Every year on September 21st, Roots & Shoots groups from around the world gather together to celebrate Roots & Shoots Peace Day and honour the UN International Day of Peace. Dr. Jane has been a UN Messenger of Peace since 2002 and she inspires us all to live in harmony with nature and each other. This year’s theme for the UN International Day of Peace was “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70 celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Andover Trees United and the town of Andover hosted the Parade. Ten of our amazing member schools took part. The doves were flown in town and in Harmony Woods.
Thanks to the support of Test Valley Borough Council Leader Cllr Phil North, Andover Trees United worked with the Council’s ‘Andover Vision’ team to run 5 community engagement sessions at town events in July and August to make doves and write pledges. The environmental remit of the ‘Vision’ is to highlight the River Anton, local nature reserves and connect more young people to the beautiful natural spaces and countryside in and around the town.
The Roots & Shoots ‘Making Doves for Peace Day’ sessions gave the Vision Team the chance to showcase these environmental ambitions. Children and families who took part made several hundred doves. Sessions were led by a rota of 10 Roots & Shoots youngsters (our ‘Junior Branch’) and ATU volunteers. The doves were displayed in Andover Library in the run up to Peace Day. As well as the schools, children, teachers and parents attending, we were also delighted to welcome the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Lady Portal MBE DL; the Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr Ian Carr; the Mayor of Andover, Cllr Barbara Townsend; Borough Councillor David Drew; Town Councillor Carol Bartholomew; Enham Parish Councillor Phil Jones and the Andover Churches.
Andover Trees United volunteers and local residents helped immensely in making the day so special – everyone got to enjoy some tasty treats at the tents set up for the day. The crowd was buzzing with excitement, little doves with inspiring messages and pledges were tied up all over the wood and everyone reflected on what Peace is for them and how we can help achieve it locally and globally.
A tree was planted in honour of Peace Day and Dr Jane Goodall and we look forward to seeing it blossom! Dr Jane surprised everyone with a thank you video.
Here are some thoughts from the attendees and organisers:
Lady Portal, Deputy Lieutenant Hampshire:
“Peace Day celebration really was one of those days which will stay with me for a very long time. It was a privilege for me to be part of it, (I’m so glad the Lord-Lieutenant gave me the invitation!). Processing with the huge dove with the strong wind and very happy children was extraordinary. I was moved by it. I didn’t have time to read the messages on the doves but what I do know is that the children understood why they were there and that their messages for peace extended much further than the field in which we were standing.”
Wendy, Andover Trees United:
“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to host the Peace Day parade. It was tremendous to witness several hundred children and adults carry, shelter beneath and follow the giant dove of peace across Harmony Woods. Thanks must go to everyone who joined in, to our tireless volunteers for staging the event and of course the children and their teachers. We were delighted to be able to plant a tree in honour of the day, an Alder, the Celtic tree sign for those born in early April, as was Jane.It is said that those born under the Alder sign are natural pathfinders. They have the ability to move people and quickly gain followers to their cause. The Alders have a way with words, mingle easily and people love to be around them. A fitting tribute we hope you will agree.”
Headteacher, Abbotts Ann C of E Primary School:
“I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the planning and organisation which made Friday so special – our children came back buzzing from the procession and had a super morning. Back in school, we have made peace doves and created a display!”
Claire Quarendon, the Jane Goodall Institute UK
“I was delighted to join over 100 children from schools in Andover, to fly a giant peace dove in recognition of ‘International Peace Day’. There was great excitement at the start of the parade and as the children walked the dove along I heard many of them discussing what peace meant to them. The children also made small paper doves, with messages of peace on the back. It really was a very a wonderful and inspiring day.”
Tara Golshan, Executive Director, R&S
“Peace Day marks a very special time in the calendar of our Institute and the Roots & Shoots programme. I am so grateful to Wendy and all the team at Andover in making this event so engaging, widespread and proactive this year. The town of Andover and especially its young members should be proud of what they have achieved today”.
We had a wonderful time and are so grateful to everyone that attended and helped organise this day! Days like this give us hope for the future and keep us going!
the Roots & Shoots Team
All photos and video credit: John Baxter (thank you John for the beautifully captured moments).