Design Your Own
Roots & Shoots is an adaptable and ever-changing program. Most importantly, it’s your program! Projects that work for kids in one country or community, may not work in another. You can use community mapping (see below) to identify areas in your community that could use some help and use that as inspiration to start your own project. The best projects are those that most closely match the needs of your community.
Here are just a handful of examples of project ideas you could use :
- Start a community garden to connect others with nature
- Start an environmental club at your school
- Hold a fundraising event (bakesale or stuffed chimp toy raffle) for JGIA
- Have a garage sale with donated items to raise money for JGI’s Africa programs
- Build a peace dove and make a peace pledge to celebrate International Day of Peace held on September 21st each year
- Change a habit to help animals, people and the environment
- Stop using plastic bags
- Start meat-free Monday or waste-free Wednesday
Once you’ve decided on a project, you can apply for a $250 or $500 Roots & Shoots Mini Grant to help fund your project.
How do you know where to start making a difference? Community mapping tells the story of what is happening in your community and helps you discover how you can best help. When you observe and map your community you really get to know about the Animals, People and Environment around you, as well as your community’s needs and the resources available. By using the same strategy as Dr Jane you will be able to explore your community and identify areas to make a difference.
Time: 2 – hour minimum
Map (download or hand-drawn)
Coloured pencils or markers
Part One: Observing your community
Once you have chosen your focus area (a few kilometers is sufficient), the first step is to discuss with your group or write down the importance of mapping your community. Imagine you are looking at your community from a bird’s eye view and ask questions such as:
What are the roads around your focus area?
Are there any major intersections?
Do you see animals, wild or domestic?
Where do they go during the day?
Where do they get their food?
Do you see any plants or trees in your focus area?
Why are they important to your community?
Part Two: Preparing your map
Start by drawing, downloading or purchasing a map of yourfocus area (sometimes the council will give these to you).
Part Three: Marking basic community characteristics
Use a different colour or sticker to mark and label each of the following types of characteristics that apply to your community:
Human Characteristics – light blue
- School/ work
- Major streets
- Playgrounds/ parks
- Libraries/ community centers
- Places of worship
- Town square
Animal Characteristics – light purple
- Endangered species in the area
- Areas for domestic animal use (e.g. dog parks or dog friendly areas)
- Areas you have seen wild animals
- Zoos or aquariums
Environmental Characteristics – light green
- Forests (including any protected forests)
- Ocean, rivers, lakes, ponds
- Mountain ranges
Part Four: Marking basic community resources
Mark and label the types of resources available in your community. Use a darker version of the same colour that you used to mark community characteristics so that you can easily identify human, animal and environmental elements:
Human Resources – dark blue
- Grocery stores/ farmers markets /favourite restaurants
- Hospitals and clinics
- Shelters and food banks
- Fire station
- Police station
Animal Resources – dark purple
- Animal control facilities
- Animal hospitals
- Any place that cares for native wildlife
Environmental Resources – dark green
- Recycling centre
- Waste and water treatment facilities
- Landfill/ waste management site
- Sources of power (coal, wind, solar)
- Environmental services (reservoir, wetlands)
Part Five: Reflection
Take a look at your map and reflect on the following questions:
- What is about your community makes it a great habitat for people and animals?
- What makes it a great environmental habitat?
- Is your community meeting the basic needs of humans and animals?
- Is your community environmentally sustainable?
- What are some areas of improvement for your community?
- What would make it a better environmental habitat?
Now you can brainstorm and work out what your community needs.
Turn those THOUGHTS into ACTION!
For more information on community mapping check out the Roots & Shoots USA website.