This month we're talking about:

Monday, 26 March 2012

1st Greenisland Brownies' Climate Week - doing something green for St Patrick's Day

17 March dawned wet and grey in Belfast, which was a bit of a worry for 1st Greenisland Brownies, as we were off hedge planting!  We planned to do something green for St Patrick’s Day and celebrate Climate Week too. Thankfully when we arrived at the Conservation Volunteers site at Knockbracken Health Care Park in Belfast it was beginning to brighten up beautifully and the legendary 40 shades of green in Northern Ireland had begun to show through in the sunlight.
Nine Brownies were all full of energy and ready to go!

We were met on site by Chris from the Conservation Volunteers.  He explained to us what we would be doing and why.  Today we would be planting a native hedgerow (made up of hazel, rose and blackthorn). It was being planted to prevent cows breaking into the allotments and destroying the crops.  After some fun warm up exercises flapping like birds, and a safety chat about barbed wire and thorns, we were ready to get planting.

Whilst some of the other volunteers on the site began clearing the area for planting, 1st Greenisland Brownies worked together and planted two trees, a Mountain Ash and a Cherry, that would reduce our carbon footprint significantly.  Then began the hard work of the day planting the hedge.  The girls split into groups of two or three and worked with a volunteer along the length of the hedge.  They learnt how to make an upside down “T” for planting and where each root began (they where shown that the plant changed colour at its root tips) and that this was where it needed to be planted from. 

The girls planted around a mile of hedgerow and by 1.15 we had finished all the planting and were really hungry.  We enjoyed a lovely barbeque outside in the March sunshine!

The girls all discovered that it was going to be an early spring.  Buds had already formed on the trees, tadpoles where already in the ponds, we saw a ladybird and of course lots of other creepy crawlies whilst digging… much to the delight of several of our more adventurous girls.

The girls had a wonderfully active day and completed a worthwhile project.  They also made us as leaders extremely proud of them. 

We do hope to be able to work with the Conservation Volunteers again in the future.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Helene's adventures in Canada

Helene arrived in Canada just in time for March break, so had a week off to recover from her trip over the Atlantic Ocean!
Helene helping us (and the Dads!) work on our wind chimes

This evening, Monday March 19th, she joined the 8th Ancaster Brownie Unit in Ancaster, Ontario for Dad's night! The Brownies and Helene earned their 'Tool Girl' badge, making lovely wind chimes!"
We look forward to having Helene join us for tea next week!

Look at what we made!
Laura (Brown Owl)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Planting trees in Croydon!

On Saturday 2nd March, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides from Selsdon, Croydon, got together to plant sixty trees in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee at our local National Trust woodland.

The trees were received from the Woodland Trust via the Sainsbury’s Active Kids Scheme. We planted a huge variety of trees including, birch, hawthorn, dogwood, rose, cherry, holly and hazel. The Friends of Selsdon Woods, the local management group, had prepared the area for us and helped us to plant and water in the trees.

The girls had a great time and loved the fact that they will be able to visit in years to come to watch “their” trees growing and making our area green!

Jo Wheeler – Leader, 1st Selsdon Rainbows, 10th Selsdon Brownies and 2nd Selsdon Guides.

For more information about the Jubilee Woods project and how you could take part in the UK, click here.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Helene in Cheshire: playing banker with Senior Section, and getting pampered for Mothers’ Day!

Helene's in charge!
On Thursday 8th March, Helene visited Weaver Senior Section. The unit had a fun evening playing the Girlguiding UK edition of Monopoly. Helene helped out the banker to make sure everyone played fair.

On Monday 12th March, Helene visited Kingsley & Norley Guides. The Guides had all invited their mums along for an evening of pampering prior to mothering Sunday.
Mmmm smells lovely!

They had a health and beauty product party, which as well as raising funds for the unit, gave everyone a relaxing hand massage.   
Helene had great fun sniffing all the lovely products and looking through the catalogue. She also enjoyed helping to cut up the big gooey cake which the leaders had brought for the mums to enjoy as part of their pampering.

Having fun with some members of Kingsley and Norley Guides

Helene enjoyed making friends with the girls and their mums and is now feeling very relaxed…

Where will her adventures take her next?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Saving the environment in Our Cabaña, Mexico!

Debbi Seibel, Assistant Program Manager at Our Cabaña

The Our Cabaña program team is made up of people from lots of different countries of the world, and their views on the environment are quite different. Our team got ready for World Thinking Day by comparing our home countries and their environmentally-friendly practices such as recycling and park clean-up projects.
We then thought about Mexico, where we are all living now. The World Health Organisation says that the pollution levels here are much higher than they should be - In Mexico City alone, there are nearly three million cars! There are things happening to change this – taxis can only be used six days a week, and there are new rules to limit pollution from cars.
Everyone at  Our Cabana celebrating World Thinking Day
Here at Our Cabaña, we started our environmental activities before World Thinking Day. We’re doing a lot more walking rather than relying on taxis – good for the environment, and for our health! We’ve also changed our light-bulbs to environmentally friendly ones, and make sure lights and computers are always turned off when not in use. We try not waste a thing in our craft house, and re-use our scrap paper. It can be difficult to start a movement, but we are making great strides.

Making beautiful things from flowers
When World Thinking Day arrived, we were prepared to promote the actions for environmental change. We hosted 250 Guides from various towns in Mexico, as well as 30 adults from around the world. The Guides thought about various actions that they can do in their home, school or other programs. Some learned about using the sun to prepare snacks, or how to make fashion accessories using recycled materials, while others made promotional signs to encourage their families to recycle and turn off switches or taps.

We all learned how the small efforts we do individually gain momentum to make big changes in the environment!
Guides showing off what they've made

Monday, 5 March 2012

Helene visits 2nd Grappenhall Guides' first ever meeting - and finds out about GOLD

After a long journey from London, Helene arrived in Cheshire, at 2nd Grappenhall Guides’  very first meeting on February 22nd.  All eight Guides had been Brownies and were excited about their first night as Guides.  Helene got to know the girls and their Leaders, and learned about World Thinking Day and Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability. 
Helene is proud of her sunflower seed pot!
The local Senior Section unit came along to run an activity about the environment, and everyone got to plant a sunflower seed in recyclable pots.  We were all challenged to see who can look after theirs the best!  Then the Guides taught Helene a game called 'Elephant Dash' which involved a lot of running and balls being thrown at her feet...she got very tired playing this game!  They also challenged Helene to try some international foods including olives, salami and some smelly, smelly fish!!!
Can you spot Helene trying international food?
One of our Leaders is taking part in GOLD (Guiding Overseas Linked with Development) this year and has been selected to help run a project in Tanzania.  She took Helene for a weekend away to meet everyone involved in GOLD including the team heading to Guyana who will be working on environmental sustainability projects.  She learnt lots about how guiding works in other countries and how much planning these projects take!  She got a bit scared when they started talking about bug bites and long flights but enjoyed an activity evening based around the London Olympics.  At the end of the weekend Helene helped Team Tanzania to do the recycling for the 52 people who had been staying with her.
Helene helping out with the recycling
Helene came to visit us for the final time on February 29th.  We had two new Guides join the unit who were very excited about being 'leap year' members.  This week Helene made a boomerang with her Promise written on it. One of the Guides had brought her sunflower back this week and it was already over 5cms tall!
The Guides had collected lots of pennies during their first week in the unit and made a big trefoil out of them - the money will be used to help the Guides in Tanzania later this year. 

Helene and the unit's two newest members showing off the money collected for Guides in Tanzania
We've had lots of fun with Helene, and can't wait to see where she'll pop up next!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Make your own carbon footprint!

To think about respect  for the environment and to celebrate World Thinking Day, 1st Belmont Guides made their real life carbon footprints! They had to write anything negative that they do to the environment. Jenny said that she leaves her mobile on charge when it has a full battery, for example, and Rachel said that when she goes shopping, she gets lots of plastic bags! Then 1st Belmont Guides made their hands with what they could do to respect the environment more - Zoe said she will put a jumper on when she is cold and Havana simply said "We need to reduce, reuse and recycle." We also had a fun game of pass the parcel and sorted the layers to recycle! And the girls loved "Energy burst" a fun energiser game from the Together We Can Millennium Development Goals resource, even though it is meant to be for Rainbows and Brownies! Do you have any good ideas of ways to help girls think about their impact on the environment? Put them as a comment below!

Lizzy – Leader 1st Belmont Guides, Durham South