ENVIRONMENTAL FACET AT DANVILLE
At Danville Park Girls’ High School, we aim to raise awareness of current environmental issues and encourage each member of the Danville family to commit to sustainability, both at school and at home, for life. We also aim to create a culture of caring for our environment and making a difference by supporting local environmental organisations. Our goal is to have environmental issues integrated into every learning area of the curriculum.
We endeavour to make Danville learners realise that they are the face of a new generation who urgently need to show passionate commitment to ensuring the health of our planet as we cut consumption – buy less and use less – whilst reducing, reusing, recycling and even refusing if need be.
Danville has always had an environmental conscience. Since the 1970’s, Danville has had very active environmental societies in various forms. Participation in the annual Science Conservation Symposium culminated in the proclamation of Virginia Bush Nature Reserve in 1985.
ENVIROMENTAL FACET STRUCTURE
The environmental facet at Danville is overseen by environmental co-ordinator, Mrs Mann.
Two Environmental Prefects are appointed annually to oversee the environmental facet. They meet weekly with a group of between 12 and 14 Grade 11 Environmental Monitors. The different portfolios include litter and recycling, worm farm, vegetable garden, water and electricity, environmental days and environmental assembly. Class Prefects also pass on any important environmental information or encourage classes to participate in various drives (e.g. paper collection drive). The school’s RCL has also become involved in this facet and has spearheaded a number of environmental initiatives. There is an RCL representative for every class.
The current Environmental Society was started in 2000 and is still going strong. The society, headed by a Chair and Vice-Chairperson, meets weekly and is open to learners from all grades. Activities include hosting speakers on anything from snakes to bats and frogs, to planting indigenous seeds and making products out of waste. An annual outing to places like Steinbank Nature Reserve, CROW, Botanic Gardens and Palmiet Nature Reserve or a guided hike along the 11 km Fish Eagle Trail are always a highlight. Learners are given a greater appreciation of natural areas by experiencing such areas first hand.
The school invites a number speakers to address the whole school on various topics of environmental interest. In 2018, Monkey Helpline addressed the school on monkeys and Janet Solomon showed her award winning move called Becoming Visible. This highlighted the effect of prospecting for gas offshore on marine organisms. In 2019 we were addressed by various organisations. Chic Mama’s gave us an in depth account of the damaging effects of fast fashion on the environment. Blood Lions ‘YouthForLions’ highlighted some shocking practices going on in South Africa from canned lion hunting to trade in lion bones for traditional medicines. Project Rhino spoke about rhino poaching and what their organisation is doing to try and stop the poaching. Founder Foods gave us a highly motivational talk on natural foods and how food impacts on our health and welfare, our community and the environment.
FUNDRAISING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
Every year, one of the school’s fundraisers is dedicated to supporting a local environmental organisation. Organisations supported in the past include Primates Africa, SANCCOB’s Adopt a Penguin, CROW, Monkey Helpline, Thula Rhino Orphanage, Project Rhino and BREATHE.
A few years ago, the RCL undertook a project to look into the menu/ products sold at the tuck shop in order to remove/ reduce unhealthy food items sold at the tuck shop and to make sure that mainly healthy food was sold. Vegetarian and Halal options are also available.
Danville’s tuck shop went plastic straw free in 2018. Paper straws are now sold. Plastic popcorn packets have also been exchanged for paper bags. The tuck shop also supports meat free days occasionally.
By participating in beach clean-ups, we are helping to preserve the oceans biodiversity. The school has participated in the International Coastal Clean-up since 2003. More recently, locally organised clean-ups, such and the KZN Beach Clean-up and a clean-up organised by the La Lucia Mall management company have also been supported.
ONE PLANET CITIES INITIATIVE
In 2019, Danville was invited to showcase the school on this global platform. This is an exciting initiative which is being piloted in four cities around the globe, one of these being Durban.
The initiative uses an innovative online platform to create sustainability action plans in an effort to strive for sustainable living. Danville has the opportunity to show what we as a school are contributing towards Durban’s aspiration ‘to be the most caring, liveable city in 2030’.