International Days of Recognition to Inspire Your Kids in 2018
At the onset of autumn/winter in 2017, we released an article on how up and coming international days of recognition can be used to inspire childhood outdoor education through the two seasons. Now that we find ourselves at the start of 2018, there is no better time to take note of the UN-recognized days to come so that you and your children/students can reference them in your resolve to make a difference in year ahead.
Your Calendar of International Days of Recognition to Inspire Youth to Make a Difference in 2018 (and Beyond)
International Day of Women and Girls in Science – February 11/2018
This is a great day for both girls and boys to get involved in. A UN study spanning 14 countries found that the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in a science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively. The percentages for male students land at 37%, 18% and 6%. By including recognition of this day in your annual agenda, you promote equal access to and participation in science for adolescent girls, which will help achieve future gender equality in the sciences. Why not start with a lesson about the positive influence of women in the history of horticulture and then head on over to your local community or school garden for a hands on lesson.
World Wildlife Day – March 3/2018
You’ll have no problem getting kids excited about this one. This day asks that we all recognize and celebrate the numerous and wondrous forms of wildlife, fauna and flora in our region and across the world. The intent is to raise awareness about the benefits of any given species and how they are interconnected to the survival of human kind. On this day, you can organize a trip to a local ecological reserve or a local farm with a barnyard full of amazing animals for kids to learn more about.
International Day of Forests – March 21/2018
Coinciding with the first full day of Spring, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations asks that we celebrate the International Day of Forests, with the 2018 theme focused on forests and how they impact the growth of sustainable cities. In line with the event, you and your kids/students can organize activities that involve forests and trees, such as a local tree planting campaign.
World Water Day – March 22/2018
We’ve got you pretty busy in the month of March, with World Water Day following the International Day of Forests. But don’t worry about coming up with an activity plan, as we have put together a list of ways you and your young crew can help conserve water in your local school garden or urban farm.
World Health Day – April 7/2018
Let World Health Day serve as an opportunity to teach kids about the importance of nutrition and how it impacts their physical, cognitive and social health. Make the lesson more relevant to them, by referring them to the work of Rachel Parent, a friend of our Foundation and Canadian youth activist who founded Kids Right to Know, a non-profit organization advocating for GMO labelling in Canada. Sit down with your kids/class and go over Rachel’s article titled Why Buy Organic. Pretty soon they’ll be looking at food labels with a critical eye and our world will be better for it.
International Mother Earth Day – April 22/2018
This day of recognition seeks to remind us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. Activity ideas are nearly as bountiful as Mother Earth and can include an eco-tour, farm visit, volunteerism at a nearby community garden and so much more.
World Bee Day – May 20/2018
Your kids will be buzzing in anticipation for this one. Our Foundation has been quite vocal about the importance of educating your kids about this beneficial bug. Start with a lesson about the current bee crisis, through the words of guest contributor (for the Huffington Post and our very own blog) Asha Mior. From there, let your kids know why their own school or community garden needs bees, along with some hands-on activities that can encourage their thriving presence in the garden/farm, all year long.
World Environment Day – June 5/2018
This is one of the biggest international days of recognition, one that is celebrated worldwide by individuals, households, groups, classrooms, municipalities and entire nations who aim to protect the unique and life nurturing environment that surrounds us. Everything from a recycling or composting drive to a local green space clean-up is appropriate here. Ask your kids/students for input in coming up with ideas – they may deliver something great that you didn’t even consider.
World Oceans Day – June 8/2018
Appropriately close to World Environment Day, World Oceans Day is another very popular event for kids. Those living near coastal waterways can participate in a local beach clean-up, while many schools in urban areas can plan a visit to a local aquarium to learn more about biodiversity in the ocean and its impact on our climate and food resources alike.
International Youth Day – August 12/2018
Looking for the best way to inspire kids to make a difference on International Youth Day? Given that the day intends to highlight issues that matter most to youth, leave it to them to create the activity plan. It’s their world after all, and today is the day they get to claim it.
World Habitat Day – October 1/2018
This day arrives on the first Monday of every October, making it a perfect way to launch the school week. The intent is to reflect on the state of our cities and towns and the basic human right to adequate shelter. If there is a Habitat for Humanity (or similar) project in your area, contact them to see what you and your kids/students can do to get involved.
World Food Day – October 16/2018
This is a great time to teach youth about food insecurity in Canada. Once again we find the opportunity to provide an outdoor lesson plan that includes tangible work within a community garden or urban farm near your home or school. Given the date, kids will gain firsthand knowledge about the harvest season and participate in activities that will prepare a garden/farm for the autumn/winter and planting season to come.
Universal Children’s Day – November 20/2018
The UN quote surrounding this day says it all:
“An inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children.“
While practically every community in Canada offers an opportunity to promote the welfare of local children, you can get involved in one of these initiatives made possible by the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation.
World Soil Day – December 5/2018
This day serves as a call to action to address current issues affecting soils, including climate change, antimicrobial resistance, soil-borne diseases, contamination, nutrition and human health. Your lesson plan should dig into soil’s role in growing plants for food, painting a clear picture of the seed-to-table concept. For parents and teachers guiding younger children through this important day, incorporate a reading from the Plant a Seed & See What Grows book, followed by a reading of What to Do with What You Grew (available for purchase here).
World Mountain Day – December 11/2018
Last but not least we aim for the peak with a look at World Mountain Day. Let your kids/students know that mountains cover an estimated 22 percent of the earth’s land surface and play a critical role in sustainable economic growth for many communities. Mountains are a source of nourishment and wellbeing for over 13 percent of the world’s population, with additional indirect benefits for billions (yes, billions) of others who reside below. Many regions in Canada (especially here in British Columbia) have access to this geological feature, making a field trip to a local mountainside a very viable activity. There, youth can learn about local wildlife, vegetative growth and how the mountain may impact local water resources.
While we covered quite a bit of ground, we’re sure to have missed a few engaging and educational ideas on how to celebrate the days above. We’d love to hear your insight! Be sure to follow our Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Google+, find this article and leave a comment with your own inspirational ideas for the year ahead.