Francois van Mazijk
A GRAHAMSTOWN eco- school has received a Platinum Award in recognition of its sustained effort to improve environmental management and learning at the school.
The award also acknowledges that Kingswood College has maintained its eco-school status for the past five years.
Last year it was awarded International Green Flag status.
Kingswood College vice-principal and environmental programme co-ordinator Dr Des Pyle said the school had adopted a special theme – Sustainable Energy for All – in line with the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development
"This, coupled with our ongoing efforts to maintain their Green Flag status, has resulted in the highest recognition we can get as an eco-school, the Platinum Award," he said.
"We are delighted with this award, but we recognise that it calls on us to do more in reinforcing greater eco-awareness within the school community."
The school boasts a range of eco-sensitive features, particularly in its new high-performance sports centre. These include solar energy used for hot water, and rain water channeled into a bank of tanks behind the centre, for use by the school.
Similarly, eco-sensitive technologies have been included in the design of the school's new academic block, due to open fully in March.
The design provides for maximum natural light to be let through, with verandas to eliminate the need for heating and cooling.
All new computers will use low- voltage LCD screens with atom processors running at low voltage.
Energy-saving bulbs have been used throughout.
Pupils are also encouraged to do their bit by recycling.
But it is not just all about Kingswood. The school has reached out to other schools in its campaign to raise awareness about the environment.
The matric class of 2012 recently handed over indigenous trees to the Boyboy Maginywa Pre-School, which they had nurtured since Grade 8.
Thanks to them, the school's tots will be able to seek shade under yellowwood, wild plum and milkwood trees for years to come.
Environmental awareness is also promoted through the hosting of various events such as Earth Day, International Day of Biodiversity, World Environmental Day, World Oceans Day and Arbor Day.
In September last year, pupils formed a human rhino in support of the Rooting-for-Rhino School Route Challenge.
The school used the money that came with last year's accolade to buy an automatic weather station.
This year's prize money of R5000 will go towards funding new initiatives on and off campus.