Union Celebrates Arbor Week

Union High School proudly celebrated Arbor Week with the planting of a tree (adding even more beauty to the educational facility) during a special assembly early this morning, Friday, 6 September.

This special event is held every year at Union during the first week of September, to celebrate South Africa’s trees and raise awareness of their importance and need for the conservation of indigenous trees that are threatened by extinction.

During his address to the learners, headmaster Mr William Pringle gave a brief history of Arbor Week, whereafter he spoke to the learners about the importance of planting trees, the role of trees in our daily lives and how they benefit the environment.

As the school is committed to planting indigenous trees, Union chose to plant the celtis africana, commonly known as the White Stinkwood or Camdeboo Stinkwood, for the occasion.

The Camdeboo Stinkwood is an indigenous deciduous tree that can grow to between 7 and 12 metres in height. It is hardy, frost tolerant and drought resistant. It attracts many birds like Rameron pigeons, willow warblers, black-eyed bulbuls, mousebirds and crested barbets that feed on the fruits and disperse the seeds. It is also a haven for insects.

It is hoped that Union’s annual Arbor Week celebrations will inspire a custodianship of the country’s natural resources in the learners and that they will come to see the trees as natural treasures.

May the newest addition to Union’s tree population provide shade and aesthetic value for generations to come!

Santa Shoebox Project

Ten underprivileged children in Graaff-Reinet will receive Christmas gifts this year, thanks to a Union Eco-Schools community outreach project held recently.

In support of the Santa Shoebox Project, a great charity that aims to give underprivileged children (many of whom would otherwise not receive anything over the festive season) a Christmas present, 10 members of the school’s Interact Club, partnered with 23 Eco Clubbers on Friday, 16 August.

The ten teams then made their way to the local shops with money in hand and a list of goods to purchase for a specific recipient of this goodwill project.

Teams had to buy an item of clothing, some toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush and a facecloth, a toy or game and school stationery for the particular child they were shopping for.

Upon their return to school, the teams had to do a reconciliation of funds spent, take off the prices and pack all the items into a shoebox.

They did extremely well and its clear from their purchases that children know best when it comes to buying for their counterparts. They also had so much fun, that they suggested Union do this annually.

The money used for the respective purchases was raised in the second school term, when the school’s staff and learners paid to take part in a civvies day.  This educational, yet enjoyable Eco-Schools community outreach project, is a clear indication that interdependent partnerships are fun and successful.

The ten festively gift-wrapped parcels will soon be handed over to the Santa Shoebox Project in Graaff-Reinet and Union thanks them for the opportunity to get involved in this worthy cause.

A Glimpse Into The Classroom

Union High School’s Grade 7s are learning all about renewable energy technologies in Natural Sciences.

Because cooking with the sun’s power is a fun way to use a renewable resource, the learners were tasked with applying the science they’ve learned, by building their very own solar ovens. The Grade 7s quickly got creative by using cardboard, aluminum foil and other recyclables to create their very own energy-efficient ovens!

Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy

Kroonvale Primary School in Graaff-Reinet is currently constructing a new school hall.

Through the ‘Sponsor-A-Brick’ Eco-Schools Community Initiative, Union High School is endeavouring to help Kroonvale Primary realise their dreams.  The school is facilitating a project, whereby the Union family is invited to sponsor a brick – at only R3 each.  All the sponsored bricks will then be donated to the Kroonvale Primary School hall construction project.

The first delivery of 1 000 bricks was delivered to Union High School on Friday, 26 July!

Help us help Kroonvale Primary – sponsor a brick – or more – today!

(Learners can see the Eco Reps on duty in the main quad at 2nd break on Wednesdays and Fridays in this regard.)

Respect The Spekboom!

The members of Union High School’s Eco Club recently made great strides in neutralizing their carbon footprint, by assisting SANParks in establishing a Spekboom nursery.

This incredible plant with its bright green, circular leaves is a miracle worker when it comes to fighting air pollution. It has the ability to ‘sequester’ or capture four to ten tons of carbon per hectare!

Essentially, it acts as a carbon sponge, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and turning it into plant matter. Excess carbon in the atmosphere is responsible for global warming, so the more carbon we can remove from the air and return to the ground, the better. Spekboom is also known as Pork Bush or Elephant’s Food.

In an initiative to propagate new Spekboom plants, the Eco Club learners, accompanied by SANParks personnel, visited Mountain Drive, where they gathered Spekboom cuttings and then later transferred them to seedling trays in the Park’s nursery.

SANParks will sell these new Spekboom plants to generate an income for their nursery and simultaneously reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.

Grade 7 Technology

Union High School’s Grade 7 Technology learners were recently tasked with designing and building a model of a cell phone tower using their knowledge of structures.

The learners were allowed to choose whether or not they would be building a standard cell phone tower or one that would blend in with the environment in order to limit visual pollution.

Seen here are some of their brilliant designs:








Trash to Teaching Treasure

In an effort to promote an earth-friendly attitude, Union’s teachers are turning trash to teaching treasure in very interesting ways.

The learners in the Grade 8 Arts and Culture class, for instance, were recently tasked with creating outrageous hats from waste material, such as newspapers, bits of cardboard, foil and the like.

After the 1½ hour time limit, it was very interesting to note the learners’ individual interpretations of the theme.  Seen here are some of the learners showing off their one of kind, handmade hats.


Amazing Race

Union High School’s Eco-Amazing Race is exactly one month away! Remember to secure your entry to stand a chance of winning one of the amazing prizes that will be up for grabs. All teams will walk away with a prize!

We invite families of 4 to enter this fun-filled event (no more than 2 adults on a team).  The entry fee per team is R100. There are only 10 spots available, so first come, first serve.

For further information, or to request an entry form, please contact Mrs. Burger on 049 891 0262 or e-mail uhsmarketing@unionschools.co.za

Eco Club Members Attend to Local Nursery

The members of Union High School’s Eco Club recently paid a visit to the Camdeboo National Park.  During the visit, the learners only had one goal in mind – to clean and revamp the small plant nursery located in the park.

Upon arrival, the learners were divided into three teams – one cleaned the garden shed while the other two each cleaned a seedling structure.  This involved weeding, raking, sorting litter and organic materials for discarding or re-use, cleaning, dusting and a lot of organising.  The groups worked hard and laughed a lot while getting down and dirty – giving new life to the nursery.

The group will return to the park soon to start planting new plants.

• This activity formed part of the Biodiversity theme of Union’s Eco-Schools project.

Don’t Bin It, Bottle It

The ongoing EcoBrick project is one of Union High School’s constant endeavours to reduce litter by recycling.  EcoBricks are constructed out of recycled 2-litre plastic bottles that are filled with all sorts of non-biodegradable waste.

Suitable materials to fill EcoBricks with include plastic bags, laminated paper, polystyrene trays, plastic fruit punnets, silvery packets from chips and chocolates, wax paper and dog-food bags.

The litter must be stuffed inside the bottles in such a compact manner, that the bottles are rock-solid and resistant to breaking and denting.  Once filled, these bottles can then be used as a “brick” from which even school buildings and houses can be built. The compressed plastic waste does not disintegrate and provides hardy support, similar to normal building bricks, but at almost no cost.  Apart from reducing the amount of trash that reaches the oceans, eco-bricks are also highly insulating and water- and fire-proof.

Each classroom at Union High School has again been tasked with creating an EcoBrick this year.  The learners are encouraged to participate, and in so doing, take personal responsibility for their plastic waste.