BU has received two bronze awards and a silver award at the annual Roots & Shoots awards ceremony for their environmental projects with St Luke’s Church of England Primary School.
Founded by Dr Jane Goodall DBE, Roots & Shoots is now active in over 67 countries including a branch based at Bournemouth University (BU).
Hannah Easthope, headteacher at St Luke’s Church of England Primary School in Winton, helped organise the activities with Bournemouth University (BU) and said she was delighted with the achievement. She added: “The children have been involved in a yearlong programme of activities that Bournemouth University have organised.”
In 2021 Dr Jane Goodall spoke at an event organised by Bournemouth University (BU) about her life and career and her work in tackling social, environmental and climate related issues the world is facing. As part of this work, she founded Roots & Shoots, an environmental and humanitarian programme, which empowers young people of all ages to become involved in hands-on projects for the community, animals, and the environment.
The branch based at BU has been set up by Dr Emma Jenkins, director of the Institute for Modelling Socio-Environmental Transitions (IMSET), who said: “We set up a Jane Goodall Institute Roots & Shoots group here at BU because we want to encourage children and young people to take an interest in environmental and social issues and have a positive impact in our local community.”
Dr Emma Jenkins, who approached St Luke’s about getting involved in the programme said: “They were really keen to be involved and so we organised several activities based around conservation including a micro-plastics activity where children had to investigate the level of harm that micro-plastics have on our water-systems. We also arranged for them to dissect owl pellets to see how owls live and what they eat, and we involved them in our own research at BU studying how to protect Salmon, an Interreg EU-funded project SAMARCH. Finally, they asked us to be involved in redesigning a new pond for their school. Their existing pond had dried up and become overgrown, so we re-dug it to encourage more wildlife.”
Hannah Easthope said: “As part of this the children designed their ideal pond and submitted their ideas in the form of a competition. The winning designs were then chosen by staff and students at the university. The redesign of the pond began last January so it was a chilly but very worthwhile activity. We received a lot of support from the local community including the local fire station who arrived in their truck to fill up the finished ponds with 4,500 litres of water-it was an exciting moment.”
BU staff and students led the activities at St Luke’s school. Along with a team of volunteers, including school children and local residents they helped to re-dig the two ponds that had been especially designed to include separate areas with a wooden bridge in between them.
BU PhD student Ben Parker who studies Freshwater Ecology said: “I got involved in the project as part of my freshwater habitats research on climate change. Renovating the pond became an important project, because within the UK, ponds have seen a decline of about 70% in the past century. St Luke’s pond was a good example of this. Having been neglected, its water levels had decreased, and it had filled up with silt. Now it has been renovated we have seen freshwater wildlife return within a very short space of time.”
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