Nichole Samuels, the community outreach officer for the Think Tank, contacted BFoE about having a presence at their open weekend as it was based around the concept of ‘environment’, which fits with our campaigns and they had invited families from less well off backgrounds/ areas in Birmingham.
Joe, being the incredibly busy man that he is, decided that it would be a great outreach opportunity for me, so, with the fact that this would be the first and last of these events I would be doing, I wanted us to have a good end product to show off back at the office. The hand tree was the solution, the idea coming from the catch phrase ‘make your mark’ from the Friends of the Earth leaflets. I took along the standing wooden tree, made by our Faith and Climate Change volunteers, covered half of it with paper, then had the families who were visiting the event to draw round their hands and write/draw something to do with the environment in them which we cut out and then stuck to the tree. We got everything from penguins and tigers to hybrid cars and deforestation! This has now gone up in reception of the warehouse for all to see.
We weren’t the only outside organisation there; sharing the space were representatives from the wildlife trust and an organisation promoting Maths and Science in schools. While the children were making their hands we were discussing our campaigns with the parents, I had taken a whole range of reading materials with me from our different campaigns. The Fix the Food Chain campaign attracted a lot of interest, as well as the Faith and Climate Change project, with quite a lot of our newsletters being taken too.
The visitor numbers were in the hundreds over the weekend and quite a number did make it up to us on the 3rd floor. I had a brill but exhausting time over this weekend at the Think Tank. I would like to thank Roxanne and Janet who were invaluable in helping run the stall and keeping me safe from the hoards of children!
I hope that the next Outreach Officer has more opportunities like this to go out and engage with people around environmental issues at such events. If you are looking to put on an event and would like a representative from Birmingham Friends of the Earth to come along, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Outreach Officer