During her evening runs in nature, Julia often stops to walk through the meadows and forests in her German town of Penzlin. Looking around, she was shocked to see the significant amount of garbage polluting the beautiful scenery surrounding her. Then one day while thinking of the children at her work, she had a brilliant idea. Observing how they handle garbage inadvertently, she came up with the idea children can do something about what is happening around them, but they would first need to be made aware and provided some guidance.
Julia slowly, but surely, decided to bring this great idea to life.
She started by splitting thirty children into three groups, ages ranging from 6-12 years old to discuss topics on environmental awareness. They talked about what they considered to be beautiful in our world and what they think destroys our planet. Topics included: ways to save electricity, separate waste, make conscious decisions when shopping, and the proper ways to dispense of plastic and newspaper.
The children developed their own ideas about what they could do to protect our world. Julia collected their ideas and displayed them on a poster for them to build on and expand each week.
The children started collecting garbage and rubbish together and were shocked at how many items were collected in a short amount of time. Not only did they collect garbage, they also sorted items into the categories of glass, waste paper, plastic/ packaging material and residual waste. The children were able to apply what they learned during their discussions to this project.
Julia told ISF, “My goal for this project is to raise awareness about the environment by educating the children. Our hope is to create a feeling of purpose and take small, but great steps towards the goal at large.”
To gain support, she wrote letters to parents and spoke to the head of the kindergarten. Additionally, she promoted the project on social media extensively and reached out to the local newspaper and press for coverage and promotion of the children’s project.
Building on the success this project has already achieved, her future plans are to continue collecting garbage with the children. Eventually, her hope is to incorporate the children, in all the classes throughout the school, in collecting garbage and then recycling what they can to build insect hotels and birdhouses. Julia’s final goal is to ask the Mayor and city to put more trashcans throughout the town and near its lakes so more people can take part in preserving our beautiful planet.
Written By: Dina Khayal
Edited By: Bob Stone
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