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The Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots Program inspiring youth to affect change in their community

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STEAM Powered speaks with Abbie Ryan, environmental educator, author, and General Manager of the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots program about how the Roots & Shoots program inspires and supports youth to identify and implement proactive solutions to issues impacting biodiversity and humanity worldwide.
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Yeah. Well, I mean roots and shoots is global. So it's in over 50 countries around the world, but really what it is is, um, you know, in recent years, it's a bit like having your own chair squats, anything that a child wants to do that's proactive in the environment. So anything that's going to promote animals, people or the environment because it's about human needs as well and quality and poverty of addressing those sorts of things too. But um, you know, where there to help support them to find an issue in their local area and address it. So whether they're doing a beach clean or whether they um, you know, creating a pollinator garden, But with the underlying principles that it's about acting acting locally and having a global impact. So across those 50 countries with hundreds of roots and shoots groups, hopefully we're one big community actually making a difference. Yeah. That's incredible. Yeah. Yes. So it is enemy triple because so often, um you know, I get the privilege of seeing what all these different projects are all over the place and they are fantastic. Like one of the schools that I just love at the moment down in victoria, they have an issue with one that's coming into their school and digging up, can't they garden? And so, you know, an immediate response would obviously be all that put a fence around it. So the one that can't come in, but that's not looking at the big picture that's not thinking about how they might need, you know, that environment, how they might cross it to get to other parts of their territory, but other food sources to find and all that stuff. So rather than doing that, they have, they're in the process now raising some of their garden beds so that the wombats can't dig straight into them. Um and they're also looking at perhaps putting in some warm back gates um you know, the school so that they can sort of be a little bit more careful about where they go into the school and where they don't because obviously not a child falling in a hole. Exactly, jimmy go, oh yeah, I mean that's really cool. But you know, there are kids out there doing planting trees specifically for squirrel gliders and creating nesting boxes for them and all sorts of pollinator gardens for different species and butterfly species and putting in the host plants for the butterflies, caterpillars and um all of that frog boggs and but also feeding this information into citizen science projects and things like that. So, um we at roots and shoots are really, you know, we're we love to collaborate. We're very, very happy to say to our roots and shoots people, hey go and be part of the bird count and be part of clean up Australia beach clean with your local council, whatever it is because it's all important. So it's just about, you know, getting out and enjoying it. Yeah, well it's all about community service to the community in whatever capacity that you can do it. Yeah. And often people just be overwhelmed. They don't know where to start, but that's the whole point. It's about finding something that you can two that isn't too overwhelming. I mean, even a day's worth of picking up things on a beach or planning a few trees. It's all good stuff. Yeah. And people just generally they get their confidence and they get a better understanding of the impact that they can have and um and they make community connections and that's fun. And so yeah, so we win. Yes, it definitely is. So how do you, there's a lot of these programs are run three schools and smaller groups, but how do you, how do they come up with these ideas for the projects that they want to run? Well, we really encourage them to look immediately around them. So, you know, I guess at an academic level you could look at, for example, the survey of the animal species that live in your immediate area. So one of the programs were about to run next year is called re wild, your school habitat. Um and that's about using the outlets of living Australia to identify um animal species that have been recorded in your, in your immediate area and then working out from that what they need and putting it in. So whether you need to put in, you know, specific food trees for example, some casuarina for glossy black cockatoos or um, you know, whatever it is, um once you understand what you need to do is much much easier, of course. Um, but it could be just really basic stuff, they might, the kids might realize that um, the ways of recycling in the school quite as good as they could be, or they might look at palm oil use um, in the products in their school canteen. Um they might simply put in a veggie garden and and composting system, all that sort of stuff. So yeah, we really let them decide what they want to do and we're very, very happy to help come up with ideas. Um Yeah, but it's, you know, it's got to come from the heart before you can basically get into it, isn't it? And I think follows action a lot of time.