The end of the school year is just around the corner and summer is upon us, so I thought I’d reflect on the conservation areas of concern that the children and I have worked on from the beginning of this academic year, 2018 to 2019.
Since September, I’ve been leading conservation art workshops that have had the children delving into the ocean to look at the effects of plastic pollution in our worldwide waters, sketched through what climate change is and how it’s affecting the world in relation to the north and south poles, investigated deforestation in the Amazon and Indonesia for Palm Oil plantations, as well as teaching the children about our closest living relatives – chimpanzees – so that they start thinking about where we’ve come from and begin to understand that we’re all part of nature as one.
Endangered species from continents all over the world were also looked at in such a way that it encouraged the kids to question how we might be able to help such species going forward.
Along with global environmental issues, in Spring and Summer terms, my workshops covered UK conservation looking into bird species, sowing wildflower seeds, growing mushroom mycelium and drawing through endangered species in Britain, such as Bumble bees and hedgehogs, to name but a few. An area of the nursery garden was left alone to go wild in order to attract more pollinators along with other wildlife, and the bug hotel was continuously added to and expanded to house more insects.
A ‘Conservation’ area was created inside the nursery to adorn the walls with the children’s artwork created with me, along with displaying the framed Bronze Summer Term 2018 Award with the newest Silver Award, won last month, for Spring Term 2019 from Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots education programme for young people, in recognition of Mad Hatter’s contributions in achieving a better world for people, animals and the environment.
In tandem with my workshops, Mad Hatter’s Nursery has taken many positive steps to help our environment and bought recycling bins which were placed in prominent positions inside the nursery so that the little ones could see clearly which waste products go into which bins, adopted a polar bear, teamed up with TerraCycle to collect all brands of crisp packets and multipack bags to send off for recycling and started collecting plastic bottle lids for reuse at a local wellness centre.
Yesterday marked my last workshop for the year so the children and I had great fun sketching whatever they asked me to. What struck me the most during this time was how the kids were constantly and nonchalantly linking back to past workshops we’d covered over the year and discussing with me, things like climate change, nudibranchs in relation to coral reef conservation and endangered species with habitat destruction, for example.
It’s incredible to think these little kids will be starting school in September already with conservation and love for our planet firmly in mind. I’m just very grateful and happy to have been part of the beginning of their journeys learning about what this wonderful world has to offer, and how we must look after mother nature as she does us. For more information, visit www.doodleswithmydaughter.co.uk