The thought of trying to improve a community’s environmental awareness can be intimidating. There are so many different issues to address–it can be difficult to decide which problems to tackle and how to approach them. Furthermore, once you choose your issue and decide what actions are needed to raise awareness, it can be challenging to engage people across age groups. However, it is possible to appeal to both old and young, if you know a few key characteristics of each group and tailor your outreach to them.
Photo by Donnie Ray Jones.
For example, young children learn best when they can use their senses. They like to see, hear, smell, and especially touch new things. You can teach them environmental lessons in the classroom, it’s even better to take the education outside. Try to explore nearby resources, like zoos and botanical gardens, since kids love taking field trips and seeing new places. Create visual reminders at home, by reading books and watching educational programs about the environment. Using basic terms, emphasize the importance of keeping things clean. They can also easily remember phrases like “reduce, reuse, recycle”.
Photo by Andy Bernay-Roman.
Tweens and teens, while often misunderstood and called “self-involved”, are generally concerned about the world they are inheriting. They want to make a difference! This age group is open to learning new things, as long as they don’t feel uncool doing it, so pairing them up with college-age mentors could be beneficial. Socializing is also important at this age, so make the activities fun and rewarding, such as with games or friendly competitions.
Most adults are busy, so you’ll want to make it convenient for them to participate in your awareness-raising activities. If they have limited time, perhaps they could donate money or make phone calls on a weekend. Encourage them to make their voices heard by endorsing local politicians who support important environmental measures.
Photo by Rachel Sarai.
Seniors want to remain active and involved in their local communities. If they have lived there for their whole life, they feel invested in the area and want to pass it on to the next generation. They are good teachers and they can share their wisdom with youth of any age. Pairing them with children and teens is a good way of fostering inter-generational communication.
We invite you to learn more about using Creeklife with any age group. For even more tips and some examples of current projects, keep browsing the blog!
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Posted by Mark Contorno.