The Promise Tree - Creating new traditions
Updated: Apr 13
On February first we launched our Grow Your Green Cloak campaign, a six week project designed to engage young people with nature and tangible climate actions. Bookending two major Irish Festivals, St. Brigid's Day and St. Patrick’s Day, and rounding up with a celebration of our green achievements that lined up with our national St. Patrick’s Festival.
We were delighted to have junior classrooms in Kildare, Wicklow, Galway, & Limerick, participate in one, some, or all of the Cloak activities. Which included writing poems, planting seeds, making bug hotels, making promises to nature, and sharing our promises/pledges on postcards to friends and family.
When we imagined this project we hoped that each class room would add their work to a wall or notice board across the six weeks, watching their green ideas expand, and in effect, growing their own green cloaks, just like the famous story of Brigid. We really enjoyed receiving updates from the schools as they moved through the content.
A major part of celebrating this work was a very special collaboration with EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, who not only added some of our cloak projects to their list of family activities for St. Patricks Festival, but also gave us space to exhibit our work over the long weekend.
Students were excited to know that many of the visiting bands and parade entries for the Dublin Parade would be visiting EPIC. They were delighted to be sharing their ideas of what it means to be green with visitors from around the world.
So that visitors could feel included in the experience we adapted our 'Promise Tree' activity. In the classroom groups had worked together to create a drawing, painting or collage of a tree, and then wrote individual pledges and promises to nature on leaves and added it to the tree. In the museum we placed a real life tree in the centre of the room, and invited participants to add their own promises on tags (that were repurposed from another activity -Thank You EPIC!).
It was a joy to watch groups of all ages consider their promises and add them to the tree. This unexpected addition to our programming became one of the highlights in an all together wonderful weekend. So much so that we decided to find a way to bring it forward with us.
Last week we visited Greystones Educate Together National School, the first to join us in full school participation of the Cloak campaign. Each classroom chose an activity that met their level and worked on it for the week before St. Patrick's Day, adding it to a collective exhibition in the school hall. When we came to present them with a participation plaque, we also brought an apple tree
This apple tree will become our very first 'Promises Kept -Tree'. Like the live tree at our exhibition it invites participation, but this time we are logging all the actions we took for nature, every action completed. It is our living, growing touchstone to measure our involvement with climate action. We love how this project evolved and took shape with the many hands that participated, and feel that a new tradition was born through adaption of the promise tree and how it was received by the many who added to its branches. The Green Roots Project extends a very special Thank You to the teachers and students who brought all the work from our Cloak activities to life.