Guest Post – Eco Tips for Little Readers … Tania McCartney
The thing I love about kids is they’re so fresh and new—not only physiologically, but in terms of the way they think. Like little saplings, their minds have such energy. They are dynamic and forward-thinking, open to new ideas, and very, very clever.
When writing Eco Warriors to the Rescue!, I knew children would be incredibly receptive to the sustainability themes outlined in the book. Not only do kids get to experience a unique adventure with the three eco warriors characters—Ned, Banjo and Matilda—they get to ponder ways they can contribute to the protection of or native flora.
The 10 green tips featured in Eco Warriors provide countless educational applications for the classroom, home-schooling and general knowledge. For each of the included tips, I suggest the following fun activities:
1. Don’t litter
Organise an ‘adopt a spot’ campaign at your school or on your street, asking people to adopt a certain area or stretch of land to be responsible for keeping clean. Use recyclable rubbish items to make your own musical instruments or use scrunched up paper to create a Don’t Litter mural. Discuss how litter can harm our native plants.
2. Tread carefully whilst bushwalking
Go on a bushwalking excursion and focus on the ground. Watch carefully where you’re walking and take note of all the plants, seeds, pods, branches or insects you see. Discuss the devastation careless bushwalking, biking, etc, can cause—what can be damaged?
3. Never pick native flowers
Discuss what would happen if everyone picked native flowers. Take a camera on a local bushwalk and take creative images of the wildflowers. Host a photographic exhibition. If you sell photos, donate the proceeds to your local wildlife centre.
4. Keep our waterways clean
Research plants that use rivers, lakes and creeks for their water source. Discuss why polluted water would be harmful to these plants. Place a daffodil or other high-water-content flower in food colouring-tinted water and witness how much of a plant is made up of water.
5. Protect plants from introduced animals
Look up the term ‘introduced animals Australia’ and choose one animal to research. Find out why this particular creature has the potential to upset or destroy our native plants. What does this animal do to plants, specifically? Do they eat it, break it, dig it up?
6. Care for native animals and insects
Research native birds and animals and the particular plants they are drawn to. Where do koalas live? What do wombats eat? And cockatoos? Print off or draw a series of animals and the plants they live in or eat or otherwise use. Ask an adult to match up each animal with their plant.
7. Plant native trees and shrubs
Organise a tree planting at your school or home, Have kids source which kinds of birds or insects would be attracted to the chosen plant. Investigate which native plants have edible parts and try to source jams, chutneys, dukkas, cordials or other delicious items made from our native trees and shrubs.
8. Limit housing, road works, farming, mining and forestry
Choose one of the flora-damaging topics above and do a report on how they can damage our native plants. What flow on effect does this damage cause for our animals, waterways and land?
9. Reduce pollution and climate change
How do plants help reduce pollution and climate change? Create a poster to encourage pollution control, drawing on factors you think will contribute to a cleaner environment.
10. Prevent bushfires
Create a creative short film or slide show on how important it is to prevent fire and the consequences of arson for native plants and animals. Also research the trees that need controlled fires in order to regenerate.
These tips are all fantastic ways to help our native plants flourish, but as I say at the end of Eco Warriors, I also believe one of the best ways we can care for our native plants is to enjoy them. Take an interest in them. And of course, to educate ourselves and share our findings with others.
Thank goodness kids have fresh, young and forward-thinking brains. Because the future of our native plants really is in their hands.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Eco Warriors to the Rescue!
(National Library Publishing, Aug 2013, $17.99, firm cover, 9780642277800)
Join Banjo, Matilda and Ned on a magical adventure into the Australian native landscape via a series of historic, beautifully-rendered botanical paintings. Entering the very pages of their favourite book, the children interact with all manner of Australian flora including Kangaroo Paw, Wattle and Eucalypt. Along the way, these intrepid warriors seek ‘tips’ to ensure the survival of our native landscape for generations to come. Can these eco-warriors help save our native flora from extinction?
Combining modern photography and typesetting with historical artworks from the archives of the National Library, Eco Warriors to the Rescue! makes our beautiful collection of botanical art accessible to the very young. The book also includes interesting facts about Australian flora, as well as floral emblems and birth months, and further ideas on how to keep Australian green.
BOOK LAUNCH DETAILS
Join Tania McCartney and her three real-life eco warriors—Banjo (Riley), Ned (Andrew) and Matilda (Claire)—as they launch Eco Warriors to the Rescue! at Canberra’s National Arboretum Gift Shop, Saturday 5 October 2013, at 11am.
Tania McCartney is an author of both children’s and adult books. An experienced magazine writer and editor, she also founded respected literary site Kids’ Book Review. She is passionate about literacy, and loves to speak on reading, books and writing. Her latest books include Eco Warriors to the Rescue! (National Library Publishing), Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo: A journey around Canberra (Ford Street), Caroline Chisholm: The Emigrant’s Friend (New Frontier) and An Aussie Year: Twelve months in the life of Australian Kids (EK Publishing). Tania adores books, travel and photography. She lives in Canberra with her family, in a paper house at the base of a book mountain.