Corazón Verde at Colegio Colombo Britanico
Posted: 12 January 2022
Corazón Verde, or ‘green heart’ is our dedicated environmental program at Colegio Colombo Británico. It’s main aim is to increase community awareness of the relationship between humans and the environment, and how we can reduce our schools impact on the planet and develop a commitment to sustainability within our students. This initiative carries out activities where students interact directly with the environment and get back to nature.
Our school is really passionate about looking after the environment. From students, to staff through to the wider community we all play a part in making sure we are taking care of our planet. In our school, we pride ourselves on multiple environmental education initiatives that promote eco-friendliness and environmental awareness.
Our students are Corazón Verde advocates within our school and community, and raise awareness around environmental issues to help mitigate mans impact on the planet. They feel a sense of responsibility to positively manage energy sources, water, waste, food, pollution, and to repair, reuse and recycle, using natural resources responsibly, locally and ethically. They engage in service activities to clean the River Pance, practice reforestation and visit schools in the local area to teach children how to recycle and to take care of our environment.
Our students also take a leadership role in tackling any ecological problems they find. Below are some of the initiatives we are working on:
Composting: Our large campus has around 580 trees and a wide variety of beautiful birds and small animals such as guatines, iguanas and squirrels, and naturally lends itself to this type of initiative. We have abundant gardens filled with flowers and a beautiful stream that flows through our campus.
Due to the number of trees we have on campus we were faced with the problem of masses of leaf litter and organic waste smothering our grass. The school campus produces 8 cubic meters of organic waste every fifteen days, which all needs to be collected, and stored ready for collection and disposal. This led to rodents and insects starting to invade this facility which was concerning, especially since they can create illnesses and infections, not to mention that the disposal and transport of this waste was quite expensive.
In response to this we decided to implement our own composting system.
Firstly we collect all the fallen leaves or tree pruning’s and transfer them to the composting heaps. We treat the mulch on site with microorganisms and water over the course 16 weeks. Once its ready, we pack it up and sell within the community. The money raised through this scheme is then reinvested in local schools that we work with.
It was a great way to make the most of what we had and we ended up getting a nice surprise from it, which was natural fertilizer. We got so much to the point where we decided to create another step in this project and have a school vegetable garden where we could plant vegetables and teach the younger students about the importance of agriculture and composting. We also created a nursery garden where we have started the process of growing trees and once the seedling is big enough, we plant it somewhere in our school. When we are able to, we collect a lot of these small trees and a group of students go somewhere in Cali that needs reforestation and we plant the trees together. Our future goal is to create a team of schools in Cali where students can work together to plant more trees around our city and share some of the plants we grow.
Show your Solidarity: This is a campaign where we collect the lids from plastic bottles. We put small stations all around the school where people can deposit their plastic lids, to incentivize them even further we put a small basketball hoop on each box so that people can try throwing their lids into the box. Once the lids are collected, we sell them and with the money we earn we donate the funds to a charity called Carlos Portela, that supports children with cancer who need help accessing doctors and medical help. It is a project that is very special to us because not only does it help the environment but children who need support, so we hope to continue it for a long time.
Stop and Save your Batteries: This campaign encourages our students to safely dispose of used batteries correctly so that we don’t contaminate the environment and our landfills. Students and staff alike are encouraged to bring their used batteries and put them in the designated boxes that are located around the school. Furthermore, any batteries that the school itself uses are also put in the boxes.
Bring your Water Bottle: This campaign encourages the CCB community to avoid using disposable sing-use plastics and use their own water bottles. We have installed drinking fountains throughout the campus so water bottles can be refilled if necessary. By doing this, we hope to reduce the use of single use plastic bottles.
Save Energy, Save Water, Save our Planet: Everyone within our school community is taught the value and importance of our natural resources and is encouraged to turn off lights, taps and air conditioning when they leave a empty room.
Cleaning Rivers and Reforestation Campaigns: We regularly organise groups of students to clean up local rivers and plant tress within the community.
Disposing Medicine: Members of the CCB community can bring in expired medicine and treatments and the school ensures they are disposed of correctly.
Environmental Awareness Campaign: This is one of our most important campaigns because here we focused on teaching students, teachers, parents and staff about the importance of looking after the environment. We used #EcoCitizen as our slogan and focused on spreading awareness on the importance of nature and showed some ways we can look after our planet. We continuously promote this campaign throughout the school with posters and presentations.
Our Corazón Verde initiative enables our students to develop a commitment to sustainability that sits on a foundation of knowledge, skills, values and motivations for action. All of this allows them to maintain their own wellbeing – and that of their community and the planet – in an increasingly interconnected world.
What we are teaching our students today is going to affect their lifestyle choices in the coming years, and will help change the world and environment. By teaching our students about sustainability we are giving them the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions, plan for the future, and maintain a healthier planet.
- It is very important to be genuinely passionate about protecting the environment and raising awareness in the community. Start this from the inside of our homes and expand those eco-friendly strategies to the rest of the world.
- It is important that when making a program like Corazón Verde, there is a lot of promotion that encourages students to participate by telling them the benefits of their help and how it can help their futures as well.
Author: Myriam Polo De Molina , RS Rep and students