Roots & Shoots Service Learning Programme
“Roots make a firm foundation; shoots seem small, but to reach to the light they can break apart brick walls . . . hundreds and thousands of roots and shoots – young people like you – around the globe can break through and make the world a better place for all living things.“
– Dr. Jane Goodall
What is Roots & Shoots?
Roots & Shoots (R & S) is a global environmental, animal welfare, and humanitarian youth outreach programme in 110 countries. R&S empowers young people to do their part in solving human, animal welfare, and environmental problems in their communities.
R & S gives the younger generation a platform to help solve problems around them through projects incorporating leadership and project management skills. This gives the young individuals confidence as they realise that they can make a positive difference to people, animals and the environment and, ultimately, the planet.
As an unique global youth network, R & S offers local students access to an international web of like-minded young people. The R & S groups in Singapore have the chance to connect with 8000 other groups around the world to share their experiences and build partnerships through cultural exchange.
Using Roots & Shoots to Deliver Singapore Ministry of Education’s Values in Action (VIA)
VIA is a learning experience that is part of the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) and aims to help students become socially responsible citizens by stepping forward and taking ownership of their contributions to the community.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) defines VIA as:
“Values in Action (VIA) are learning experiences that support students’ development as socially responsible citizens who contribute meaningfully to the community, through the learning and application of values, knowledge and skills. VIA fosters student ownership over how they contribute to the community. As part of VIA, students reflect on their experiences, the values they have put into practice, and how they can continue to contribute meaningfully.”
The philosophy of VIA is aligned with what R&S stands for, with both aiming to nurture young people to play an active role in identifying issues and taking steps to contribute to the community. In 2015, MOE agreed that R&S is a tool that schools can use to deliver VIA.
If you have specific questions about how your school can use R&S to deliver VIA, please get in touch with us.
Learn more about Roots & Shoots in this video.
Want to Start a Group?
“Starting Ci Yuan Roots and Shoots Group has been an amazing experience for me. Roots and Shoots certainly lives up to its mission of empowering youths to make a difference to the world we live in. Apart from providing our team with advice in planning and implementing our community projects, the Roots and Shoots programme has also exposed us to issues beyond our shores through its global network of youth organisations. Our involvement with Roots and Shoots has strengthened our belief that “the power of youth is global”, and we are definitely looking forward to bringing advocacy to greater heights in the years to come!“
– Ci Yuan Roots & Shoots Community Group
Whether you’re a teacher or student, we can help you start a R & S group, and guide you along the way in identifying projects to work on and managing your projects. Just fill up the web form and we will be in touch to get you started. You can also visit our global R&S website. But first, why don’t you have a look at some projects that other Roots & Shoots groups have done over the years?
Past Roots & Shoots Projects
- Raffles Girls’ School’s (RGS) Monkey Business Team
The RGS Monkey Business team has been promoting the understanding of Singapore’s native long-tailed macaques since 2008. Their goal is to achieve a cohesive and harmonious environment, for both people and macaques. The team recognises the pressing need for the public to understand, respect, and coexist with the monkeys through education.
The Monkey Business team has already conducted educational outreach campaigns through seminars and conferences, newsletters and school-based sharing, and speaking to visitors at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Lower and Upper Pierce Reservoir, and residents living in these areas. They have also recruited and trained a group of student volunteers to help with the outreach, thereby ensuring sustainability of the project. In October 2008, they brought their project to Melbourne University, and in 2009, to Michigan University via video-telecast, when they represented Singapore in the Community Problem Solving (CmPS) programme.
2. Sensory Trail Walks with Singapore American School’s SAVE Club
The Singapore American School’s SAVE (Students Against Violation of the Environment) Club regularly escorts visually-handicapped people along Pulau Ubin’s Sensory Trail, a nature walk specifically conceived to give the visually-impaired a chance to experience nature. Developed in 1995, and formally adopted by SAVE and SAVH (the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped) in 2000, the philosophy behind the Sensory Trail is that:
“If you intimately know and understand nature, you will have a stake in preserving it. If you understand that even just off the coast of Singapore exists a diverse and complex ecosystem, you might think twice about throwing your empty soda can off the jetty.”
−Daniel Hartman, SAS Student
Protecting the environment aside, the Sensory Trail is also based on the belief that a visual handicap does not and should not limit someone’s capacity to appreciate nature. By providing signs in braille and with sighted guides, the visually-handicapped are alerted to the sounds of local birds and to the smells of lemongrass, pandan, and durian.
“Plenty of animals don’t rely on vision to understand and live in their environment. By focusing on the non-visual aspects of nature, you notice things that you didn’t before.”
−Lars Crawford, SAS Student & SAVE Officer
3.‘Close to Man. Closer to Extinction’, a campaign to save the Banded Leaf Monkey with Roots & Shoots Youth United (RSYU) from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
The banded leaf monkey, native to Singapore, may just be the nation’s best kept secret – so well kept, that many are unaware of its critically endangered status. Fewer than 40 of these banded leaf monkey are left in Singapore’s Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
A group of seven students from the RSYU chapter in the NUS, embarked on reaching out to the youth community in NUS to garner support for the conservation of Singapore’s banded leaf monkey and other primates.
The “Close to Man. Closer to Extinction.” campaign is the first primate conservation campaign in Singapore to focus on the plight of Singapore’s critically endangered banded leaf monkey subspecies.
RSYU also reached out to Singapore’s youth via social media, and within 10 weeks, their facebook page and twitter account garnered over 400 likes and 100 followers, respectively. The campaign actively engaged these youths in spreading the message of conservation.
The group also held a special educational exhibition in NUS on the banded leaf monkeys, the legacy of Dr. Jane Goodall and her commitment to sustainable living, the environmental, animals, and community issues brought about by palm oil production in our region.
Over 400 members of the NUS community who attended the event pledged to choose sustainable palm oil products. It was a move to reduce the destruction happening in Kalimantan’s rainforests caused by the global demand for palm oil.
The campaign also managed to raise over S$1,500 for the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore) from the NUS community and corporate sponsors like NatSteel Holdings Pte. Ltd.
The event also showcased the Monkey Business project from the Roots & Shoots chapter from Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary).
Ambassadors for Nature with NParks
Another R & S initiative is the Ambassadors for Nature programme that was launched in collaboration with Nparks. This service learning programme is for students interested in nature conservation and biodiversity. By combining community service and scientific surveys, students can focus on critical & reflective thinking, as well as personal & civic responsibility.
Launched in 2014, the inaugural batch of Ambassadors came from Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary), Nanyang Girls High, and School of the Arts. The Ambassadors focused on the human-macaque conflict issue and went through three workshops to learn about the ecology of the macaques, and techniques like scientific journalling. This was followed by four public outreach sessions at three different parks – Bt Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, and Bukit Batok Nature Park.
The programme concluded with the Ambassadors submitting their reports & outreach material to JGIS and NParks. Ambassadors can opt to continue carrying out their outreach in the adopted area.