Have you ever walked along Manila Bay (or any waterbody for that matter) and thought, “I need to do something to save this Bay”?
If you are an environmental educator (or even a parent, or a concerned citizen) and want to help out, you might want to consider this Water Trail activity we do when we facilitate workshops for school children.
Earlier this week, we went to Caleruega for the last run of the Trainers’ Training for the School-Based Ecological Solid Waste Management Program (SESWMP). We are on our fifth year, with a target to educate all elementary and secondary schools in Santa Rosa, Laguna on environmental management, particularly, proper ecological solid waste management.
Anyway, as I have mentioned, one of the games/activities we do there at the training is called “Water Trail”, which we facilitate to make students realize the importance of really, really managing the wastes they produce at school — and not throwing them over at the Santa Rosa river because doing so will affect everybody.
If you wish to do the same in your training program, here’s how we do it:
1. Ask the students to draw their dream school — the school they would want to have, or they intend to have. Provide students with manila paper, crayons, pencils, and pens. Then give them more or less 15 minutes to draw their dream school. If you are working with different schools, there should just be one dream school per school. If you are working with students in a class, students could be grouped depending on how many they are.
2. The Trail. When the students are all done with their drawing, ask them to lay their drawings on the floor side-by-side, but make sure there’s space in the middle.
3. My Dream School. Ask the students/student representative to explain their drawing. Give each student about five minute each to share with everybody what makes up their dream school.
4. The Big Reveal. Ask the students to imagine that the middle open space is a river (or any other water body near their area), and then inform them that no matter how “perfectly-designed” their schools are, if the other schools (especially those in the upstream) would throw their garbage at the river, the water body will end up dirty and filled with trash, and will affect everybody along the trail. Talk a bit on how important it is to keep the water body clean and how working together is a must.
5. Time for reflection/sharing. Based on “the big reveal”, ask the students to share on what they think should be done, and what they are going to do in their respective schools to help keep the waters clean.
The activity is always a great learning experience for the trainees, inspiring them, of course, along with the lectures, to develop their own ecological solid waste management system.
Please feel free to use it in your schools. The more children to learn about being connected and nature, the more we will be able to rehabilitate our waters.