a Cool, Really Green Teenager - Get Me Outta Here!
How many cool, really green teenagers do you know? I've just run
a day's activities on our farm for eight teenagers and, although
hand-picked for their enthusiastic natures, they were not necessarily
particularly environmentally aware or cool. Split into two teams
of equal numbers of boys and girls (who didn't know each other),
they had to design and weave a living willow seat on the banks
of a pond; skin a rabbit; make nettle soup (and eat it); act out
some very uncool animal behaviour (such as blue tits passing each
other caterpillars in courtship); and write a poetry rap on what
being green means.
involved working out appropriate solutions for a variety of tricky
situations - and possibly accepting that
the coolest people are very often the ones that don't mind being
un-cool sometimes. Despite the appropriate answer to saving water
and energy after running the marathon being to have a quick shower,
one teenager's solution was to not wash and hope his friends didn't
smell him! Another suggested leaving her too-cool friend outside
Oxfam while she went in to buy 'green' recycled blankets.
the ghastly voting out of your fellow team members as in the
celebrity 'get me out of here' TV epics,
each teenager had to vote on the person who had contributed most
to each activity. It was satisfying to see that the only two
children who had regularly attended our monthly Wildlife Watch
meetings for several years were both winner and runner-up. All
teenagers without exception have asked to come to more similar
days in the summer. One hopes that inspiring children in natural
history when they are as young as five years old will engender
a life-long love of, and responsibility for, the environment.
Instead of taking your kids skating or paintballing for their
birthday, why not organise a few green activities? They'll love
Hawkins is a farm conservation consultant involved in conservation
projects on her family-owned farm.