I have coordinated a Roots & Shoots club in one form or another since I first heard Jane Goodall speak at an Oregon Science Teacher’s Conference in 1997. She has been an inspiration to me since I was a little girl. Taking part in Roots & Shoots has not only enabled me to meet Jane Goodall, but has encouraged me to work hard to make a difference.
“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference, human and non-human alike.” ~ Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the youth-led community action and learning program of the Jane Goodall Institute. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people. Through the program, young people map their community to identify specific challenges their neighborhoods face. From there, they prioritize the problems, develop a plan for a solution, and take action.
“What you do makes a DIFFERENCE. You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ~ Jane Goodall
Service learning projects combine learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good. Service learning can help your students become better learners, classmates, and citizens, and can help them make a valuable contribution to their communities.
This past summer, Roots & Shoots dramatically redesigned their website and the teaching tools they provide for their group leaders. They offered a four week course titled “Turning Learners into Leaders: Empowering Youth Through Service in Education” and I was delighted to have the opportunity to take part. It revitalized my approach to service learning and renewed my enthusiasm for Roots & Shoots.
I discovered that effective service learning emphasizes the following elements:
- Integrated Learning
- Community Need
- Student Voice
- Civic Responsibility
There are many opportunities to engage students in service learning. Read about some of the projects my Roots & Shoots groups have undertaken over the years. I have color coded them to coordinate with the Roots & Shoots formula for success (Get Engaged, Map It, Take Action, and Celebrate).
- Exploring Animal Tracks
- Running with Chinook
- Terra Aqua Columns
- Insect Hotels: Nesting Habitat for Mason Bees
- Saving the Native Turtles: Part One – Naturalist’s Notes
- Citizen Science Activities
- World Water Quality Monitoring Project
- Our Interpretive Sign Project
- International Day of Peace
- Meeting Jane Goodall