When we plan our school trips, we always think of our school curriculum and how to bring it to life during this time. Don´t get scared, it doesn’t mean that our school trips are boring.
Sport, art, hikes, visits to various places are still fun and educative at the same time. Learning doesn’t happen only in a class but anywhere we go and our trip to Hostětín in the Czech Republic was no exception.
At the beginning students were curious about what we will do in a village so tiny, it is not even on all usual maps. I told them I want to take them there to show them that things do get done and that a community can get together in order to do good.
Community decision saved the village
The first day, when we arrived in Hostětín, we had an excursion around with an intro to the history of the village.
The village of Hostětín was doomed to die out since it did not possess a water cleaning facility and was situated above a drinking water reservoir. As soon as circumstances changed in 1989, the community got together and made an important decision with the help of the ecological NGO Veronica. They were to be an example of ecological solutions while promoting their heritage and preserving their local traditions. They went on to build a root water-cleaning facility, biomass heating plant, they set up an orchard with the original local fruit tree species, changed public lighting for such that it reduces light pollution and build an education centre to teach others.
While we were visiting their education centre, students were given a task to calculate the carbon footprint they have made on their way there. What transportation would be the fastest, or most ecological? They found out how their footprint would increase had we used individual car transportation. A discussion ensued as well on the value of time (had we used the train) over footprint.
After a nice walk, we were all enjoying a very relaxed evening, filled with nice talks and rest.
Tasting and crafting
Our second day was very tasty and crafty, literally! In the morning we went to see their juicing plant, that is powered by photovoltaic panels and water heated by solar energy. The juices are then sold under the regional trademark they helped to co-create that includes the whole White Carpathian region across two countries.
Besides the good feeling about their story and business plan, we also enjoyed the good taste of their juices. For many students, it was very inspiring to see how their lessons from Entrepreneurial Leadership class have been suddenly alive. And topics like finances, logistics or branding has been covered with new examples.
The crafty afternoon has brought up some hidden artists among us. Students had a lot of fun learning to work with a felting needle and some created true masterpieces.
Examples that inspire
Over the years, Hostětín has become an example of how a village can be sustainable and at the same time be involved in a flourishing business without drastically affecting the lives of the local people. The most important message from everyone we talked to was that they do not strive to be the best or the most ecological, but they try to inspire as many others as possible.
We were all inspired by their approach and example. When we came back to school we discussed how we could apply something from their ideas in our immediate surroundings.