Source: The Jewish Week
Michele Chabin writes about the most recent installment of Sviva Israel’s flagship project, Eco Connection, between the Chalamish School in Arad and the Temple Beth Miriam Eisenberg-Bierman Religious School in Elberon, N.J. Right now, Eco Connection has a network of eight Israeli and nine American elementary and middle schools whose students jointly study the program’s environmental curriculum.
During the first year, students learn how to measure their personal ecological footprint and ultimately how to reduce it and apply it to their schools and communities.
A major component of the curriculum is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and students learn, for example, why limiting the use of resources (reduction) is even more vital than recycling. Class projects have focused on food (not wasting it, composting it); transportation (public transportation, walk/bike to school days); and clothing (clothing exchanges, no shopping days).
During the second year, studies focus on Israel and the environment. Students learn about Clean Tech, Israeli water technology and solar energy.
Sviva Israel aims to raise the standards of environmental education in Israel; to create partnerships between Jewish youth in the U.S. and Israel; and to acquaint kids from every background with the Jewish sources that relate to the environment and other modern issues.
More than 50 schools in Israel and the U.S. have benefited from the organization’s programming since Sviva Israel launched in 2007.
Last month, the Eco Connection’s user-friendly curriculum was supplemented by Eco Campus, a bilingual online platform and social network for schools that includes virtual schools, kid-written blogs, a gallery to post photos, videos and text documents created by the schools; an ecological footprint calculator, games and more. The Eco Campus is all about reinspiring environmental literacy in our schools through providing high quality content, global connections, a fun experience and unlimited teacher support.
If they are able to find the funding, Carmi & Tamar Wisemon, who run Sviva Israel, hope to have 600 schools in their network by the 2014-15 school year.