Grannie Green Revivial

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Chp 2, A pioneer in environmental education – Forty years champion for the environment

A pioneer in environmental education

The Education Committee of the Conservancy Association was formed in 1971 with Father Harold Naylor of Wah Yan College Kowloon as its first chairman. It heralded the many environmental education activities of the CA.

The Education Committee quickly found a willing partner in the Education Department of the Hong Kong government. In 1973 the Department developed an education programme to provide training for teachers on environmental education at primary and secondary levels. In the same year, CA led a major drive to help secondary schools establish Conservancy Clubs, with 41 being inaugurated on 29 September 1973 at a ceremony held at Wah Yan College officiated by Fr Naylor and the Education Department.

The following years were probably the most productive for CA in environmental education. The Education Committee benefited especially from the commitment of an Advisory Inspectorate of the Education Department, Mr KK Lai 黎家駒, who helped in nearly every major educational project among schools. Mr Hui Ho Tung 許皓東, a Biology teacher of Wa Ying College, also made substantial contributions as Chairman of the Committee from 1976. Under their leadership, the Committee directed major projects such as Shore Watch and Acid Rain, both involving a large number of secondary students.

In 1972, the Education Committee oversaw the first Youth Environment Forum, which led to the formation of the Youth Environment Action Group (YEAG). In 1973, YEAG started publishing a quarterly magazine SOS Environment 協調, with Michael Webster as the first editor from CA, and Ho Lok Sang 何濼生 as the first editor from YEAG. This author was Chief Editor in 1979 and 1980.

In 1976 the Education Committee decided to publish a glossary of environmental terms. The task was later taken up by the YEAG, with Mobil Oil as sponsor. The bulk of the Glossary was written by two undergraduates, including this author, and YEAG member Ng Ho Keung, then a summer returnee from Edinburgh University, in the summer of 1979. The 200-page book (then described as “Abbreviated Glossary”) was published later in the same year.

From 1980 the Education Committee began to fade, but not so CA’s work on environmental education. An “Environment 80” TV series was produced in cooperation with RTHK in 1980. SOS Environment was discontinued in the same year but was replaced by a newsletter. In 1981 a Conservation Awards Programme modeled on the Duke of Edinburgh Award was launched, although it proved short-lived. In 1988, CA established the Hong Kong Environment Centre within the CA office as the first environmental resource centre open to the public. The Centre’s first few years of operation was supported by a grant from the Asia Partnership for Human Development which enabled the Centre to, among other things, launch a publication known as Green Alert. In 2006, the Hong Kong Environment Centre was transformed into the Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage (CACHe).

Young people have remained the main target of CA’s effort in environmental education. In 1990 a Young Green Leader programme was launched with the participation of 20 secondary schools and 200 student leaders. This evolved into the Environmental Pioneer Scheme in 1992, a training programme for young volunteers which ran for eight years until 2000. A first ever Environmental Games Workshop and Carnival in 1997, and a Green Interpreter Scheme for tourist guides in 2000 are examples of other innovations in environmental education by the CA.

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April 8, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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