2015 ECF EECA Sharing Session

Written on . Posted in ESD

2 March 2015 / Did you know that the Government has a $5 billion dollar fund for supporting community green projects? On Monday we were invited to join an afternoon at the Science Museum to find out more at the annual ECF EECA Sharing Session.

The Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) was set up by the Government in 1994 to provide funding for local non-profit organisations (including universities) and community groups to conduct research and for energy conservation, waste reduction and environmental education projects and activities.

ECF has ambitious aims and projects must measurably contribute to the overall environment of Hong Kong, raise environmental awareness of the local community, or mobilise the community to take action to improve the environment.

In 2014 the ECF reported total equity of $5.96 billion following a cash injection of $5 billion (interestingly- of which $4.7 billion was invested in the Exchange Fund, used as a reserve to back the Hong Kong dollar). Some $205 million was distributed to 383 projects in 2014. This must make Hong Kong one of the best places for public funding support for green projects in the world!

The Government is encouraging organisations to use for ECF to support Hong Kong’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) related projects and in line with this made Biodiversity one of the four priority themes for 2014-2016.

There was a full house in the Science Museum auditorium for an informative session with a schedule of presentations, exhibition panels and Q&A.

Ryan Leung of Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre gave an overview of Biodiversity and related issues as potential areas for action.

Lo Wai-yan of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society presented on a unique programme to engage senior citizens in birdwatching and biodiversity in 10 urban parks, with some 500 senior citizens successfully trained as birdwatching guides, in turn reaching some 7,000 members of the public over one year.

Mr Kwong Hing Siu of Ying Wa Primary School and Mr Pang Ching-kuen of China Holiness Church Living Spirit College talked about their schools’ experience of setting up organic farms on the school roof and in a 30,000 square foot former carparking space shared by three schools respectively. Mr Pang candidly shared the downs as well as ups of their experimental organic farming eg natural disasters- a good learning experience for the students nonetheless!

Dr Samuel Chui of the Environmental Protection Department and EECA Sub-Vetting Committee member gave a short presentation with advice to applicants reminding that the goal is to measurably improve participants’ environmental knowledge leading to behaviour change, and that projects must be sustainable, ideally coordinating with broad stakeholders and partners (helpful to lower costs).

The next round of EECA General Projects closes on 20 April with $13 million available; good luck! For details see EECA website.

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Green Politics talk- St Bonaventure Primary School

Written on . Posted in ESD, Water

9 January 2015 / We were invited to St. Bonaventure Catholic Primary School, Diamond Hill in Kowloon to give an interactive talk on “Green Politics- Do you have the will to power?”

This talk was developed by our Education Associate Director Dr Vickie Yau for UNESCO Hong Kong Association’s Fostering Global Citizenship Youth Programme 2014-15.

Climate change and globalisation are themes in the Liberal Studies curriculum and this talk goes beyond the basics to engage students in controversies and challenges, and our role and power to make a difference.

Over the 1 hour session, 100 Year 4 students were challenged to think about sustainable and unsustainable aspects of their daily lives such as water, clothing, food and to discuss and present solutions.

Afterwards we were privileged to be shown around the school by Principal Ada Cheung showcasing the students’ urban rooftop farming, green roofs, green walls, gardens, wind turbines, the citrus cleaner composting wall and more. St. Bonaventure was one of the first primary schools to achieve the Hong Kong Green School Award.

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TTT joins Wetland Link International

Written on . Posted in Biodiversity, ESD, Water

Tai Tam Tuk Eco Education Centre has become the newest member of Wetland Link International!

We are Hong Kong’s third member, after Mai Po Wildlife Education Centre and Nature Reserve, and Hong Kong Wetland Park. Read our WLI profile here (Chinese version here).

What is WLI?
The Wetland Link International (WLI- pronounced ‘wellie’) programme is a global network of more than 350 wetland education centres, first set up in 1991. WLI is endorsed by the RAMSAR Convention and coordinated by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) UK.

WLI was created to help organisations and governments develop CEPA (Communication, Education and Public Awareness) at wetland sites through wetland education centres.

What is a wetland education centre?
They bring people and wildlife together for the benefit of both.

They offer numerous opportunities for CEPA activities, formal (schools, universities) and non-formal (general public) learning.

They can be visitor facilities on wetland sites, environmental education centres, field study centres, zoos, museums, community-based projects and programmes.

Cultural heritage is also a feature of wetland education centres.

As WLI members we will work towards promoting wetland CEPA under RAMSAR, and support members running and establishing wetland education centres worldwide.

What is RAMSAR?
The RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty dating from 1971 now signed by more than 160 countries, for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Designated RAMSAR sites are wetlands of international importance which governments have agreed to protect and ensure their effective management. China has designated 46 RAMSAR sites including Mai Po Marshes and Inner Deep Bay in Hong Kong.

For more information see www.ramsar.org.

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TTT & Utahloy International School won GOLD in Greenest Team for the Coastal Clean-up

Written on . Posted in ESD, Events

One of the activities during the camp at Pak Lap was a beach cleanup.  Over the course of 3 days, each student team of about 11 students and 3 staff spent 1 hour picking up trash and about 2 hours sorting and accounting for all the items.

We are proud to be part of the HK Cleanup Challenge among 418 teams and 51,064 participants. Our team collected a modest 290 KGS of trash, which is a very small fraction of the total collected by all the participants, a shocking 3,894,000 KGS in 2014.

The Greenest Team Award is awarded to the team who have recycled the largest amount of items.

Our team recycled 811 plastic bottles, 25 glass jars/bottles, and 18 aluminum cans.

Photos of the award ceremony can be viewed here.

Information on the HK Cleanup can be found here.

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TTT @ Utahloy International School: Pak Lap Camp

Written on . Posted in ESD, Marine conservation, Water

(13-17 October 2014) By Vickie

It was the “week without walls” at Utahloy International School, Zengcheng. Grade 7 and 8 of the school totalling 33 students and 5 staff came to Pak Lap in Sai Kung Hong Kong to do an environmental camp on Trash!

The group was divided into 3 teams rotating between (a) Beach clean-up and hiking, (b) Kayaking, and (c) Abseiling and Raft Building that aim to foster teamwork, leadership skills and service to the community that are some of the key pillars of an IB program.

We were involved for the Beach clean-up activity and we adopted the methodology by Hong Kong Clean-up to contribute to the Trash Report 2014. In total, we cleaned up 290kg of debris that was washed up on the beach at Pak Lap Tsai (22.352769, 114.363797).

In total, we had 42 members working in 3 groups over 3 days, 1 hour of cleaning per day, and about 1.5 to 2 hours of sorting each day. We picked up 811 plastic bottles, 2003 plastic bottle cap, about 5 garbage bags of styrofoam, glass that can fill 2 fruit boxes in the market, 354 straws, 144 disposable utensils, 74 cigarette lighters and about 40KGS of rope and net. The most peculiar item found during the clean up was 127 shoe or sole of a shoe.

The school is committed to a sustainable campus and aims toward a minimal waste campus. Everything is recycled and all food waste go into compost that feed their organic farm. The campus is built within a botanical garden that is managed by a very passionate cultivator of trees and shrubs. Some of the trees on the campus were relocated from the areas that were displaced by the building of the Three Gorges Dam.

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UNDESD Student Summer Institute 2014

Written on . Posted in ESD

(12-16 August 2014) Summer ESD with UNESCO-HK and Utahloy International School at Pak Lap, Sai Kung

Over one week, students from an international school in Guangdong Province and local schools from Hong Kong came together for a summer learning program on sustainability. Our Foundation was involved in the first couple of days in Hong Kong and provided a workshop and ongoing discussion on water supply, environment, and civilization.

Although we had a lot of rain over the couple of days, students participated in an enthusiastic manner as it was a rare opportunity to learning in a world class geo park in Hong Kong.

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TTT @ UNESCO-DHI Aqua Republica

Written on . Posted in ESD, Water

(22 March 2014) The Eco Challenge for Water and Environment, UNEP-DHI was brought to HK by several partnering organizers. Aqua Republica is a virtual game modelled on real scenarios of water, environment, and human development. Students are required to coordinate and problem solve in order to develop and manage water, land and natural resources to maximize the economic and social welfare that is vital to ecosystems.

Over 60 students from local secondary schools attended the day-long gaming challenge at Science Park. The Eco Challenge will be held again in 2015 in Hong Kong, and we hope to see you there.

More photos here

More information on next year’s event here.

Educational resources for HK’s first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Written on . Posted in Biodiversity, ESD, Resources

Happy Chinese New Year!

In the Year of the Horse our focus will be on Biodiversity education and awareness.  Did you know that in 2014 HK will finish drafting its first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP)?

HK’s BSAP is due in 2015 under the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), signed by a record 193 countries at the time, to stop the global loss of plants, animals and habitat that support all life on earth.

Since early last year we have joined a diverse group of NGOs, universities, businesses and industries, to help the government formulate HK’s future biodiversity strategy and fulfil its obligations under the CBD.  With feedback due in June, we are all working hard doing research and testing initiatives, to provide practical, actionable and effective recommendations.

The next stage in helping the BSAP succeed is making biodiversity values visible and mainstream for HK people.  To do this we have joined a broad informal alliance of scientists and NGOs to form Hong Kong Biodiversity Action- with shared goals of helping HK people of all walks of life understand the benefits and services provided by nature, and supporting the government’s conservation efforts.  So when the BSAP is ready for action next year, everyone will want to join in!

For Tai Tam Tuk Eco Education Centre, supporting HK’s BSAP means helping students and schools understand its background and aims.  So we have designed a set of 20 slides for students, teachers and schools, to give a 10 minute presentation about the BSAP (yes, it is possible!).

The slides are supported by detailed notes so that anyone can understand this ambitious global convention, why HK is getting involved and what you as an individual can do.

Participants of our UNESCO-HK ESD 2013/14 Environment workshop received the first run of the slides, with broader delivery to partner schools over 2014 in progress.

Why not give it a go and tell us what you think.  After all, how better to learn than by learning to teach others?

Get in touch if you would like to find out more, and join us to spread the word in your school and community!

Learn more about the BSAP from the AFCD’s BSAP webpages.

Update

19 Feb 2014 / We’ve updated the slides with new graphics, and added a “Pechakucha“ version- with less text for snappy delivery, designed to be given in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, with 20 seconds for each slide.  Timed script coming soon! 

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TTT x UNESCO-HK ESD 2013/14: Biodiversity Workshop

Written on . Posted in Biodiversity, ESD, Events, Marine conservation, Past Events

23 November 2013 / Students and teachers from Shatin Methodist College, CUHKFAA Chan Chun Ha Secondary School, Ling Liang Church M H Lau Secondary School and St Paul’s Secondary School joined us at the Eco Education Centre for a workshop on Biodiversity of Tai Tam Tuk.

This was our second workshop hosted in a series organised by UNESCO-HK’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Learning Programme 2013/14 under the Environment theme, with this year’s focus: “Preserve the environment for sustainable development”.

We structured the workshop to facilitate learning about the rich biodiversity of HK’s diverse ecosystems, but also to explore the relationship between conservation and sustainable development.  What is the value of protecting biodiversity?  How have international conventions decided to manage global biodiversity?  What is HK doing about it?  What can we all do about it- starting locally?

The session was led by TTT’s Vickie Yau collaborating with Dr Terence Ng, a post-doctoral fellow at The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of HK, in neighbouring Cape D’Aguilar.

Dr Ng received his PhD in marine science in 2013.  His research focuses on the poorly understood sexual selection strategies of marine snails.  Students were lucky to watch Dr Ng’s footage of the snails in action!

Students learned about the environmental science of intertidal ecology of HK and the Tai Tam Tuk mangroves, and received practical guidance on identifying common local mangroves and associated fauna such as mudskippers and Buddhist crabs.  Jenna Ho Marris, one of our founders, gave a short presentation about HK’s first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which is due in 2015.

Students were then guided to conduct independent field studies of the physical and biological features of the exposed intertidal zone by the Eco Education Centre.  Vickie closed the session with a reminder about plastic marine debris and its impact on biodiversity.

Thanks to Dr Terence Ng and SWIMS for their support, and to volunteers Ken Wong, Maggie Yu and Law Shun Hei of the City University Photographic Society.

Learn more about Terence’s work, watch his winning presentation at the Three Minute Thesis Competition 2012 here.

More photos from the workshop can be accessed at UNESCO-HK’s online album.

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