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November 22, 2013

Students in the Paris region are getting active

Here we go, the 3rd Academy in France has just taken place on Wednesday 13th November in the city of Louvres close to the Roissy – Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris! The event was sponsored by FedEx.
41 children from the Paul Ricoeur Institute have had the beautiful opportunity to take part of the Ambassadors training. 31 children from grade 5 of the primary school (CM2) were joined by 10 students from 1st grade of secondary school (6e). 
Behind the Academy was also the idea of gathering children from different ages and classes, and making them work together. This has been a real success! The event has been completely held at the school, which allowed even high school students (11th grade) to give a hand and lead some activities.
Emilia, our Plant-for-the-Planet Ambassador, travelled all the way from the Constance Lake in Germany to explain in French to the children why planting trees is key for our future. She was accompanied by her mum Isabella who has been of a great support for us and took beautiful pictures during the day.
The students have been particularly focused on Emilia’s presentation and curious to know more about Felix. A little technical issue prevented us to watch “The man who planted trees”, but it will be added to the school program. We played instead and stretched before heading to the class rooms.
As the 5 high school students, Joanna, Kelly, Lucas, Oriane and Pierre had been briefed the day before, they got the chance to join the following activities and even lead the groups with the moderators. This has been an incredible opportunity for them to run activities on subjects they had already learnt about: geography, demography, CO2 emissions, climate changes and so much more. It was also a nice challenge for them to explain the younger ones about rhetoric: how to speak in public and how to make sure everybody is giving positive feedbacks and advice for improvement on their speech, rather than focusing on their weaknesses.
Once the morning completed, we all joined at the canteen and received some food energy to help us performing the planting action. 2 additional teachers joined as well when the high school students left back to their activities.
The whole group got split in two: one stayed in the secondary school area while the other one joined the primary school. Four people from the tree nursery “Les pépinières Chatelain” supervised as well (2 per group) and explained us more about the trees we were planting: What are their names? Where do they grow? How big can they be? Field maple and common horbeam trees, as well as a few Hydrengea bushes funded by the school were planted. The soil was pretty hard to work on, but the children were so motivated that they still got enough time to dig their 30-40cm hole in the ground and each and every one planted a tree! It took though a little bit more time as planned. In total 52 beautiful green friends to plant and observe every day when being at school!
Meanwhile, our ambassador Emilia left with her mother to get their train back to Germany, and we took a nice picture all together before heading back to the classrooms for the World Café.
One group of children trained for the evening presentation as future ambassadors while the others were concentrating on ideas on how to continue to plant trees after the academy. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to work on the action plans in school groups, but they will be done at school with the teachers in each class. Just the perfect opportunity to ensure the continuity of the planting action!
Finally, parents joined us to assist the final presentation. Yes, the children of the Institut Paul Ricoeur are definitely motivated to complete their new task as a Climate Justice Ambassador! They were so energetic and happy to express themselves. It was a real joy to listen to them.
Now they have their Ambassador certificate, t-shirt and book “Arbre après Arbre”, we are all looking forward to letting them present the next French Academy that might happen very close to Louvres beginning of next spring! Of course our 5 high school students will be welcome to join us as co-moderators.
A big thank you to Ms Freyermuth, the primary school director of the Institut Paul Ricoeur, for having welcomed us and supported us in organising the Academy at the school. Thank you to Mr Dumaine, director of the middle and high school, the main teachers Ms Garsault and Ms Pavlović for their help and investment. We are particularly grateful to the “Pépinières Chatelain” tree nursery team who supported us from the beginning in a very positive and constructive way, and even put us in touch with the Insitute.
Thank you to all participants, helpers, animator and co-animators, and thank you Emilia for coming.
Thank you of course to FedEx for sponsoring the event and helping us planting in Paris area. This is a wonderful start and the beginning of new constructive partnerships!

This article is over a year old and may not reflect latest facts and figures. If you have any questions, please contact media@plant-for-the-planet.org