Every year in September, Roots & Shoots groups from around the world 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. Each Roots & Shoots project is a step towards a future in which humans can live in peace in an environmentally sustainable way—a step towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
2021 Theme: Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world
In 2021, as we heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.
For 2021, we asked our members to join the Roots & Shoots family around the world in #PlantingHope. We encourage them to think about what message of peace they’d like to release into the world and combine it with a powerful action that will make a real difference to the planet, planting a tree or seedling.
Trees and plants represent hope, new life, growth, and development. They enrich the environment, and our lives. They help people, animals, and the planet, like the goals of Roots & Shoots.
We are delighted that the Andover Trees United (ATU) and the town of Andover hosted the Parade for the fourth time. It was amazing to welcome four Roots & Shoots member schools, carrying their doves of peace in Harmony Woods, the community woodland that they are all helping to plant. Special thanks to Jess and Maylis for organising the dove making stall at A-Fest in Andover.
We were delighted to welcome the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire Lady Portal MBE DL and the Mayor of Test Valley Borough Council, Cllr Martin Hatley.
Thank you to the staff and children of Harrow Way Community School; Appleshaw St Peter’s CofE Primary School and Endeavour Primary School and Winton Community School for joining us in celebrating.
We received lovely messages from Barbara Long (Mayor of Andover and initial trustee of ATU); Portway Junior School and Hurstbourne Tarrant School, who couldn’t be with us on the day, but contributed with messages of Peace, in the dove making or celebrated at the school.
Andover Trees United volunteers and local residents helped immensely in making the day so special – putting up shelters, welcoming the visitors and participating school children and organising refreshments – everyone got to enjoy delicious cakes and tasty treats as part of the day’s celebrations.
There was a giant dove procession around Harmony Woods and our young members loved taking turns flying it. 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 young oak tree was planted in honour of Peace Day and Trees for Jane’ and we look forward to seeing it grow! Messages of Peace and Hope were written on shards of wood and left around the tree to slowly decompose and feed it.
*photos Roots & Shoots UK
Here are some thoughts from the day:
Wendy Davis, ATU Founder said: “Tuesday was an amazing day on so many levels. Not only was the weather glorious, but we were able to welcome 30 children from 4 different schools to walk the giant dove around Harmony Woods. So uplifting to have a hint of the much-needed recovery that once more sees us coming together to celebrate and share special moments. The day was made even more special as Lady Portal, representing the Lord Lieutenant, joined us for the third time as did Jasmina and, for the first time, Tara as well. All topped off with a Peace Day message from Jane and the planting of a young oak tree as part of the wonderful ‘Trees for Jane’ programme. Perfect! ?
Tara Golshan, Executive Director, Education said: “Peace is both personal to the individual, meaning different things to different people. But, I believe in the core of it, it means collaboration, understanding, empathy and compassion.
Now, more than ever, we must be united in achieving Peace – peace between ourselves, in our Planet and in the natural World.
I was privileged to join the procession at the beautiful Harmony Woods and meet so many like-minded individuals and inspiring young people. We need to stand strong for the future, but I believe that our young Roots & Shoots members are well braced for this.
Thank you Andover Trees United for hosting us once again and for being part of our mission for a better future!”
Lady Portal (Louisa) MBE DL: “Congratulations! It was the happiest Peace Procession ever. They’ve all been happy but having fewer people meant it was even easier to engage and chat. What a great atmosphere and you had organised it so that the young people had something to do and a reason for doing it every minute they were on site. It was really special!”
Ian Hickman, Appleshaw St Peter’s CofE Primary School: “It was a privilege and a pleasure to be involved in the Peace Day event at Harmony Woods. Children working together to celebrate and promote peace is exactly what our world needs.”
Barbara Long, Mayor of Andover and initial trustee of Andover Trees United: “So sorry I can’t be with you today. It’s fantastic that so many of you can meet to celebrate the International Day of Peace as we recover from the pandemic that we are going through.
As lots of schools meet together today, I ask that you join hands to show solidarity in sharing your messages of peace and love across Andover and the word. Sending love and peace to you all!”
Mr Deery and all the staff and pupils at Portway Junior School: “On this International Day of Peace, Portway Junior School are working towards recovering from the Covid 19 pandemic for a more equitable and sustainable world.
We believe that kindness, positivity, effort and resilience will enable pupils to continue to learn and grow into the best young people they can be.
We can’t be here in person this year, but the message of peace is central to all that we do at Portway and the doves will be flying in school this week.”
Hurstbourne Tarrant School: “Dear Andover Trees United, Roots & Shoots and all other Earth lovers present today.
We are sorry we could not join in to celebrate this Peace Day with you, however we do want to thank you for hanging our doves for us. We will be thinking of you today and wishing that everyone has a safe and fun event. Peace be with you!”
*photos by Terri Forbes. Thank you Terri!