BU has won two bronze and one silver awards for their environmental projects with St Luke’s Church of England Primary School, Winton at the annual ‘Root & Shoots’ awards ceremony to be held in London, organised by well-known ethologist Dr Jane Goodall DBE.
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.
‘Roots & Shoots’ is now active in over 67 countries including a branch based at BU that 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, Head Teacher at St. Luke’s Church of England Primary School helped organise the activities with BU saying: “We are delighted to have won these awards. The children have been involved in a yearlong programme of activities that Bournemouth University have organised. As part of this they 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 4500 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 betweenthem. 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 become 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.”
BU student Katie Spurgeon studying Archaeological, Anthropological & Forensic Sciences said: “I was invited to volunteer and help dig out the pond in one of my lectures here at the university. It was a really good experience for me, and I really enjoyed helping the primary school children to learn about the other environmental activities we created for them too.”
Hannah said: “What started as a small programme of activities has turned into a community effort that has provided enriching and stimulating experiences for our children. They have been able to witness what was a derelict piece of land to start with, turn into a beautiful area for wildlife. They have been amazed at how quickly different animals have made it their home and they love to take their nets out and explore what new insects and amphibians they can identify. They are really looking forward to receiving their awards in London.”
Tara Golshan, Executive Director from the Jane Goodall Institute said: “I am so impressed by the projects undertaken between BU and St Luke’s. Their pond project in particular is a shining example of how all three aspects of the Roots & Shoots programme; people, animal and the environment, can be integrated successfully. We very much look forward to watching this project develop even further to involve future generations to come.”
Dr Emma Jenkins aims to roll out another programme of activities for a community project in the future saying: “Not only did these activities inspire and provide a young generation to get hands on experience of conservation on the ground, but it also helped our own students studying at BU to understand the importance of involving the whole community in their research and that successes often involves many stakeholders to make real change happen.”
For further information about our Ecology and Wildlife Conservation course please visit the BU website.