What is Roots & Shoots? Service Learning at Its Best - Eva Varga

February 19, 20112

For the past 6 years (and an additional 6 years when I was in the public school), I have coordinated a Roots & Shoots club for my kiddos.  Roots & Shoots is the Jane Goodall Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program.  It is a powerful, youth-driven, global network of tens of thousands of members in more than 120 countries.

Together, youth from pre-K through college take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.  I love the concept of Roots & Shoots and have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this organization.

Care packages for our service men and women on Veteran’s Day

The projects and activities in which Roots & Shoots groups take part are as diverse as the groups themselves.  The membership requirements are minimal, the coordinator’s handbook states that groups must:

  • plan and implement at least one on-going community service project each year;
  • address at least one of the three Roots & Shoots  themes: the environment, animals and the human community;
  • submit an activity report to the Roots & Shoots national office at least twice each year; and
  • pay the membership fee and update their contact information annually.
Interpretive sign benefiting our community wildlife

To receive a Certificate of Recognition and be considered an “active group” you must:

  • plan and implement service projects that cover all three Roots & Shoots themes.  This could mean one of two things:
    • plan at least 3 different projects a year that address care and concern for the environment, care and concern for animals and care and concern for the community;
    • plan one or two larger projects that cover more than one of the major themes.  Some groups focus on one year-long project that addresses all three themes.
  • submit at least 3 activity reports and a year-long portfolio.

We have earned a Certificate of Recognition each year and look forward to someday taking part in the leadership programs. We hope to someday also attend a Roots & Shoots summit whereby we can meet other groups.


  • Heather

    February 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    well, thank you for this. I have never heard of this, but it goes right along with our Nature loving kids. I am going to look it up!

  • Jesse,

    February 21, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    We face the same problem. 3 boys, 2 girls age differences. We would be gone more than home if we tried to join Scouts, but I really enjoyed the experience when I was younger. Our state has a Pioneer club – but it’s largely on an individual basis. Perhaps I should try to start a group so many families could get involved – you’ve given me something to think about.

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