Friday, 20 May 2016

WWF - One Planet Future

With the introduction of the new Beavers Badges we were finding it difficult this year to cover the Community elements.  Whenever we thought of an idea to help locally we were hit with a stumbling block so we decided to look further afield and select the WWF as our charity of choice.

The WWF have a lot of resources for Youth Groups but the one that stood out for me was the "One Planet Future" badge.  This is a series of tasks for the children to complete and a badge that can be purchased for their Camp Blankets.  It's also really easy to tie in with other Beaver badges.  We decided that 3 weeks was about the right amount of time to spend on this, considering how many elements it included.

The Challenge is split into 4 sections:
- Introducing the WWF and One Planet Future film
- Safeguarding the natural world
- Tackling Climate Change
- Changing the way we live.

The pack contains lots of ideas for children from 6 - 14 years old and the idea is that you choose the activities best suited to your group, at least one from each section to raise awareness of all the issues.  If you need the printed pack make sure you order it well in advance as it took mine 3 months to arrive.  Also order the badges as soon as possible as I had problems with mine.

I've been asked to share our programme with other Beaver leaders so have put it below in case it is helpful to others.

There are some things I need to point out before I begin:
- Our sessions are only 1 hour long (so about 45min by the time you include settling down time, inspection and close down).
- We are pretty flexible when it comes to the Beaver badge requirements and have been known to ‘tweak’ them a little (ok quite a lot as you’ll see below, which some people may or may not agree with).  Depending on how much you stick to the prescribed badge ‘rules’ will depend if you tick off as much as us.  We managed elements from (Beaver stage):  Community Impact Stage 1, Creative, Camp Craft, Global Issues, Outdoors, Teamwork, Experiment, Skills and World,
- Week 1 we were lucky to be sent 5 volunteers so used the opportunity to cover our father’s day craft, we also had Investure  – you could easily fit in a second activity from the One Planet Future (OPF) pack in this session.

Instead of breaking this down into weeks I'll cover it in sections as it will make more sense.

Introducing the WWF and One Planet Future film

Activity 1 - Which animal?
Badges:  OPF element (page 6), Community Impact - Identify 

The Beavers sat really well (I've never seen them so quiet) to watch the 6 minute video introducing what the  wwf is and how they work.
  The video is available online here or comes on a disk if you get the printed pack.  

We then had a discussion about which animals they could remember from the film.

Activity 2 - Melting Iceberg game
Badges:  OPF element (page 8), Community Impact - Identify 

This has now become the most requested game at Beavers, the Melting Icebergs Game.  Designed to teach the children what happens when climate change causes Ice to melt.

The OPF guidance is to use newspaper pieces for the icebergs, but knowing my Beavers as I do it was far safer to use their chairs.

We set out 2 rows of stools.  The Beavers (now Polar Bears) had to walk round the chairs in a clockwise direction when the leader told them they "were hungry" (or "go fish" as it eventually became known).   When the leader shouts "climates changing" the adults helped the stools to gradually disappear (normally 2 or 3 at a time due to time constraints).  The Polar Bears were then "tired" and had to head home, getting into their nearest iceberg.  Those without a home (or those who were sharing because I'm mean) were out, they had lost their habitat and were now extinct.

Activity 3 - Rubbish Relay
Badges:  OPF element (page 11), Community Impact - Plan,  Skills - Problem solving,  Teamwork - Challengegood introduction to Global Issues - Diary.

We amended the instructions in the OPF pack , mainly because our Beaver leaders walk to the meeting and couldn't carry loads of rubbish to the hut with them.  Our version, used home-made activity cards of various items.

Each lodge had the same items and in teams had to decide if you would 'reuse/ recycle' the item or 'reduce' your use of it and put it in the correct 'bin' (word on the wall).   This prompted some really interesting discussions about how to dispose of carrier bags, medicine and batteries.


Activity 4 - Recycle Diary
Badges:  Global Issues - Diary.

The Beavers were all tasked with completing their Global Issues Recycle/ Reduce Diary in the week that followed and return it to the next meeting.


Activity 5 - Reusable bags
Badges:  Community Impact - Action, Creative - craft

The Beavers were all given a cotton shopping bag (50p each from Hobbycraft) and some felt tips and were encouraged to cover it in their own slogans and pictures abut how to look after our animals and the planet.

They took these home at the end of the 3 weeks with their badges and other activity items and encouraged to use them when they go out shopping with mummy and daddy in stead of getting a plastic bag.

Safeguarding the natural world

Activity 6 - Endangered Animals
Badges:  OPF element (page 17), Global Issues - Endangered animals,  Creative - Craft, Community Impact - Identify

We split into our lodges.  On the tables we had put some home-made animal fact cards (6, one for each child), each with a different endangered animal on, a fact about its size and about why it is endangered. The Beavers had to choose an animal fact card each, tell the lodge about it then complete a 'missing' or ‘Save me’ poster based on the information they were given.


Tackling Climate Change

Activity 7 - Model Ice Cap
Badges:  OPF element (page 22), Global Issues - (we replaced the Water Filter activity with this), Community Impact - Identify, Experiment - Experiment, Teamwork - working together, World - part 6 Other 

The idea of this activity is to see how the Polar Ice Caps melt.   The longer your meeting the better for this activity as I had to assist the climate change along a bit with the help of a hairdryer.

You make a habitat in a plastic container using stones and ice cubes, I also borrowed some dinosaurs and lego trees off my children.
 At the beginning of the meeting the animals are happy in their habitat but over the course of the session the ice will melt, water levels will rise and the animals will drown  (they somehow found this very amusing!).

Changing the way we live.

Activity 8 - Fairtrade - Fairness Game
Badges: Teamwork - Challenge, Camp Craft - pioneering 

In their lodges the Beavers were given 50 straws.  Each lodge was also given one other thing (string/ wool, sellotape or glue - one lodge had none of these)  they also had paper and scissors.  Their task was to built the tallest tower as a team.

After much complaining about how they didn't have sellotape or glue they all got on with the task and produced some great models (spot the parents with a background in structural engineering).

Once time was called they all looked in horror as I told one lodge they could have another 30 seconds..........
................. and the even bigger evil look I got when I announced that I'd changed my mind and the smallest tower was getting the 50 points.

(ok So I couldn't be that mean and eventually promised them all 50 points for working together so well).

It was a great introduction into what is and isn't fair which lead onto................

Activity 9 - Fairtrade Foods
Badges: Global Issues - Fairtrade, Teamwork - Log Chew

We discussed what Fairtrade means and what Fairtrade Products the Beavers think you can buy.  We discussed how buying FairTrade products makes sure the people who do the work get a fair wage.

We then tasted a variety of Fairtrade products in our lodges.  There is more about that here.

Activity 10 - One Planet Future
Badges: Creative - Performance, My World - work and share, Teamwork - Work together, Community Impact - Discuss what you learnt, Community Impact - Tell the world.

The lodges were given a home-made crib sheet each which detailed one of the topics we had covered in the 3 weeks (climate change, FairTrade, Endangered animals and Reduce/ Reuse/ Recycle).
Each lodge had an adult helper who would deliver the brief "to tell parents about xxx" and could suggest ideas they might like to include from activities we had done.
It was up to the Beavers to decide what they were going to do to deliver that topic. They had 10 minutes to practise and 2-3 minutes to 'perform'.

They all did really well.  Right down to my own Beaver in Training who demonstrated more confidence then the rest of his lodge when showing what he had done.


Activity 11 - Wear it Wild
Badges: Community - (working towards) Action

27th May is WWF Wear It Wild day, where you are encouraged to dress as an animal, carry out activities and raise money for the WWF.  We decided to bring it forward and celebrate at the end of our topic.  The Beavers enjoyed not having to wear uniform and raised £15 which we will be putting towards sponsoring an endangered animal as a colony,

After a voting session using the animals from activity 6, the Beavers selected the Giant Panda as their endangered animal of choice to sponsor.

Have you covered any of the WWF badges, would love to know which ones and whether you have managed to tie them into other Beaver badges.

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