Schools across Wales mark Youth Climate Action Day through nature and poetry
Saturday 22 October marked Youth Climate Action Day, a worldwide movement of young people who are concerned about climate change and global injustice. To mark the day, National Trust Cymru and Literature Wales released a series of poems that were created by schoolchildren across Wales, with the support of Casi Wyn, Bardd Plant Cymru and Connor Allen, Children’s Laureate Wales.
The project, ‘Lyrical Landscapes’ saw 350 children from 12 schools participate in creative workshops at outdoor sites and classrooms from every corner of Wales.
The children were invited to their local National Trust site to get inspired by the area’s natural environment, history and legacy whilst imagining what its future might look like. In the classroom, they focused on putting words on paper and composing a poem that shares their relationship with nature, and the effects of climate change on their doorstep.
Casi worked with five schools in north Wales, Ysgol Cymerau, Y Faenol, Cemlyn, Bro Gwydyr and Penmaenmawr. The children had the opportunity to explore Cemlyn on Anglesey, Glan Faenol in Bangor and Porthdinllaen on the Llŷn Peninsula.
Casi Wyn, Bardd Plant Cymru said; “National Trust Cymru care for a variety of different places, all diverse in the challenges they face with climate change. This project has enabled us to connect local children to some of these places and allowed them to build a sense of ownership. I believe the closer they are to their local environment, the greater care they will have over what’s on their doorstep.”
In mid and south Wales, Connor worked with St. Woolos Primary School, Tredegar Park Primary, Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School, Treowen Primary School, Roch Community School a St. Mark’s Church in Wales VA Primary School. They explored Tredegar House in Newport, Southwood Estate in Pembrokeshire and Powis Castle and Garden in Welshpool.
Connor Allen, Children’s Laureate Wales said: “Children are aware of the effects of climate change, they have a lot to say, and poetry gives them that outlet to say how they feel and to say how they think about the future, because they are the future.”
Bardd Plant Cymru and Children’s Laureate Wales are national ambassadorial roles run by Literature Wales which aim to inspire and empower children and young people across Wales through literature. Paired with National Trust Cymru’s commitment to promote and preserve places of natural beauty and historic interest whilst creating experiences that ‘move, teach and inspire’, their ambitions provided a springboard to collaborate and inspire young people in Wales.
Lhosa Daly, Director of Wales, National Trust Cymru said; “It’s more important than ever to engage young people with nature and the outdoors and to get them involved in climate conversations. We’re very grateful to Literature Wales for the opportunity to work together on this inspiring project, and to play our part in offering young people a voice. Connor and Casi have done a brilliant job engaging young minds, and hearing some of the poems certainly offers a broad view of what climate change means for children in Wales.”
Leusa Llewelyn, Artistic Director of Literature Wales added; “Writers have been inspired by the landscape of Wales across the ages. Our stories, our language and our legends are all intertwined with our surroundings. Working with National Trust Cymru, our fantastic laureates have been able to inspire the next generation of writers with some of Wales’ most beautiful natural landscapes. The project has supported us to build the foundations of a lasting relationship between our two organisations, and we are looking forward to working together in the future.”
To see the enthusiasm, engagement, creativity and impact of the project, you can watch the video here: