Green School Network

The Heschel Center, in partnership with the Karev Educational Initiative, has cultivated the Green School Network – a growing web of schools that have embraced sustainability as a central part of their educational vision.

Through the Green Network, over a hundred schools throughout the country, representing the wide gamut of the Israeli student body - Jewish and Arab, secular and religious, rich and poor, urban and rural – create environmental leadership and implement community-based projects, thus creating a bridge between schools and communities. We believe that these kinds of projects will develop a wider awareness for the environment among the Israeli public.

The Green Schools Network, in cooperation with the Karev Educational Initiatives, can now be found in over 600 schools throughout Israel. The Green School Network’s significant activities have resulted in a deepening of the Ministry of Environment's commitment to sustainability education, and the expansion of ties between governmental and non-governmental initiatives.

 

Thoughts from participants

"I feel that I have become a different kind of citizen, now understanding what personal responsibility means. Beforehand I gave students information, but I wasn’t trying to impact my students’ values and behavior. Environmental action helped me become more aware of myself; giving me the ability to lead and promote an educational process that influences others".

 - Ilana Kruchmer, Green School Network teacher-leader

 "To me, being an environmental leader is a mission. And I am proud to be among the people who are making the world a better place".

 - Yuval Malci, 10, Rosh Haayin

 Background

The Green Network -“HaReshet HaYeruka” - was established in Israel in 1998 with the aim of positioning environmental education on the agenda of Israeli schools. Today, it is a cutting-edge program that is creating a new paradigm for environmental education in Israel.

 We believe that school needs to be a place that teaches students to be responsible, critical citizens with a strong "sense of place" from which to act. With this in mind, the Green Network develops programs that support schools in Israel to heighten environmental literacy and "action competence" – that is, the willingness and ability of people to take action and create change towards greater environmental sustainability.

The Green School Network does this by:

Expanding environmental action in schools – The Green School Network support schools to cultivate grassroots environmental involvement including: setting up recycling centers in schools, water conservation, composting, organic gardens and local environmental campaigns. These activities actively involve parents and civic groups, raising awareness and impacting environmental attitudes in the wider community.

Empowering teachers for change – The Green School Network plays a significant role in strengthening teacher’s capacity as environmental educators in Israel. Through the Green Network, teachers meet colleagues, share ideas, study together and develop collaborative projects between schools. The Green Network also provides a context for expanding the discourse of environmental education amongst teachers, and serves as a vehicle for disseminating ideas, concepts and good practices in schools.

Empowering students for change – A highlight of the Green School Network activity throughout the year is the National Young Environmentalist Conference which brings together hundreds of young people from schools all over the country to meet and to learn about environmental issues and how to become activists. The National Conference is an opportunity to inspire young people that they are not alone in their hopes and dreams for a better world. An additional central aim is also highly practical: young citizens today are the leaders and policy makers of tomorrow. They can learn the skills and upgrade their "action competence" and capacity to act as involved citizens.

Green School Network - Along the Sea

The Heschel Center has teamed up with EcoOcean in educating Israeli school children on the values of keeping a healthy marine environment. Through the unique Along the Sea environmental education program, students are provided with a deeper understanding of marine ecology and marine environmental issues. The program helps to develop the knowledge and insights needed for critical thinking and aims to inspire children to become caring and active global citizens. Elisabeth Brown, a teacher from the Eshkol School in Akko has called Along the Sea "an inseparable part of our school's life" and adds that her students have become "environmentally aware children: they are constantly conscious of their influence on the environment and are persistent in their desire to protect and preserve it." In addition, more school principle involvement and support has recently resulted from the growing interest and success of the Along the Sea project. The number of schools and the number of students in the program has increased since the commencement of the program in 2005. In the past school year alone, 6,400 Israeli school children participated in at least two Along the Sea activities. With more and more student, teacher and principle involvement, the project's future seems bright.

The goals of Along the Sea program include:

  • Promotion of environmental and social education in the students' local areas.
  • Building a connection to the marine environment and its inhabitants by education, research activities, excursions, environmental activism and fun!
  • Enhancing the involvement of students, teachers, principals and parents by relevant environmental education.
  • Developing a wider public awareness, promoting environmental legislation and public activities for marine and coastal protection through education and initiated environmental activities.
  • Strengthening the web of connections within and between coastal communities in order to establish knowledge and capacities for community environmental activities.Introducing the principals of sustainability through environmental education.
  • Establish a broad and deep awareness among the students, their parents, teachers and principals for the marine environment in general and the sea and coast of Acre in particular.
  • Developing a thorough understanding of the consequences of the present state (pollution, litter, constructions, etc.) and promoting activities to improve the situation.
  • Strengthening the connection and sense of belonging of the students and the community to their surroundings by comparing past and present situations, which will increase their awareness and abilities to improve their quality of living.
The Heschel Center

The Heschel Center for Sustainability works to promote a sustainable Israel: a just and cohesive society, a robust and democratic economy, and a healthy and productive environment for all its residents, now and in the future.