Step 1: Education
Nigel visited Mrs Evans and Mrs McDaid's year 3 classes to supplement their studies on the rainforest.
He talked about the value of rainforests to our planet- about their importance as habitat for a wealth of amazing creatures and their importance in supplying the oxygen that enables us to breath. He also spoke about their importance in storing carbon and explained how too much atmospheric CO2 is warming our planet.
He then moved the focus to deforestation and explained some of the reasons that we were losing the very things that can help to protect our planet from overheating- our tropical rainforest trees.
Children can be left feeling overwhelmed by the gravity of issues such as deforestation and climate change. To counter this Nigel kept the session fun and light hearted throughout and the children learnt with smiles on their faces,
Step 2: Empowerment
Towards the end of the session Nigel moved on to the most powerful element of the workshop- offering the pupils the opportunity to take real lasting action against deforestation and climate change.
He began to introduce the notion that each and every child had the power to create positive change in our world and told them about Ru Hartwell's tree planting venture in Kenya. Pupils were shown how trees in tropical climates grow faster and soak up atmospheric carbon quicker than trees in other parts of the world. For just 20p pupils could plant a tropical tree in Kenya and play thier own part in the fight against climate change.
As an added bonus many of the species at the tree nursery provide food for local famillies too (mango and cashew trees amongst others) and all for less than the price of a Freddo bar!!!
Step 3: Action!
Nigel left some simple planning sheets to help pupils plan their fundraising event. He explained that it was their efforts as a group and as individuals that was important, not the amount raised- even £1 from a whole class would plant 5 trees!
Following a class discussion where Nigel suggested some simple event actions he departed leaving both classes to decide on a suitable fundraising activity.
After further discussion both classes decided to hold a bake sale. Pupils designed, baked and decorated their own rainforest themed biscuits from fairtrade ingredients. They made posters to publicise their event and pupils made announcements in morning assemblies to remind pupils of the event and the reasons why they were doing it.
The day of the event arrived and pupils managed to raise £60 selling their baked goodies to staff and fellow pupils. This equates to an amazing 300 trees that will be planted in Kenya.
These trees will sequester atmospheric carbon faster than trees in temperate zones and will also provide a vital food source for local famillies.
Step 4: Achievement- Well done yr3!
Every day pupils across the UK are hearing about deforestation, climate change and global warming. They learn about it at school and soak up the constant feed of negativity both on tv and online.
They can grasp the concept of climate change, they can verbalise their concerns about it but feel helpless to do anything about it. This is increasingly leading to a rise in climate anxiety amongst our young people.
Trees for Change offers pupils the opportunity to achieve something special by taking real and lasting direct action to fight climate change. They are working to tackle a global issue by helping to plant trees where they are needed most. In doing so they prove to themselves and to others that we don't have to be passive bystanders in the fight against global warming.