INTO THE WOODS

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16.12.2017

The children were waiting in front of the school (where the first part of academy took place) early on Saturday morning, 16.12.2017.   No-one wanted to miss the start of the Academy!

Altogether 60 children from 3 differnt schools attended the Academy in Kragujevac, Serbia.

Thanks to the students and profesors Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics from Kragujevac who made this Academy possible. The event was free-of-charge for all the attending children, who were aged 8-14. The Academy was made possible by the team of local organisers. Special thanks go to Plant-for-the-Planet Programme Coordinator Zoran Mitrović and also to Andjela Kondić from “Eko fun камп” (local eco organization) and head teacher at the host school.

Not to be forgotten are the many helpers and supporters, without whom the implementation of the Academy, venue, technology, food, tree-planting event and much more would not have been possible.

After a brief welcome and an introductory game in the school rooms, the full attention of the children turned to the presentation "Now we children save the world!", which was given by  Climate Justice Ambassadors: Andjela, Zoran, Zeljko and Aleksandra. The presentation covered:  sources of CO2, global warming, photosynthesis, the climate crisis, Plant-for-the-Planet and global justice. These topics were presented in a way suitable for children of the same age. In the subsequent question and answer session, the children had the opportunity to eliminate any ambiguities they may still have had.

After a short break with light refreshments, the children were divided into four small groups to learn about global distribution and justice in the „World Game“. The children distributed playing figures, candy and balloons on the world maps laid out on the floor as symbols of the world’s population, wealth and CO2 emissions respectively. The children didn’t need to be told twice to distribute the balloons and sweets among the playing figures. Eventually, the CO2 emissions and wealth were distributed fairly - everyone has equal rights. After this part we also played team-building games.

Then the children formed three public speaking groups and prepared and presented short passages from the opening presentation that they had seen at the start of the day. They gave each other tips on how to improve their presentations in the future.

The children then broke for lunch and were able to relax a little and to discuss the topics covered so far with each other. 

After lunch was over, the afternoon kicked off with the movie "The man who planted trees". The message of the film was clear: a single person can achieve a lot, but only if he firmly believes in what he is doing.

Rested, and feeling energised, the children relocated to the place where they cloud plant their own trees! Before the planting commenced, the children listened intently to the advice of the invited forester. He explained how and when to plant trees, and also showed the children how to care for them to make sure they survive, and thereby absorb as much CO2 as possible.

In total they planted 78 different kind of trees in just over 90 minutes. With the assistance of the strong adults present the children placed the trees in pre-prepared holes. Then the children decorated one of the trees with their personal wishes written on colorful cards.

After the planting, the children played out a fast-paced "horse race", running around, swerving, dodging and ducking with squealing girls and growling boys.  After a magnificent "Stop Talking, Start Planting" battle cry it was time to go to the school faculty hall (there were students of ecology and biology, waiting for the kids and spoke about planting).

After a short break it was time to go back to the programme. While a small group prepared to give the final presentation for the attending parents and other guests, the rest of the children started the "World Café" module. The children worked on the following questions as at four stations questions: "How do we ensure that the media reports about us?", "How do we motivate the adults?", "How do we motivate friends and classmates?", „How do we organise a planting party?“.

After everyone had the opportunity to write down their thoughts to each question, the school groups got to work on the solutions. The ideas and solutions were presented in a clear manner: "What we want to do at our school?“, „Who is responsible for which task?“ and „By when do we want to achieve our goals?".

Together with a shortened version of the Academy presentation, the outcomes of the school group work was presented to the attending family, friends and guests.

After a long, eventfull, and enjoyable day, all 60 participants received their certificates, which recognised them as a Climate Justice Ambassador. An interesting day had come to an end. Apart from the experience and newly found knowledge, all new Ambassadors took with them a copy of Tree-by-Tree, and of course the Plant-for-the-Planet T-shirt they collected at the start of the day. Parents, friends, organizers and guests were very impressed by the performance of the children.

The team at Plant-for-the-Planet would like to thank all those involved for this wonderful Academy Day. More Academies, supported by “Concordia” and “International Neuroscience Institute” from Hannover are planned for 2018. Upcoming Academies will be announced on the Plant-for-the-Planet website.

You can find more photos from Academy day on our Flickr ALBUM

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