Holidays are over and we're already back into the school routine. Isabella was eagar to go back as she knew she would be receiving her 'Environmental Leader' badge. Ours is a 'sustainable' school which means that anything to do with the environment is a big deal. A large percentage of the school's power comes from solar energy, the toilets are flushed and the grounds watered with tank water. The kids get to look after the vegetable garden, orchard, chooks and until recently a sheep. Behind the school is a large nature reserve full of native flora and fauna and has an area known as 'Nature's Classroom'.
I think these sort of experiences are really valuable for kids and so does my friend Loretta who is involved with Gardeneers a great program for kids at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society in Canada. 'Gardeneers' is designed to get little kids in touch with nature. From watching a seed grow to exploring garden wildlife, composting and worm farms, kids get to get down and dirty while exploring the whole around them.
Too often kids hear about all the terrible things that are going to happen if pollution and global warming are not addressed. From their point of view it must seem very strange to be surrounded by grown-ups who don't know how (or worse still don't care about) fixing the problem. Old habits die hard. Projects like sustainable schools and 'Gardeneers' empower kids to become part of the solution and hopefully some of the boundless enthusiam for change they generate may rub off on the rest of us. Fingers crossed!