Last year, we awarded Mull and Iona Community Trust Ranger Service grant funding for their Mull and Iona Positive Imaginings project. At the end of September the Ranger Service teamed up with Rowanbank Environmental Arts and Education to bring their Positive Imaginings Climate Circus to the woodlands of Mull!
The aims of the shows were to engage children with the issue of climate change and how it is linked to our connection with the natural world and to gather their visions, hopes and dreams for their future in the face of the climate and biodiversity emergency.
When asked about the difference the project has made, the Ranger Service said “It has encouraged participants to think about both the science of climate change and its emotional impact on their lives, and that we can use our imaginations to change how we see the world, that we’re not alone and can take action together.”
What the teachers and pupils that attended had to say:
“One of the best school trips I have ever gone on”
“Really fun – best thing I have ever done”
“More aware and want to make a difference.”
“It was a show about getting feelings back.”
“The circle was about good dreams for the planet, but maybe the bags were bad dreams about the planet.”
“Good in a fun way” [when asked if it was an effective way to communicate climate change to children]
“I think it’s good to work on climate change and biodiversity loss issues with children in their local environment…the children love being outside”
“It was good to see the pupils engaging with nature…it gave pupils the chance to put their ideas into context…they were able to practice in a living woodland…taking only what they needed without destroying any habitats.”
“It was a good way to get them talking about what they know and help them to develop their thinking. It gives them a chance to engage with the natural environment and learn and create with their peers.”
“It gave me some ideas for incorporating more creative activities [in teaching about climate change]…how to incorporate outdoor learning with science.”
“It was interesting listening to the pupils’ ideas and see how they responded just using natural material in the forest setting… there was a good connection made and this will hopefully allow us to return to continue to make a positive difference to their local environment.”
“Very helpful to so we know how bad climate change has become. Encouraged us to help. Made us aware of the different types of climate change. The tricks were good and helped explain how to look at things differently.”
“The pupils are definitely more aware of their actions and also the actions of others and we will probably follow up on a school level by continuing to raise awareness and look for small changes that we can make.”
“The children all came back with lots of enthusiasm.”
Thanks to grant funding the Ranger Service were able to offer this programme free of charge to schools and they also ran a public performance on a ‘pay what you decide’ basis, bringing an opportunity to the islands which has so far only been available in the central belt of Scotland. They helped the theatre group pioneer this approach to taking the project on tour, so other rural communities will also benefit in the future.
The public performance attracted several of the children’s families to take part so the messages about the reality of climate change, seeing things from a different perspective, voicing their ideas and taking positive action together have spread beyond the schools to the wider community.
A more detailed write-up of the content of the workshops and performances can be found on the Ranger Service blog here.
Here is some of the children’s amazing artwork from the day: