This November, Dr. Jane Goodall, the renowned British researcher and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and its youth-led community action program, Roots & Shoots, will visit Beijing. A summit will be held at the Western Academy of Beijing on November 13, which will include, apart from a speech and Q&A with Jane Goodall herself, presentations by the different student groups about their projects. This blog series will follow the work of different school groups in preparation for the big event.
Roots & Shoots builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Goodall and places the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of young people. Through the program, students around the world map their communities to identify specific challenges their neighborhoods face. From there, they prioritize the problems, develop a plan for a solution, and take action.
Roots & Shoots student groups at international schools across Beijing are the perfect examples of these community-based efforts. Highly active, they have carried out projects and campaigns that have had huge impacts in their own communities and beyond. On November 13, they will all meet each other – and Dr. Goodall – to share each other’s stories at the Roots & Shoots Beijing International School Summit.
One of the schools that will be there is Beijing City International School (BCIS). Students at BCIS, with class ranges from grade 6-12, will present projects that they are currently working on, focusing on three key areas: Their organic garden, their No Shark Fin campaign and the issue of 2nd hand smoking.
The organic garden was created two years ago, first in the secondary school, then later with the elementary school opening a garden as well. Every week they take care of them, growing various plants and herbs such as lavender, mint, basil and tomatoes for use and sales for R&S fundraising. They plan to give Dr. Goodall a selection of dried herbs from the garden as a gift. They also hope to make postcards depicting the garden, collaborating with the BCIS Aqua Pulse Photography Club.
The students hope to showcase their involvement in the No Shark Fin Project, which helps to spread awareness and educate the public about the harmful effects of eating shark fin on marine ecosystems and the treatment of sharks during the finning process. They will present their progress in the project, including sharing their pledges collected from the public, making a poster for the Summit, and sharing their trip to swim with the sharks at the Blue Zoo, which they hope will happen by the end of the year.
Lastly, they will present their project on 2nd hand smoking, designed to spread awareness to their fellow students and the wider public about effects of 2nd hand smoke in China, and to advocate the banning of smoking in public spaces. The students plan to present a sample poster they will distribute around the school will helpful information and statistics on the issue.
The Summit will bring together a set of students who, though diverse in culture and nationality, all share a common goal of saving the environment. Roots & Shoots is looking forward with great excitement to hear about their work.
Roots & Shoots is an international hands-on environmental and humanitarian education program that is about making positive change happen – for the environment, for animals and for our communities. Started in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students who wanted to make a difference in their community, R&S is now a growing global program based on the principle that everyone has the ability to bring about change. For more information, visit our website www.genyuya.org.cn/en/
Photo: Courtesy of Jane Goodall Foundation