammar invited Nelson Mandela to Australia. As a result of their letter he came and produced one of the most powerful messages for peace and reconciliation we have heard for many years.

Again in 1992 a 12 year old girl spoke to thousands of world leaders at the Earth Summit in Brazil. Read what she had to say (click here) and you will understand how your voice can be heard.


What do we want to achieve?

We want your school to focus on the environment both in and out of school, what you are doing about preserving and enhancing it, and how you might improve what you do in the future.

We want you to learn about some of the issues that are affecting our world and will certainly affect you as you grow up.

Finally we want you to touch your local community with your writings and ideas. We think that if each school is able to just influence their families and neighbors then the effects can be dynamic.


How will we do it?

In practical terms most schools will opt for a small team of students to be responsible for most of the work. This could easily be a special project for that group that encompasses English, research, organisation and IT skills.


What can be in your newsletter?

This is a great opportunity to Brainstorm. If this is going to be a project that is intended to involve a number of classes and people then you have every chance of coming up with some exciting ideas.

Perhaps the first question you should put on the board is WHY?

  • Why should we be concerned about the environment?
  • Are Australian rivers dying?
  • Should we worry about running out of water?
  • Should we reduce reuse and recycle?
  • Are thousands of scientists deeply concerned about our future?

If you start to think along these lines then you might be able to write, research and investigate stories along some of the following lines.

What does your schools doing in the grounds and in the classroom as far as environmental projects?
  • Make it sound interesting and exciting?
  • What changes have happened as a result of your programs?
  • Why do you do them?
  • What are your plans for the future

What environmental activities do you take part in your community?

  • Again ask why these are being done?
  • What else should our governments be doing?

What is your school achieving through programs like Waste Wise, Water Watch, Saltwatch, Energy Smart, Worming into the Community?

  • Have they changed the way the school works?
  • What do you want your parents and friends to do as a result?

What are your plans for the future?

  • Would you like to raise money or interest for some particular environment project? This newsletter could be a great way to obtain sponsorship or simply raise money through sales.


Do we just have to write about our school?

No! This is an opportunity for students to do a story about almost any aspect of how we are dealing with environment issues . Some ideas:

  • Potential new technologies that could help solve problems
  • Reviews of books or videos that say something about the topic
  • Interviews with local politicians on their environmental views
  • A story about environmental organisations and what they are trying to achieve. Consider The Australian Conservation Foundation, Eco Recycle Victoria, Gould League, David Suziki Foundation, Greenpeace and plenty of others,
  • Examination of local environmental issues i.e. salinity, loss of species
  • How new laws, new ways of thinking, or simply determined actions have helped restore particular environments.
  • What is happening to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. In many cases you may already have units of work that have been completed this years that really deserve a wider audience. Please use them!


What if we have too many stories?

Well you could put extra articles on your schools web site and send readers to the site if they are interested. If you can include a brief mention of the articles in your newsletter some people will respond.

Your newsletter can include poetry, pictures, plans.


What about other people writing for us?

In moderation - no problem. If you can find a person with a great idea for a story in your community certainly invite them to include it in your publication. If they can share their ideas with your class and explain what they are doing - all the better.


How imaginative can I really be?

How long is a piece of string? Do you want to imagine you are writing your newsletter 10, 20, 50 years into the future? Go for it!

Do you feel like being funny? Have a go. Just remember this is going to your family and friends and we are trying to make them think about environmental issues and your school.


How do we promote our newsletter?

Another opportunity to brainstorm. Your Eco Newsletter is your way of influencing your local community. It may also be a way of raising money or interest.

So perhaps you could:

  • Include it as part of a school newsletter
  • Go to a number of friendly local stores and ask them to stock it for you. You may like to leave a box for people to leave a donation to help cover costs.
  • Perhaps you local paper will cover your newsletter as a special story. Try them and see!


How good does our newsletter have to be?

This is solely your decision as a teacher. Only you will know the range of ability in your school, the amount of time you have to work with students and what your school will feel comfortable about promoting

. We all know that for some children very basic work is actually their very best - and needs to be recognised as such. Likewise there will only be a few students who could tackle some of the ideas and topics suggested. But perhaps this is the opportunity to give them some responsibility and recognition.

SFSF would like to see at least two really well written and researched articles in each newsletter. We anticipate that the rest of the material will be proof read and tidied up with either students working together or teacher guidance.

Do you have ideas you would like to share on this project? Please forward them to us and we will include them on the site.

Joseph Natoli

1. ReadMeFirstPub.txt
2. Newsletter template
- 281KB Publisher 98
1. Newsletter template - 76KB Zipped


School Resources - These news stories were written for THE AGE by Claire Miller.
We hope you find them of use when thinking about what to write for your newsletter.

Blueprint    Climate Change    Footprint    Freeway    Glenelg Park    Green    Owls
Why we should worry about orang-utans?


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Schools For a Sustainable Future

1 Curdies St.
E. Bentleigh Vic. 3165
Joe Natoli
Ph: (03) 9579-7224     Fax: (03) 9579-6153      Mobile: 0411-568-523

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