Bydgoszcz here we come!

Bydgoszcz

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Just click on the link and start following!

https://twitter.com/All4GreenEurope

You’ll be able to see our posts in the column to the right.

A Bremen Diary from Wales

Wednesday 1st February

We arrived in Bremen at 4pm. Carola met us at the airport and took us to the hotel on a tram.  Even though we’d only been in Bremen about half an hour we could already see that this was just the sort of city for eco-tourism!

In the evening Carola and Herr Donch took us for a welcome meal in a typical Bremen restaurant.

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Thursday 2nd February

Today some of the students from Ökumenisches Gymnasium zu Bremen (OG) took us on a guided tour of Bremen.

We started outside the central station and over the course of the tour we saw the famous Bremen Musicians, Bremen Cathedral and the river Weser. The students spoke wonderfully about Bremen’s rich history and they made the city sound like a fascinating place.

Later on we saw the Weserstadion and it underlined Bremen’s eco-credentials; Werder not only play in green their stadium is covered in solar panels!

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At the end of the afternoon a member of Bremen’s education department gave us a guided tour of the town hall. This was a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of Bremen. We saw some of the council chambers and the banqueting rooms, including the famous Golden Room that visitors are usually unable to see.

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Friday 3rd February

Today we went to Bremerhaven by train. We were hosted by a wind power consultancy and our first stop was a wind turbine factory. It was fascinating to see process of wind turbine construction at close quarters. After the visit we saw the various prototypes that have been developed and this brought home the massive scale of wind turbines.

In the afternoon we attended a presentation about the future of the wind power industry. It was fascinating to hear about the possibilities, including plans for a Europe-wide wind power network.

From the point of view of a greener Europe it’s great that wind turbines are becoming more efficient at producing electricity.

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Saturday 4th February

In the morning we visited OG for our project’s planning meeting.

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In the afternoon we visiting the fascinating Universum Science Museum.

Universum really brings science to life. From an eco-related point of view it shows how human beings are able to use careful planning in order to deal with problems and overcome them in positive ways

Sunday 5th February

Today we made our second visit to Bremerhaven by train but before we left we were able to use the German scheme for recycling plastic bottles. In Germany you are able to return plastic bottles to a shop, if the bottle has the right symbol, and get a refund of 0.25 Euro per bottle. Sometimes it literally pays to be eco-minded!

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During the morning we visited a sea front hotel. Whilst we were there we listened to some students from OG deliver a presentation about the eco-tourism features used by the hotel. We were all impressed by the standard of their presentation and the standard of their English.

In the afternoon we visited the Klima Haus museum. The museum is based upon a very original concept; you visit places that share the same line of longitude as Bremerhaven (8 degrees East).

As you visit the different countries (Switzerland, Niger, Cameroon, Antarctica, Samoa and Alaska) the climate in each room changes from warm sun to hot desert to steaming jungle to Frozen wastes to tropical rainforest to Alaskan steppes.

In terms of eco-tourism this was a good illustration of the pressures that people in various parts of the world face and how fragile the balance between humans and nature can be. The Swedish team left today.

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Monday 6th February

Today we had a fascinating visit to the Airbus factory near Bremen airport. It was interesting to see what happens to the wing sections that are made in north Wales before they become part of a finished plane.

Our guide told us that ecological considerations play a part in the manufacture of the Airbus aircraft. For example the design of the wings was changed in order to use less rivets because less rivets means a lighter wing and a lighter wing means that less fuel will be needed over the course of a aircraft’s lifespan.

In the evening we had a farewell meal on board the famous Beck’s ship. The Polish team left today.

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Tuesday 7th February

All of the remaining teams left Bremen today. It had been a very enjoyable week. We’d like to thank Carola and everyone at the OG for organising such a wonderful meeting.

Viva Erasmus!

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We’ve arrived in Bremen!!!

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An Emrys Diary from Slovenia

Sunday 16th October

Our journey from north Wales started on Saturday afternoon. We were due to fly from Stansted on Sunday morning so we spent Saturday night in a hotel near the airport.

We left Britain in the rain and arrived in Slovenia in the sun. A taxi took us to a town called Primoroz on the coast, it looked a bit like Llandudno.

We were staying in hostel on a hill, there were nice views from it. From one side you could see Croatia and from the other you could see Italy.

We met everybody else on the exchange, had an evening meal and then went to our rooms.

Monday 17th October

Today we went on our first visits. In the morning we went to a stud farm in Lipica. This was the home of the famous Lipizzaner horses, even the Queen has one of those! The best bit of this visit was when someone whistled and loads of horses galloped towards us.

In the afternoon we when to the famous caves and castle at Postojna. The caves were spectacular and they’d taken millions of years to form. The castle was also interesting as it was built into the hillside. We heard a story about a King dying on the toilet! Both places showed good ways of looking after the environment in tourism.

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Tuesday 18th October

Today we should have visited Primoroz in the morning but it rained. Instead everyone, including hosts, came to the hostel and we did group activities. We were put into mixed groups with the students from other countries. It was nice to get to know the other students.

In the afternoon we walked down the hill to Pivan and Primoroz. There were nice views by the sea. We completed some tasks on the phone app Actionbound as we walked.

Pivan was a pretty town. We went sightseeing for an hour and then made the steep walk back to the hostel. This was definitely an eco-tourism activity!

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Wednesday 19th October

Today we went to Bled Castle. It was another interesting place. The views from the castle would have been good if it hadn’t have been so cloudy. Then we walked around Lake Bled until we came to the Pizza restaurant owned by a famous Ice Hockey player. We stopped there for lunch.

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After lunch we went Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. It was nice to see some of the sights. We had a look around the shops as well.

We went to the school in Horjul in the evening and we met our host families. Everybody went home with their hosts.

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Thursday 20th October

Today there were activities in school. First of all we went to the lessons that our hosts went to. Then all the teachers arrived and we all presented our presentations, each country made a presentation about eco-tourism at a local hotel.

After this we were organised back into our groups to plan activities based on eco-tourism that we could take to our local hotels.

Just before lunch we visited the town hall and the mayor welcomed us to Horjul. When we arrived back at school we watched a show that the school had organised.

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After Lunch we continued to work on our tourism plans. After school we went back to our host families.

Friday 21st October

Today we should have gone on a hike but there was too much rain, so we worked on the project activities. We had a special lunch with all the teachers from Horjul, the mayor and other members of the council.

When we arrived back at school we practised our dance. In the evening there was a school disco organised by the students and all the group performed their dances. We won the dance competition!

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Saturday 22nd October

We left today and our host families dropped us off at school. We had given presents to our host families to thank them for having us. Our flight left at 4:30pm from Ljubljana.

It had been an enjoyable week in Slovenia!

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Bremen comes to Wales!

Last May the project enjoyed a meeting in north Wales. Here is a view of the trip from a German perspective.

Erasmusbesuch in Wales

Nach Wochen der Vorbereitung und Vorfreude ging es am Mittwoch, den 18.5 endlich los nach Wales. Als wir mittags in Manchester ankamen, regnete es und die Stimmung war gedämpft, da wir lange auf den Bus warten mussten. Während der Wartezeit lernten wir die Slowenen kennen, mit denen wir uns gut verstanden.

Nach der langen Busfahrt begutachteten wir den Campingplatz, der besser aussah, als wir dachten. Die Toiletten waren sauber, das Gelände schön und zum Glück gab es WLAN.

Nachdem wir mit viel Mühe die geräumigen Zelte und Zeltbetten aufgebaut hatten, beschlossen wir nach Caenarfon, einer kleinen Stadt, 40 Minuten zu Fuß von unserem Campingplatz entfernt, zu gehen. Es gab keinen Gehweg, deshalb mussten wir auf der Straße laufen. Die Häuser, die wir auf dem Weg dahin sahen, waren in eintönigem Grau gestrichen. In Caernarfon war es leider nicht anders. Trotzdem blieben wir ein wenig dort und bewunderten die Burg, die mitten aus dem Zentrum hervor ragte. Doch dann machten wir uns wieder auf den Rückweg, da es bald Abendessen geben sollte. Im Bistro des Campingplatzes gab es dann erstaunlich gutes Essen. Danach lernten wir alle anderen, die dazugestoßen waren, kennen. Die Polen und die Slowenen waren uns sehr sympathisch, da sie in unserem Alter waren. Die Schweden bekamen wir nicht oft zu Gesicht, denn sie fuhren bereits in der ersten Nacht in ein Hotel. Mit dem Rauschen des Flusses gegenüber unserem Zelt und dem leisen Vogelgezwitscher schliefen wir ein.

Am Donnerstag ging es nach einem typisch englischen Frühstück für uns in eine walisische Schule. Zuerst wurden wir in dem riesigen Gebäude herumgeführt und dann sollten wir uns in Gruppen mit Walisern und den anderen aus dem Camp zusammenfinden und etwas zu einer Sehenswürdigkeit eines unserer Länder herausfinden. Wir aßen in der großen Mensa und wurden von einer der Lehrerinnen in das Rathaus der Stadt geführt, wo wir uns einen Vortrag des ehemaligem Bürgermeisters von Abergele anhörten.

Danach liefen wir im Regen zur Schule zurück und wurden vom Bus wieder ins Camp gebracht, wo wir uns ausruhten, etwas gegessen haben und schlafen gegangen sind.

Am Freitag sind wir nach dem Frühstück nach Manchester gefahren. Dort besichtigten wir ein interessantes Kriegsmuseum. Durch die Ausstellung bekamen wir von dieser schrecklichen Zeit im Zweiten Weltkrieg nochmal einen schockierenden Eindruck. Danach fuhren wir mit dem Bus durch den nicht ganz so schönen Teil Manchesters zum Trafford Centre, einer großen Shoppingmall. Dort blieben wir für einige Stunden und fuhren dann wieder zum Campingplatz. Wir aßen noch aus der Mall mitgenommene Baguettes, spielten noch was zusammen und gingen schlafen.

Am nächsten Tag mussten wir etwas früher als sonst los, da eine Wanderung auf dem Snowdon, einem Berg in der Umgebung, bevorstand. Nach ein paar Stunden Busfahrt trafen wir unsere Führer, die uns die nächsten Stunden begleiten sollten. Am Anfang der Strecke fing es natürlich an, wie aus Eimern zu regnen. Nach kurzer Zeit waren wir klitschnass, und die Führer gaben uns die Gelegenheit umzudrehen. Weiter gingen nur die Slowenen, Schweden und wir. Die Italiener und die Polen drehten um.

Leider wurden wir von unserem Vorhaben, den Gipfel zu erklimmen, von den Führern abgebracht, da sie es nicht für sinnvoll hielten, nass bis auf die Knochen den windigen und regnerischen Weg weiter zu gehen. Als wir wieder im Tal waren, schien die Sonne und wir beschlossen, noch weitere zwei Stunden in dem Dorf zu verbringen, während die anderen ins Camp fuhren. Wie sich später herausstellte, war es eine gute Idee. Zuerst gingen wir in den, wie zu erwartenden eintönig grauen Dorfkern, dann wollten wir noch ein kleines Museum besuchen, was jedoch geschlossen hatte. So gingen wir zu einem der zahlreichen Steinbrüche, für den Abbau von Schiefer, der allerdings stillgelegt war und bewunderten den See, der genau in einem Kessel aus steilen Steinwänden lag. Man konnte dort klettern und in dem 60-80 Meter tiefen See tauchen. Von da aus gingen wir auf einem kleinen Wanderweg zu einer Ruine eines alten Hauses. Selbst da liefen Schafe rum. Inzwischen waren wir wegen des durchgehenden Sonnenscheins wieder ganz trocken und gingen zu der Haltestelle unseres Busses, um wieder ins Camp zu fahren. Wir freuten uns schon alle auf das Abendessen, da es von den Italienern, original aus Italien mitgebracht, zubereitet wurde. Es gab Pasta mit Pesto und Parmesan. Zum Nachtisch gab es unsere mitgebrachte Rote Grütze mit Vanillesoße. Wir unterhielten uns noch lange mit den Italienerinnen, die neben Englisch auch Deutsch und Spanisch konnten und gingen dann erschöpft ins Bett.

Am Sonntag ging es für uns an den Strand zum Segeln. Es war leider bewölkt und es hat ein bisschen genieselt. Es war etwas wackelig, doch zum Glück ist niemand ins Wasser gefallen. Wir aßen noch etwas und fuhren dann wieder zurück ins Camp. Wir sind fast den ganzen Tag unterwegs am Strand Frau Gütschow und die wackeren Wanderer aus Slowenien, Schweden und Deutschland. gewesen, und am Abend nach dem Essen saßen wir alle zusammen im Zelt der Slowenen. Wir spielten und unterhielten uns noch lange. Dieser Abend war der Abschiedsabend der Polen und der Italiener, die am nächsten Tag fuhren.

Am nächsten Morgen wurden wir durch das laute Blöken eines Schafes geweckt. Nur noch die Slowenen, die Schweden und wir waren im Camp und hatten die Ehre die Zelte der anderen am Nachmittag abzubauen. Nach dem Frühstück fuhren wir nochmal in die Schule. Dort besuchten wir den Deutschunterricht der Waliser und bearbeiteten in kleinen Gruppen eine Sehenswürdigkeit von Deutschland, Slowenien oder Schweden, welche wir dann noch vorstellten. Nach einer kleinen Pause waren wir nochmal im Deutschunterricht einer anderen Gruppe, wo wir wieder eine Präsentation über unser Land machten und anschließend vorstellten. Wir nahmen uns noch Lunchpakets mit und fuhren dann mit dem Bus zu der Insel Puffin Island, wo es zahlreiche Vögel gab, unter anderem Haubentaucher, nach denen die Insel benannt ist. Wir sahen auch viele andere Vögel und sogar eine Robbe, die träge in der Sonne lag. Als wir wieder auf dem Festland waren, fuhren wir mit dem Bus weiter in eine kleine Stadt in der Nähe. Dort liefen wir an der Promenade und anschließend am Strand entlang. Zum Glück schien auch die Sonne. Danach gingen wir noch ein bisschen in die dortige Mall und fuhren wieder ins Camp zurück. Wir spielten noch was mit den Slowenen, die in der Nacht nach Hause fuhren und gingen dann erschöpft schlafen.

Am letzten Tag standen wir auf, gingen ein letztes Mal frühstücken und mussten dann die Zelte abbauen. Dann gingen wir nochmal nach Caenarfon und kauften Souvenirs und etwas Kleines zum Essen. Zurück im Camp sahen wir nach, ob wir auch alles eingepackt hatten und stiegen in den Bus nach Manchester ein. Wir waren ganz allein im Bus und nutzten die Chance, ein bisschen Schlaf nachzuholen. Als wir in Manchester ankamen, hatten wir eine lange Wartezeit, bis wir in den Flieger einsteigen konnten. Spät abends kamen wir wieder in Hannover an und wurden abgeholt.

Es war eine sehr schöne Reise, die uns allen gefallen hat. Man hatte die Gelegenheit, ein Land zu sehen, in dem man noch nicht war und konnte viele Erfahrungen sammeln.

This post has been taken from this document, the document has added photos!

We’re off to Slovenia today!

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Emrys ap Iwan’s Green Flag status – an update!

Taken from the Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan website.

Green Flag Eco-Award status

Litter picks along the Wales Coastal Path and a green campaign by learners have landed Emrys a top eco-award.

The Keep Britain Tidy group has handed Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan its prestigious internationally regarded Green Flag Eco-Award status for the youngsters’ efforts.  The campaign includes measures such as pupils switching off lights and projectors when classrooms are empty, recycling paper and plastic bottles and making sure waste bins are in the best places.  In addition the school has adopted a stretch of nearby beach and the Wales Coastal Path, with pupils regularly collecting potentially harmful rubbish left behind by visitors.

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan science teacher Rhys Williams says pupils deserve a great deal of credit for the way they have worked hard at reducing the school’s carbon footprint.  He said: “We have a school eco committee, which is made up of 10 learners from across the year groups plus staff. We look at how we can, as a school community, reduce our carbon footprint.  Learners now go around at lunchtimes to ensure teachers have turned off lights and projectors and every classroom has recycling bins, which are been properly used.  We also looked at reducing the amount of paper we used, and outside at which areas had the most litter and why.  As a result we moved some waste bins to new locations, which had a dramatic effect in reducing litter and improving the school environment for everyone.”

He added: “More than a year ago, as a school we linked with Conwy County Borough and Keep Wales Tidy to adopt an area of beach. We take learners along to clean up plastics and other litter that could be harmful to wildlife.  We are really pleased with the way learners have worked as a committee and how they have taken on board the important environmental messages that comes with being a Green Flag Eco Award-winning school.

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan head teacher Lee Cummins said: “I congratulate the eco committee for achieving Green Flag status for the school.  This is a great achievement and something of which the learners can be very proud.”

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan eco council members Dionne Hinchliffe, Siret Hatton and Matthew Munday, say they are delighted to have won the award for the school.

Dionne said: “It is really important we take simple steps such as turning off lights when there is no one in classrooms so we use less energy. It doesn’t take much but can make a big difference to the amount of energy we use.  And it’s amazing how much paper we have saved by trying to use less and also properly recycling what is used. I’m proud we have won the award and we know we have to keep it up and see if we can do even more to save energy and recycle more.”

Siret said: “I’m really keen on reducing the amount of plastic we use and waste in school. It’s amazing to see how many empty drink bottles are recycled. We know how harmful plastic is to the environment.  The problem is it doesn’t break down and when it gets into the sea it harms lots of wildlife. If we just used less and made sure what we did use is properly recycled then we could make a big difference.”

Matthew agreed adding: “By reducing the amount of plastic we use we also reduce the amount of oil we need as oil is used in the manufacture of most plastics. It’s horrible to see the amount of plastic there is in the sea and on the beach.  The thing is the plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and that then harms wildlife.”

He added: “It’s also nice to see the school is clean and tidy and there isn’t litter all over the place. It makes it better for everyone.  We are all proud to have won the Green Flag Eco Award. It’s amazing and everyone, not just the school’s eco council, worked really hard to make sure we achieved it.”

Keep Britain Tidy group’s Eco School campaign is an international award programme that provides a simple framework to help make sustainability an integral part of school life.

A spokesman for the group said: “Eco-Schools can help enhance the curriculum and get the whole school united behind something important.  Our mission is to help make every school in the country sustainable and to bring about behaviour change in young people and those connected to them so that good habits learned in schools are followed through into homes and communities.  What’s more, by addressing environmental issues in school and reducing waste, they’ll save money, which can be reinvested elsewhere.”

A report from Cinque Terre

Here’s a report from the national park we visited a couple of weeks ago. It’s been taken from The Guardian.

Italy to impose limits on visitors to Cinque Terre with tourist ‘ticket’ system

Access to beautiful and rugged coastal area will be closed this summer once the number of visitors reaches 1.5 million in order to preserve the local culture

A ticketing system for the stretch of coastline in Liguria is to be introduced this summer to limit the number of tourists treading the Cinque Terre trail.

Italy plans to severely reduce the number of tourists visiting the Cinque Terre UN world heritage area this summer because the rugged coastal area risks being wrecked by coach parties and cruise ships.

About 2.5 million tourists poured into the picturesque park in north-west Italy’s Liguria region last year to visit the five small fishing villages, which are connected by narrow cliffside trails.

Residents say day-trippers from cruise ships docking at nearby ports have overwhelmed their communities and the head of the Cinque Terre park said no more than 1.5 million visitors would be let in this year.

“We will certainly be criticised for this, but for us it is a question of survival,” Vittorio Alessandro told la Repubblica newspaper.

Roads leading to the area are being fitted with devices to gauge the number of people heading to the villages and once a certain number has been reached, access will be closed.

Tickets will be sold ahead of time online and an app created for tourists to show which of the villages are most congested.

Roads will be fitted with devices to gauge the number of people in the five villages.

Accessed by steep, winding roads, the Cinque Terre, with their brightly coloured houses, used to be a remote backwater.

However, tourist numbers have risen sharply in recent years partly as a result of cruise companies adding more Italian destinations to their itineraries as other Mediterranean ports, such as Tunisia, lost their appeal following militant attacks.

Here’s a related Guardian article from a few years ago.

It’s only been two weeks since All For Greener Europe visited and already action is being taken!

All For A Greener Europe visits La Spezia

All For A Greener Europe Italy Visit – La Spezia January 31st to February 6th 2016

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Monday – 1st Feb 

This morning we met the headteacher and local dignitaries at the I.I.S.S A. Fossati – M. Da Passano school. Our first job after this was to make a decision about the project logo. In the end we decided to combine an Italian design and a German design. Our second job was to check on the progress of the project tasks.

We also went to meet the graphic design class that produced some of the designs. It was a pleasure to meet such polite and well-motivated students that spoke English so excellently.

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Tuesday – 2nd Feb

We enjoyed a full day excursion to Cinque Terre by train. Firstly we alighted in Manarola to listen to presentations from the officials of the Cinque Terre World Heritage National Park.

The officials told us about the issues surrounding the park including marine protection and the problems that arise when you attempt to strike a balance between tourism, the agricultural sector and protecting the environment.

After the presentations we were taken on a guided walk through Manarola and its surroundings. This was followed by a trip to an agricultural co-operative and a guided walk through Vernazza. We all agreed that Cinque Terre was a beautiful location.

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Wednesday – 3rd Feb

We made our presentations today. Firstly we listened to the Italian students present information about Liguria and the Mediterranean diet then rest of the partners presented information about the national beauty of their countries.

After another project meeting we visited the beautiful town of Portovenere to see more examples of sustainable tourism.

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Thursday – 4th Feb

We enjoyed a full day excursion to the historic cities of Lucca and Pisa. The cities are not only popular tourist destinations they are two Italian pearls!

Firstly we had an excellent and well-informed guided tour around beautiful Lucca. The group were impressed by the city council’s policy of encouraging people to use bicycles instead of cars in the walled part of town. For example on our tour through the old town we only met the occasional local council vehicle. Well done Lucca!!!

The historic buildings and monuments in Pisa were also very impressive. The team were greatly inspired by today’s activities.

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Friday – 5th Feb

Today we prepared the group for the next meeting in Wales in May. We decided on the activities that the students will take part in and the work that the partners will produce before the visit. In the afternoon we visited the beautiful town of Lerici.

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