The children from London and it´s surroundings were waiting eagerly outside the Park Plaza Riverbank, St Albert Embankment, early on Monday morning. No-one wanted to miss the start of the Academy.
Altogether 43 children from 8 schools (Wyvil, Vauxhall, Henry Fawcett, Henry Cavendish, St Annes; Cambridge Schools: Parkside, St Johns and Kings; John Hanson Community School in Andover) attended the Academy in Lambeth, London.
The academy was made possible thanks to the commitment of Symantec during their London Vision Symposium 2014. The event was free-of-charge for all the attending children, who were aged 8 to 14. Special thanks for the tree planting go to Lambeth Council who provided practical expert support on the day, the tools, the planting peripherals and of course the Park in which we planted and by Veolia who provided manpower on the day and mulch for the trees. 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 by the presenters from Rookwood School and St John the Baptist School in Andover the full attention of the children turned to the presentation "Now we children save the world!" After a lively question and answer session, there was time for a break with light refreshments.
Afterwards the children were divided into small groups to learn about global distribution and injustice in the World Game. The children didn’t need to be told twice to distribute the balloons and sweets among the playing figures. In a minimum of time they realized, that the current state of the world is very unfair and should not continue like that. They claimed equal rights for everyone.
In order to support climate justice it is necessary to know how to present the facts. Therefore public speaking training followed. During the training the children learned how to present a short passage from the opening presentation and gave each other tips on how to improve their presentations in the future.
After lunch and some time to relax and discuss the topics discovered so far, the children relocated to Pedlars Park, Lambeth, to plant their own trees. In total the children planted 8 semi-mature trees adjacent to the Hotel. With the assistance of the adults present the children placed the trees in pre-prepared holes.
After a short break the program continued with the World Café – a group work to collect ideas about what they can do to motivate classmates as well as grown-ups. Meanwhile a small group prepared the final presentation. Thereafter the children sat together in school groups to work on the solutions. Time was flying and the first parents, friends and teachers where arriving for the evening presentation. The children presented a shortened version of the academy presentation as well as the outcomes of the school group work and received lots of applause. Parents, friends, organizers and guests were very impressed by the performance of the children.
After a long, eventful, and enjoyable day, all 43 participants received their certificates, which recognized 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 the book Tree-by-Tree, and of course the Plant-for-the-Planet T-shirt they collected at the start of the day as well as some delicious Change Chocolate.
The Plant-for-the-Planet team would like to thank everybody who was involved in this wonderful academy. We are looking forward to the next academies.
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