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From Have a Green Halloween to Cast Your Vote Here Please!

One of the really great things about Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Programme is the utter diversity of activities any one group can undertake whilst staying true to its own fundamental principles. This is certainly true for us as, we find ourselves in a situation whereby having just undertaken a huge environmental awareness day in Inverness encouraging individuals to have a “Green Halloween” we are all set to participate in a number of events which will permit youngsters in the region an opportunity to vote on issues which will dictate what it is that the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People tackles over the next four years.

The potential magnitude of this undertaking has just been revealed to us as at this point in time I believe we are the only group registered to carry out an official ballot here in the Highlands. The desperately disappointing thing about this apart from the lost opportunities it represents is that not one of the schools we have contacted to date are even aware of what is in effect a national campaign, or the relevance it holds for their students.

In effect Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Programme, is currently responsible for providing some 30,000 Scottish Children an opportunity to physically cast their vote, in a ballot, which will help shape all their futures. It sounds very dramatic but without our association with the programme we would never have had the notion of participating in such an event, never mind find the confidence to attempt that which we are about to undertake.

We are working hard with Fay, an administrator from the Commissioner’s Office to ensure that we receive an adequate supply of resources and in the last day alone we have been able to add 3 additional sessions to our list, with the prospect of many more being added. Unfortunately we don’t have the ability and/or the finances to facilitate a physical voting experience for every child and we will therefore also be contacting schools in the region in the hope that they will encourage their students to register their votes on-line. Our goal is to facilitate a minimum of 3,000 registered votes; our hope is to achieve ten times that number.

As noted at the beginning of this submission we recently held a “Have a Green Halloween” day at one of our local Tesco Stores. It was a great success with hundreds of pledges being made, free goodie-bags distributed and money raised for Green Projects. We were also able to give away hundreds of leaflets filled with ideas and suggestions on how to make Halloween a Green Experience, without detracting from the fun of the occasion.

The team have also successfully completed the Discovery Level of the John Muir Award Scheme, and as a consequence of this we have been notified that the award administrators wish to publish an article about the group to help inspire others to get involved in biodiversity. This will be utilised as part of the John Muir Award Schemes wrapping up of their connection with the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. Once again we have been left feeling humbled by the attention of such an organisation and we are very proud to be associated with them.

One piece of news which we are all very relieved about is the world’s first successful captive hatching of a particular species of Gecko at Nick Martin’s animal centre in Inverness. The baby is doing very well and with three other eggs due to hatch it is exciting times and we hope to be able to submit photos of all of the babies in due course. We have been invited to discuss the group’s activities at a meeting of local pensioners after their Winter Break, and have also been asked to arrange a display of photos highlighting our work, at a Carers workshop at the end of this month.

Autumn continues to amaze us with stunning colour changes, blooming flowers and even sunny days. We have taken full advantage of this and had numerous trips out in to the countryside.

We continue to recycle and reuse items and have undertaken activities aimed at designing  alternative ways in which to use these for the benefit of  local wildlife. We have also liaised with members of other environmental groups in our area and we have all agreed to plant certain species of wildflowers to encourage wildlife and in particular bees.

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