Schools are to explore and celebrate the Isle of Man’s UNESCO Biosphere status with a special week of activities.
The Isle of Man is the only entire nation member of UNESCO’s world network of Biospheres.
Globally, Biospheres promote conservation, learning and sustainable development. UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man has a complementary layer of local aims and ambitions, delivered under five Es, including education.
All the Island’s schools have signed up as Partners of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man and promote its aims through learning both in and out of the classroom.
Throughout next week, starting on 27 June, schools will mark this partnership by exploring what Biosphere status means and how it benefits the Isle of Man.
The week has been chosen as it falls before the Isle of Man’s national week and as such schools will not only be learning about sustainability and environmental issues, they will also be focusing on our local traditions and Manx language and culture through a host of special lessons, speakers, trips out, crafts and creativity.
Jo Callister, Advisory Teacher for the Manx Curriculum and Climate Change, has worked with schools to provide the resources to support school’s activities. Groups and organisations such as Culture Vannin, Manx National Heritage, Manx BirdLife, Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch, Manx Wildlife Trust and One World Centre have provided support for schools online and through educational visits.
Clare Barber MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
‘The week gives young people an opportunity to celebrate what it means to be citizens of the world’s only entire nation UNESCO Biosphere. It will hopefully inspire them to take positive actions for their Biosphere, now and in the future.’
Julie Edge MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said:
‘Our schools are proud Partners of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man and I am looking forward to seeing the innovative ways they demonstrate their commitment in this special week. We always support our schools in developing responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to local, national and global society, and initiatives such as UNESCO Biosphere enables them to do so.’
As part of the week the Yn Ellan Ain Garden (Year of Our Island Garden) in Station Road, St John’s, has had an environmentally friendly revamp. This is a community project, in the spirit of Biosphere, and a collaboration between the Isle of Man Prison and Probation Community Service Group, the Department of Education, Sport and Culture and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.
Schools, nurseries, St John’s Brownies and the Isle of Man Beekeepers are helping to reinvigorate the plots with plants that will attract biodiversity and there will be hidden ‘mooinjer veggey’ (little people) doors for visitors to find.
The groups have reused previous signage where they could and have welcomed a donated wooden shed from A1 Sheds.
Andy Sutton, from the Isle of Man Prison and Probation Service, said:
'We are really happy to be able to provide assistance with the UNESCO schools project. It provides our service users with a project to be proud of. They also gain basic horticultural experience while maintaining a community garden in the heart of St John’s for public use.’
For more information about UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man and its strategy ‘Working Together for a Sustainable Future’, visit www.biosphere.im