Lesley Sleight from Queen Elizabeth II High School in Peel, joined the Earthwatch expedition Dolphins of Greece in the summer of 2008. As part of an all-teacher team, she worked as a research assistant helping Earthwatch scientists to understand and combat the threats to bottlenose dolphins and their ecosystem. The teachers also worked together to devise educational resources for use in the classroom.
Returning to lessons at the start of the school year in September, Lesley helped her students to develop environmental projects of their own. And now, five students have made it through to the finals of the 2009 Volvo Adventure competition.
Lesley says, "The project must have been of an outstanding standard to have been considered in the top 10 out of 373 projects. The project started three years ago and its aim was to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from school transport. It was calculated that 4,490 trees need to be planted to offset a year of travelling. So far, 2,000 trees have been planted."
She adds, "This year, every year 7 pupil planted their own tree on the school ground. A tree nursery has been set up, a bicycle shed constructed from recycled plastic bottles and off-cuts of timber. Cycling projects have been organised and on April 29 pupils and staff are being encouraged to cycle to school, creating a ‘cycling bus'. Staff pick up students en route and ride with them to school. Tea and toast will be freely distributed when they arrive."
The Volvo Adventure, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, is an educational programme that rewards environmental activities and the decision-makers of the future. The competition is open to young people from around the world aged 13 to 16. A total of 373 projects were submitted from 56 countries.
The Queen Elizabeth II group will present their project to an international jury and an audience of Swedish school students in June. They will also join in a workshop to create the text for an Environment Conference Report which is supplied to government and UN representatives.
In 2008 Lesley was among 24 teachers and educators who had the opportunity to experience hands-on conservation research on an Earthwatch expedition. This year, 36 teachers will be selected to join an Earthwatch educator expedition. Visit the Earthwatch website if you would like to apply, but don't delay - the closing date for applications is 9 April 2009.
A teacher from the Isle of Man who joined an Earthwatch expedition for educators is helping her students along the path to environmental success.