Cultúrlann Summer Scheme Clean Up
This week we had the amazing opportunity to team up with the kids and leaders from Cultúrlann Belfast theatre and arts summer scheme. We assembled on the grassy banks beside Ballyholme beach in Bangor and had a quick chat with the 27 kids and their leaders about the types of litter they might find and what to expect on the beach. We had got there a little early and gathered up a few bits of common litter you find on beaches all along the Irish coastline including rope, straws, plastic bottle tops and even broken sunglasses. Using these as examples we tried to explain to the kids the type of litter they might find and the harm it can do.
But we could see that after a 40 minute bus ride the kids were just raring to get going, so we cut the talk short and the kids quickly jumped at the chance to get their hands on a litter picker. Once we had dealt out gloves and bags we broke up into groups and headed onto the sand. This proved a good idea as it allowed the kids to approach us with their questions instead of listening to us talking and it brought up other ideas or topics that we otherwise might not have mentioned. We talked about where the litter comes from, why they needed gloves how we could stop the litter, the recycling they do at home and even some of the things they did in school to help the planet and oceans. It didn't take long for us to start gathering litter too and with this many hands on deck it was a quick and successful sweep along the beach.
It was really great to see the kids enjoying the beach, collecting shells, looking for crabs and asking question and question as they helped us clean the beach. All week long the summer scheme has been focusing in on world pollution with an extra special focus on ocean pollution and the issues of plastic and waste ending up in the ocean environment. You could tell many had been paying attention as they spoke with real enthusiasm and interest about the issues. For a group of 8-11 year olds they were really great.
Chatting to the kids about some of the aniamls they saw on the beach including the big crab one of them had found.
I think that being on the beach was great for the kids as it let them connect the litter and pollution they had been talking about with the animals and beauty of the beaches, oceans and coastlines around northern Ireland. We found ourselves answering questions about otters, seals, crabs, various shells and birds they saw on the beach and even talking about why I was there and what we do on a day to day basis. Seeing them connect the dots like that was really inspiring, they had a better grasp on some of the issues than many adults and they seemed to enjoy being out and about playing on the sand, splashing in the water and stuffing their pockets full of shells and feathers.
In total we filled 4 bags full of litter and the kids got to sit on the grassy banks by the water and enjoy their packed lunches before heading back to Belfast. It was a great day for us and we hope they had fun too.