Roots & Shoots Annual Youth Summit at Windsor Castle
Six very excited boys, along with their parents, went to Windsor Castle over the summer at the invitation of Dr Jane Goodall. They were asked to make a presentation at her Roots & Shoots Annual Youth Summit at Windsor Castle to talk about the eco and charitable work and other related projects we had undertaken at school over the past year.
This year, 40 Roots & Shoots Youth leaders from 24 different countries attended the 5 day Summit. The aim is to share pressing environmental and conservation concerns in their countries and help plan ways forward and discuss solutions to them. Our presentation took place on the final day as an uplifting illustration of how the Roots & Shoots programme runs in a school.
After watching the Changing of the Guards from a special vantage point, our boys, aged from 6 to 11, went into the famous St George’s Hall for the presentation. They moved some audience members to tears through their passion, eloquence and confidence. Dr Jane followed every word intently and was very impressed with what has been achieved to date. She asked the boys to continue sharing their message with others and reminding them of the positive impact their actions have on the world around us.
Here is an account of the day in their words from Benedict, Max, Will, Miles, Percy and Jolyon:
Benedict, Year 1:
When we first arrived at Windsor Castle we watched the Changing of the Guard. I was very frightened because they held their swords up high and came very close to us again and again. I think they must have been very hot in their best skin hats and red woollen coats. It was a boiling hot day, even I felt like I was melting. The drums were very, very, VERY LOUD. However … the soldiers were super loud when they were barking their instructions and orders.
Miles, Year 4:
It was a really hot day, we had been travelling a long way on a crowded train. We got off the train and walked up the hill from the railway station and we turned a corner and suddenly the walls of the castle were in front of us. I felt really excited and the castle looked massive.
We were allowed to stand in front of the soldiers and my best bit was being up close to them….one of them even said hello to us as he marched towards us. The music was really loud and we jumped when the big bass drum came around the corner.
Meeting Dr Goodall and many of the people from around the world was amazing and everyone had such great ideas about helping the environment.
Will, Year 3:
On Thursday I was given a lovely opportunity to go to Windsor Castle and see Dr Jane Goodall as part of the Roots and Shoots programme. We went to a big old room with a high ceiling made of wood near the back of the Castle. There we met Dr Jane and got ready to do our presentations. Dr Jane was very relaxed but I knew that she was very serious about our environment. There were a lot of other people in the room watching. They were from many different countries and I noticed that a few of them looked like they were crying during some of our presentations.
I was the fourth Prep boy to give a presentation. I was very nervous and my legs were shaking a bit. I had to hold a little microphone but I managed to talk. I wanted to talk about the ocean and all the litter that is going into it because I see a lot of plastic litter when we are on holiday in Cornwall. We have to do something about this. Dr Jane talked to us at the end and said that every little thing we all do makes a difference. We must all look after our world and make it as good as new again like Windsor Castle.
Max, Year 2:
Dr Jane is a kind lady. She is famous for being an expert on chimpanzees and she started a club called Roots and Shoots to help people think about how the world should be.
After our presentation, she told us her own thoughts about what we said, ‘Poor Dr Jane, always travelling around the world! It is pretty exhausting, but when I listen to all of you, it is really worth it. Just think, there are six of you here, but there are now schools in over 100 countries. When you put all the things you do together, every little helps.’
I was very lucky because Dr Jane taught me chimpanzee greeting noises. I am still practicing them today!
Jolyon, Year 6:
After the presentations and Dr Jane’s response, we were asked to gather outside with Dr Jane and all the delegates for some group photos. It was really good fun, and instead of saying ‘cheese’ for the photographers we said ‘chimpanzees’ – naturally. Dr Jane taught us how to correctly make a chimpanzee sound – and we all practiced very loudly! Then we had a delicious vegetarian lunch in the hall, and the chance to chat with the delegates.
One of the highlights of the day was having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who are as passionate as we are about eco-issues. I had the chance to meet students from other countries who have continued to be active in their eco-clubs through school and now university, via the Roots and Shoots programme. It was really inspiring to meet older people who share the same concerns that we do. I learned about how they leave the Roots and Shoots conference with a main project that they each focus on for the next year, sharing the work with people who are based all over the world – this seemed like a fantastic way to work collaboratively. I also learned about how they visit schools and help with their eco-projects, which is why they were so interested to hear about our Eco-club work. They said that we had given them lots of ideas for things to try out when they get home.
It was really fantastic meeting so many interesting people and feeling like we are part of something global. It has really inspired me to continue with eco-work and Roots and Shoots all the way through school and beyond.
Percy, Year 5:
Dr Jane was very impressed with what we had been doing to become more aware of how to make the world a better place for us all to live in. I felt really proud to talk about our work in Eco Club at Dulwich Prep London and to answer questions off-the top-of-our-heads, on behalf of our school.
There was quite a big audience that we spoke to and we were asked a few questions after the speeches. For example: ‘How do you get your younger school boys involved in Eco issues?’ My answer was, ‘We’d like to make the world a better place because bad things are happening and some people have to make a difference. And little things do make that difference.’
Dr Jane said ‘each of us has a story to tell, a story to share’, and she encouraged us to go on to share our stories with lots of other people to help build the Roots and Shoots family all over the world.
One of the many problems we talked about afterwards was palm oil, the money it creates and the habitats it destroys. People are choosing to be greedy — they get a lot of money and they don’t care how they do it. Pollution & deforestation all come from people’s greed. People cut down trees to make palm oil which affects endangered species and the wider environment. We need to react to what is happening and think of better solutions.
At my school, Dulwich Prep London, we are reacting and we are thinking of better solutions to save the planet. We are putting solar panels on our new lunch hall — this will generate some electricity to run the kitchen. We would like to invest in getting meat-free days for everyone because this helps stop deforestation — meaning they don’t have to cut down as many trees to make the space to look after these animals. We are growing food like courgettes and tomatoes and plenty more to eat in our school lunches. This is one small step that definitely does make a difference. If all the schools in the world were to do this, the world would be a much happier and healthier place.
We need to be thinking about the planet more, saying the right things about the planet, and doing something about it. Today and every day. All these ideas have inspired me to think of my own creative ways to protect the planet. What will you do to make a difference?