My amazing Windsor Week, by Georgia Law, UCL Roots & Shoots UK

Having returned from my week at the global youth leadership meeting at Windsor Castle, I am feeling inspired and motivated to continue my work with Roots & Shoots. Windsor was an amazing gathering where I met 26 youth leaders all across the globe and collaborated on upcoming projects and campaigns. It reinforced the fact that Roots & Shoots is a global network of inspiring leaders who work tirelessly in their effort to make the world a better place. I am so grateful that I was selected to be the UK ambassador this year and am delighted to share the details of my exciting week!

We were hosted by St. George’s House, a beautiful place to come together and focus on our work amidst the history of Windsor castle and the beauty of the British countryside. The team truly spoilt us with a vegetarian feast at every meal and ample opportunity to connect and form friendships over tea, cake, and wine.

It was so encouraging to learn that we all had similar values and hopes for the future. I learnt so much about each country and the challenges people are facing, as well as the work everyone is doing to overcome these problems. We were also lucky enough to spend the week with Dr. Jane, who shared her inspirational stories and reasons for hope, which will remain with me always.

Over the course of the week, each ambassador was invited to present the work of Roots & Shoots from their country. This gave us all a boost of motivation and planted new ideas to progress our own projects further. I heard of many amazing peace day campaigns, tree planting projects and urban community projects which are benefitting thousands of people and animals across the globe, helping to combat climate change and alleviate social problems in many diverse communities.

One of the main goals of the Windsor gathering was to work in teams to design campaigns to be implemented over the next 12 months, and beyond. Topics included peace, climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and Forever Wild. I would like to share the campaign that I will be working on to tackle habitat loss: Embrace the Wild. The campaign will encourage individuals or groups to observe the animals found in their local area, whether that’s a garden, balcony, community centre, or school playground, and create a new type of habitat to attract more wild animals to their local spaces. We will be providing a range of ideas for how to use recycled materials to create habitats for different animals, such as bug hotels and bird feeders, and encourage weeds and wildflowers to grow. I will be working on this project with 5 other leaders from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Slovakia and South Korea.  We hope to gather updates from everyone who chooses to take part and will share all of the stories on a world map – let’s make the world turn green with new habitats and try to tackle this issue together!

Alongside designing new projects and campaigns, we discovered on Tuesday that we would be visited by a very special guest, HRH Prince Harry! None of us could believe this was happening and the whole experience was a life changing moment. He attended our meeting for one afternoon to hear about the work of Roots & Shoots. Six ambassadors were asked to give a short presentation on some of their successes and I was asked to present stories from the UK. Prince Harry also visited each project team and discussed our ideas for upcoming projects. This was an incredible experience and after all of the nervous excitement building up to his visit, we did a great job at showcasing the importance of Roots & Shoots in our local communities. I think that he was left inspired!

Sometimes the reality of the environmental situation the world is in, and the social problems that thousands face can seem bleak and disheartening, but Roots & Shoots gathered a group of the most optimistic and encouraging leaders which has certainly given me hope for the future.

photo credits: Roots & Shoots and Kirsty Wigglesworth

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