Teachers Making an Impact

By Haning Pertiwi, GPOCP Environmental Education Assistant Field Officer
With the theme, “Love the Earth through Education,” GPOCP coordinated with the Ketapang Education Department and the Ketapang Office of Environment to host a two-day workshop for more than 60 teachers from 30 different schools throughout the regency. The head of the Education Department, Dr. Jahilin, opened the workshop stating, that “We must all have a love of the earth and animals, especially orangutans. We just celebrated the 2018 Asian Games here in Indonesia and all of our mascots are animals. We need a community that is aware of how to protect animals so our future generations are able to appreciate them.”
The Program Director of GPOCP, Terri Breeden, also gave an opening statement saying, ‘Teachers are the role models for our youth. With this workshop we want to empower teachers to integrate more education and environmental conservation activities into their classrooms. We want students to understand this extraordinary environment that surrounds them and inspire them so that they are able to appreciate and protect it for future generations.”
GPOCP Program Director, Terri Breeden, with head of the Environmental Department, Pak Sukirno, the head of the Education Department, Dr. Jahilin, and the assistant head of the Environmental Department, Pak Sauni, opening the teacher training event. 
One of the programs headed by the Office of Environment strives to create ‘Green Schools’ known as
Adiwayata in Indonesian. This program supports activities such as tree planting, organic gardens, and environmental youth groups. During the workshop, the head of the Office of Environment stressed the importance of schools becoming ‘Green Schools’ and the benefits it has for the teachers, students, and community. The workshop opened with an awards ceremony for ‘Green School’ winners. Each participating school was evaluated based on indicators such as the implementation of environmental policy in classrooms, environmental education curriculum, student participation, and school infrastructure to implement green activities.

The ‘Green School’ winners from the Ketapang regency.
The workshop then discussed some of the problems and issues the teachers have while trying to introduce environmental education into their schools and classrooms. The primary complaint related to lack of funds. With all stakeholders in one room, everyone was able to discuss ways to fund these activities. The schools can coordinate with the Environmental Department to start ‘green projects’ or even coordinate with local NGOs such as GPOCP!
Over the two days, the teachers worked together in groups to learn about the environment and animals throughout Indonesia. They then learned how to use this material in exciting and educational games in their classrooms, how to become a ‘Green School,’ and how to make action plans for implementing what they learned.
Teachers throughout the Ketapang regency gathered together for a 2-day workshop to learn how to implement environmental education into their classrooms.
Overall, this workshop was a great success! While GPOCP often visits schools to give lectures and field trips, we do not have the capacity to visit every school every month. By collaborating with these local government agencies, we were able to make a bigger impact in regards to education, environmental awareness, and creating green schools and communities. To drive home our ‘green’ message, each teacher received a reusable shopping bag, reusable drinking water bottle, and a seedling to plant at their schools!

One of the more than 60 teachers collecting her Matoa tree to plant at her school. Photos © GPOCP.