Eco Reps 2020

Every year, a representative of each class at Union High School is chosen to serve as Eco Representative.

These enthusiastic environmentally-minded learners are then tasked with raising awareness about ecological issues, encouraging environmentally responsible behaviour among their peers and planning related events and activities at the school.

Union’s 18 Eco-Reps for 2020 were announced and presented with their badges at Assembly this morning.

Congratulations to all those chosen to serve this year, they are:

Grade 5: Jordan Koeberg and Zoë Liesing
Grade 6: Rebecca Copeman and Ashleigh Shell
Grade 7: Tara Ferreira and Erin Gedult
Grade 8: Caytah-Leigh Koeberg (absent) and Imitha Nkwintya
Grade 9: Lwanda Ntlonti, Kaitlin Kenmuir and Precious Nobula
Grade 10: Tessa James, Sisipho Arnols and Liyabona Binqela
Grade 11: Primrose Mutapati and Tanya Mataba (absent)
Grade 12: Juandre Jaftha and Erin O’Halloran

The new Eco-Reps are seen here with the teacher in charge of this initiative, Mrs Danelle Botes.

May they inspire all to actively engage in practices of energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction, reuse, recycling and environmentally preferable purchasing!

Union Supports Dam Clean-up

This past Saturday morning (26 October), some of Union’s Arthur Kingwill House boarders, joined the hostel’s superintendent, Mr Donald Kingwill, his wife Alet, and daughter Ingrid, in participating in the local Assembly Church’s ‘Dam Day’ initiative.

The boarders were just some of the many members of the Union community who were among the 612 locals who supported this venture which sought to clear the Nqweba Dam of dead fish and litter.

At the end of the day’s efforts, a total of 36 625 fish were picked up!

Union congratulates the Assembly Church on this very successful community project and extends its thanks to all those from the Union community who rolled up their sleeves to support them!

UHS Eco-Life

It’s a wrap!

This year, Union High School’s Eco-Schools Committee chose the theme “Water” with the emphasis on conserving water, spreading water-wise awareness, capturing and storing water.

The Eco Code was revised and Wise-up Wednesdays were instituted along with the existing MAD Fridays, to be driven by the Educators and Eco-Reps of each class.

Big construction projects were undertaken by the school this year, which included the bathroom revamp of Herby Arnott House, the complete renovation of Max Kroon House, the revamp of the junior boys’ bathroom at the High School and the repairing of the swimming pool which turned out to be a major rebuilding project.

Thankfully, this swimming pool project was completed mid-September, with the pool being refilled just in time for the swimming season.

Union continues to support schools in our district. We make our sports facilities available and offer our transport services to assist other schools.

Union also works together with other schools to promote interest in and improved skills in chess.

This year, Union’s Primary Department addressed a need at Sonskraal Crèche, by donating a sizable amount of appropriate toys and books to them.

The Sponsor-a-Brick Project was undertaken by the entire learner body of the school during the third term, to aid Kroonvale Primary with the construction of their school hall.

Many learners and staff, even old Unionites who read about it on our Facebook page, contributed to this project, enabling our estate manager Mr Donald Kingwill to deliver the bricks before the end of the third term.

Outdoor Education in the form of camps, excursions and outdoor lessons continue to add value to our eco focus.

An Eco-Wise Day was held at the end of the first term and enjoyed by all those actively involved.

The Eco Amazing Race was cancelled this year, but the Eco Club took over three community projects which were incorporated into its planning, by:

– assisting with providing water for the community during a time when it was sorely needed;
– establishing the Spekboom Nursery project for SANParks;
– and providing 10 Santa Shoeboxes for indigent children.

The latter was done in conjunction with assistance from ten of Union’s Interact Club members who guided the Eco Clubbers in choosing and buying the necessary articles.

A civvies day was held to raise funds for the purchases of the presents and the learners loved this charitable exercise, suggesting that we do it again next year.

Litter clean-ups, separating paper waste, blood donation drives and the making of eco-bricks continued this year.  The latter was donated, by kind favour of one of our learners, to an organisation in Hogsback who are building with eco-bricks.

Greening our school has continued, amidst the worst drought in many decades.

During Arbor Week a Camdeboo Stinkwood tree was planted and a special assembly held. Despite the challenges a drought presents, the gardens and sports fields have been maintained using fountain water. The Jo-Jo tanks installed ensure that our learners enjoy a clean supply of drinking water.

Healthy Living education was kick-started this year by Mrs Christine Scott who educated the parents and educators about Gut Health.

The Union Tuck Shop was encouraged to have healthier options available on sale for our learners.

The school organised education sessions against substance abuse and this included experts in the field from both the private and government sectors.

Many learners were deeply moved by what they heard and saw, requesting that such educational and motivational initiatives become a regular part of our school programme.

Next year the school looks forward to focussing on restructuring some of the fundamental elements of our Eco-Schools Programme in order to make room for innovation and inspiration.

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.