Involving the next generation

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By John Eaton

Something we have to do, says John Eaton, CPRE West Wiltshire

When CPRE is describing what the organisation does, as often as not there will be the claim that campaigning now is for ‘future generations’, but is there any reason the up and coming generations should not be involved now, protecting their futures?

‘No’. says John Eaton, who is putting together a strategy to get younger members of our community to participate in action that relates directly to the future they will experience.

The idea is simple, relevant, and could be fun for all concerned. It simply involves getting into local schools to talk about the environment, and what every single person, young and old, can do to protect it.

Children care about green issues, and are deeply concerned about things like plastics in the sea, and turtles getting tangled up in it. What we could do is show them how these threats don’t just happen in holiday destinations, or on the television, but on their own doorstep.

The earlier in life people are made aware that there is a body campaigning to keep our countryside viable, pollution free, and benefiting all aspects of their life, the more likely they are join us, today, tomorrow, or in 20 years time.

John has opened negotiations with one primary school, where the head teacher is keen to take this further. More of a strategist and project manager than a teacher him-self, he freely admits that this type of activity will need to call on others to help carry it through. There is no reason not to involve other bodies with similar interests – wildlife trusts, litter picking crews, climate campaigners.

John cannot be expected to do this all by himself! Campaigning works when there is a body of people working together, with each individual doing what they do best.

Obviously there are necessary safeguards; we can’t just send people into schools without checks in advance, but if you have been a teacher, or hold a DBS certificate, get along well with youngsters and could chat to them about countryside matters this could be a lovely way to get involved with campaigning.

Just consider what YOU could contribute – it does not have to be a huge amount.

  • Do you know a local school teacher, or school governor, who you could sound out about the feasibility of someone coming in to talk to a class about their local environment?
  • Have you got any contacts with other organisations such as Wiltshire Wildlife or The Woodland Trust and if so could you suggest they might like to come along, too?
  • Have you experience of working with children, and would you be able to help put together a format for school visits?
  • Would you be able to spare a few hours accompanying a school group on a foray into the country-side, or on a litter pick, chatting to the children about what they see and find?
  • Could you be one of a team manning a stand at a School Fete or other annual event?

If you would like to help in any way, do please contact the office by email admin@cprewiltshire.org.uk.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions we are limited in what we can do now, but let’s start planning for later this year and 2021!

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