About the Earth Hour:

On 31st March 2007, the lights started to go out in Sydney, Australia. By 29th March 2008 it had become a worldwide epidemic; Earth Hour was established as an environmental campaign. The brain child of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) individuals, communities, householders and businesses all over the world were encouraged to turn off their lights for one hour, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time. The campaign has been running annually ever since, and has produced remarkable results each year, both in terms of the amount of energy that can be saved in just one hour and also in the rise in climate change awareness. Every year more cities around the globe take part, and many famous landmarks, buildings and monuments observe the hour.

About Mind Your Footprint:

Mind Your Footprint is a UK-based Community Interest Company specifically founded to help raise awareness of environmental and social issues, with an emphasis on reaching out to children and empowering them to engage their parents and the wider community as well. They have enlisted the help of the charming Foot Fella, a visitor from the planet Marchoon.

The project:

This year, in preparation for Earth Hour (29th March 2014) Mind Your Footprint created an activity book for four to seven year olds, featuring Foot Fella helping to switch off lights.

This book was made available in electronic form to schools which are part of the Eco-schools Initiative. So many children could get engaged and learn about the importance of switching off lights, and about the Earth Hour campaign while enjoying a variety of colouring and other activities.

One Eco-school, Crabtree Infants School in Harpenden, was offered the opportunity for much greater involvement. In this pilot project, the school was provided with the books in printed form. All 180 children in the six classes that make up Reception and years 1 and 2 were given a copy of the book to take home with them. In addition to the activities in the book, they were invited to take part in a drawing competition, in which they could create a picture showing their ideas for how to protect the planet. Ms. Bootle, one of the teachers and the school’s Eco-Schools and environmental liaison was thrilled with the reaction from her students. “The children were delighted with their booklets and were keen to start the various activities. The information they contained was perfect for helping the children to share their understanding of Earth Hour with their families.”

The outcome:

The response was tremendous, and the organisers at Mind Your Footprint were delighted with not only the quantity but more especially the quality of the pictures that came flooding in to them. They were amazed by what the children had learned about the subject and how creative they were. The pupils not only had lots of great ideas around the Earth Hour and switching off lights, but they had gone beyond the hour and had come up with lots of great ideas on how to save the planet Earth and its resources in day to day life. Here are just a few of the brilliant and practical ideas they had: saving water by turning off taps while brushing teeth and by taking shower instead of bath; less driving; car sharing; walking to school or using scooters and bicycles; planting trees; supporting bees by planting flowers they like; recycling; using solar energy; playing outdoors instead of watching too much TV; saving animals; etc

Originally, Mind Your Footprint had envisaged awarding three prizes in each age group for the best drawings. However, they have been so impressed with the entries that they have awarded participation prizes to all the 78 entries.

They are delighted that so many children were engaged and enthused by Foot Fella’s book, and the Earth Hour campaign.

The event:

Naturally, Foot Fella turned up to help present the prizes. He was joined at the event by his friend the WWF panda. It was a really nice memorable ceremony with pupils all looking excited to see Foot Fella and the Panda. They were clearly very pleased with what they’ve accomplished and empowered by having shared their ideas and eco-friendly tips for a better future.

The whole experience was beyond expectation; Crabtree school team did a great job. They proved that they really care about the environment and the future of the children. The pupils were amazing and so enthused that we at Mind Your Footprint have become more determined than ever that engaging children and schools in environmental campaigns is the right way to raise awareness, make the right changes and ultimately achieve a sustainable future.

Mind Your Footprint offers a wide selection of environmental educational materials on their site www.mindyourfootprint.org.uk as well as on www.FootFella.com. They are happy for anyone to use them for free and they’ll also be happy to help with a visit from Foot Fella to come and engage children in environmentally related campaigns at schools and communities.