If a school contacts you about wanting to do something like a tree planting day, don't say yes immediately. Consider if that is what you want to do, is it worth your while and will you achieve the quality control that you want. There might be a project the school can do that will be of greater value both to you and the students. Of course you might be desperate for the help they have suggested.
The following is from personal experience. You may well have a better way of doing the same job.
Your local school might love the opportunity to help you monitor the success of your habitat restoration programs. The kind of things they can monitor and record is endless. If you do have them monitor some sites, it will lend itself to a fascinating news item in the local papers.
It is always good to have some baseline data, so if students can start their surveys before a habitat is planted all the better. You should work with students to develop a standardised approach to their survey. The survey methods must be recorded so students in following years can repeat the survey. It is helpful for surveys to be recorded electronically. Often spreadsheets are excellent for this purpose. However the information on spreadsheets is easily corrupted so have backups and take other precautions. Make sure your group has a copy of all the data gathered by students.
Develop a system for your group so that data can be safely stored and easily retrieved for at least the next decade.
These are just a few themes students can monitor:
Vandalism and other unexpected environmental impacts
Soil profile changes
Estimate the carbon sequestration of a revegetation project
Estimate the planting success rate.
Image how much learning students would obtain if they ran a membership drive for you. First they would need to find out about your group- what you did, how you helped the coastal environment and why people have joined. They would need to gather data about the community and draw links between their interests and what your group has to offer.
The students would choose a number of communication (marketing) tools that
So you might have students designing pamphlets, posters and other written materials, as well as sending off press releases, writing letters to other community groups, pestering the council mayor and doing anything else they can dream up that they are permitted to do within the restrictions of their school policy and the need for protecting student well-being.
So what may have been a drudge for your committee can be turned around by being a big hoot working with a group of school kids. Your membership drive will certainly be different.
An area of education that students are involved in is called communication. The things involved in the communication area of education are almost identical with social marketing. Social marketing is a developing marketing area that uses interesting strategies for generating social change. Most schools will not have a subject called communication- it will be integrated into their other subjects.
The idea of a partnership is that the parties all gain something of value. Usually the whole is much greater than the sum of the individual parts, so partnerships can have a multiplying affect increasing the outcomes for all.
Kids are at school to learn. (It is important that learning is the priority, not teaching.) When students are successfully challenged in school they tend to learn a lot more and this is where you can come in. You can provide students with some real life challenges that can have a positive impact on their community.
Some of the questions you will need to answer along with the school includes:
• How would you like to communicate with your community?
• How can a class from a local school help?
• Who will come up with the ideas?
• What resources do schools have?
Some ideas for communication projects are: