Category Archives: Keen to be Green

ACTSmart Sustainability Expo

At Spielwelt and Pfadfinder, we are keen to be green!  So far, we have made over 50 changes to our hall and operations, to be more sustainable and do the right thing for the environment.

As with everything we do, we do this for the children.  We also hope to educate, support and inspire our families.

The children at the GAP were keen to be involved in making this little video clip, to be screened at the ACTSmart Sustainability Expo on Thursday 13 September 2018 at the Southern Cross Club in Woden.

Spielwelt German Parents Association and Pfadfinder Scout Group

The Spielwelt German Parents Association and Pfadfinder Scout group are keen on being green! Learn what they have done to become an Actsmart Business Champion

Posted by Actsmart – Canberra on Thursday, 6 September 2018

 

Come along to the Sustainability Expo, and get further inspired about what you can do (or promote) at your school, embassy, childcare centre or workplace.

 

 

Up-cycled Pfadfinder Fashion is coming

The Pfadfinder Monday scouts are busy preparing for  “Pfadfinder Pfashion Pfest” where our star models and designers will debut a number of fashion pieces each, upcycled from everyday materials.  Here’s how that came about.

Our 11-14 year old scouts were fascinated and horrified when we had a presentation a few weeks ago by local German designer, Hanna of Hoonz Clothing, about the history and environmental impact of the fashion industry.

We learned that the fashion industry is one of the worst offenders when it comes to landfill; nylon and polyester clothes do not bio-degrade; cotton plants have typically taken 7 truck journeys before they are even to the stage of being cut out for clothing; fabric dyes are poisoning rivers; clothes can’t be made by machines – they must be sewn by hand, and those hands are often those of child slaves the same age as scouts, trapped in poverty.  We decided we must respect and make more use out of the clothes that already exist in the world.

The scouts have since been busy creating their own fashion items out of recycled garments and accessories donated and collected from the community.  Drawing, designing, cutting, sewing, styling, fitting and sharing a laugh have all been part of the hive of activity at the scout hall.

Even Truffle the visiting Schnauzer helped try on accessories and evening wear.

We plan to showcase our creations in a fashion show.  So this week, we visited a local fashion studio, co-owned by the Swiss German manager of Haus Models, Andrea, and FashFest CEO, Clint, where our scouts learned about putting on a fashion show.

Fashion, we learned, is less about brand names and more about the clothes you love, and choosing a look that says something about you.

We also learned that a fashion show is about much more than the garments… it’s a party!  Our show will be a party with an environmental message.

Pfadfinder Pfashion Pfest will be held Tuesday 25 September 2018.   Come along and enjoy a fun night at our scouts’ fashion show!

Children’s Clothing Swap

Pfadfinder have been learning about the clothing industry and how it affects the environment.   The textiles industry is a huge polluter, so we thought up some ways we could reduce our impact.  Watch this space!

One easy way to reduce the number of clothes that end up in the landfill:   Pfadfinder had a clothes swap night – trading clothes with each other and refreshing their wardrobes without buying anything new.   Some clothes donated on the night got upcycled into new and different styles of clothes.

From 13 – 24 August 2018, we are hosting a second hand stall for quality children’s clothing for GAP and Spiel und Spass, too.

Parents can donate quality children’s clothing their child has outgrown, AND / OR  browse through the many donations and take whatever they like.  If you don’t find anything suitable one day, check back the next day or week, as fresh items will have arrived.
We are keeping it to children’s clothing this time.  If people like the concept, we can try other kinds of stalls.
Photo of just a few of the clothes available on Monday night, after lots of clothes had already changed hands.
This is an initiative of Pfadfinder scouts who are hoping to help keep clothing out of landfill and circulating in our lovely community. We are, afterall, keen to be green!
Anything left on 24 Aug will be donated to Salvos or Vinnies.
Enjoy!

Chocolates and straws are next to go

As delicious as chocolate is, the committee has recently decided to knock it from our fundraising campaign despite its reasonably good return on investment.

Aside from the obvious questions about modelling healthy habits for children, chocolate is a luxury the environment can’t really afford on the scale it is being produced in the world.  Add to this the unethical treatment of farmers (including children), and this is simply not an issue we choose to ignore any more.  So chocolates are off the list.  Luckily, there are still bake sales and mangoes to look forward to!

Encouraged by the ACT government’s “Straws Suck!” campaign, we have ditched straws from our craft supplies and kitchen, too.

 

Frogwatch Visitor Hops In

The Thursday/Friday GAP class enjoyed having our German biologist early educator friend Anke Maria hop in to visit, bringing her educational toys from Frogwatch.

We heard from her friend Friedrich der Frosch (a frog puppet) about some of the threats to his environment:  feral cats, bulldozers, people, sunscreen and detergent in the rivers, plastic bags and rubbish; and discussed what we can do to keep the environment frog-friendly.

We heard interesting facts about frogs, and got to explore and play with insect models in order to decide what to feed a big fabric frog.

We lined up other models from eggs to tadpoles (“Kaulquappe” in German), tadpoles with legs, young frogs and adult frogs; and solved puzzles showing frogs’ various stages. Even our teachers learned things.

We even enjoyed singing a couple of German songs about frogs.   As Anke Maria packed up at the end, we all hopped off to morning tea, croaking.

Did you know a German frog doesn’t say ‘ribbet’, but rather, ‘quak’?!

More recycling at Spielwelt

You may have noticed a few extra bins around at the Turner Scout Hall, in the kitchen and the new foyer.  We are making it easier for families to be greener… which is very German, so embrace the programs and enjoy feeling cultural and forward thinking with us!

The GAP children and scouts enjoyed their rubbish sorting lesson too, and most are now experts on it.

In the kitchen we have, starting from the top left on the shelf:

  • we are collecting unwanted oral care products (all brands of toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, dental floss containers) under a Terracycle program (we will get a small amount of money for each 2kg we collect).
  • we continue to collect organic kitchen scraps for chickens

Along the bottom row in the kitchen, we have:

  • the usual mixed recycling (unlike you at home, we don’t get  our recycling bins collected for free at the hall…but we believe it is important, so we pay for a collection service).
  • waste to landfill (getting less each week, which is good, because we pay for that to be collected too!)
  • our new soft plastics recycling through RedCycle, where plastic bags, wrappers, peel-off lids, cling wrap, yogurt squeeze pouches all can be recycled.  We also encourage families to think of ways to reduce their use of soft plastics by wrapping lunches in reusable containers or bees-wax-wraps or similar; and taking their own household’s soft plastic waste to their local Redcycle bin.

Next to the yellow sign-in desk in the foyer, we have:

  • our can and bottle refund scheme collection, through the ACT government’s container deposit scheme.   As you play or walk in your local park, all families (and particularly our scouts) are encouraged to collect any containers they see as litter and bring them in to the hall for our collection.  Eligible containers for the refund are ones that are commonly found in the litter stream, including most cans and bottles; ie glass, PET, HDPE, aluminium, steel or liquid paperboard (cartons) between 150mL and 3L in size.
  • [soon to appear] our e-waste collection box, through ecoActiv / Storage King, taking broken electronic toys, old laptops,  hard drives, keyboards, mice,  cameras, iPods, mobile phones, batteries, chargers and accessories.  You may also take them to Office Works yourself, or bring them to the scout hall if that is easier for you.  Computers and TVs can be collected from your home or office for free by TechCollect.

 

Lantern Walk 2018

Sankt Martin was seen galloping about on his trusty horse on Sunday night in Haig Park, amidst the many children and families with their beautiful lanterns, at this year’s German Lantern Walk.

Many Spielwelt families and their guests rugged up and braved the authentic-German-winter night air, to join the festivities.

There was music throughout the event:  Mike and his wonderful hand-crafted traditional German Drehorgel, an ambient guitar, a peppy brass and wind quintent including one of our talented scouts,  the sweet tones of the Pfadfinder Joey & Cub choir, and of course the many voices of families participating in the walk  who had no doubt been practicing the lantern walk songs at home.

The food was, of course, delicious and warmed our hands, stomachs and souls.  There were scrumptious home-made soups, German Bratwurst (from the Brathaus) served on buns with onions and steaming sauerkraut (and thanks to our cracker-jack team of efficient BBQ volunteers we had very short queues this year),  fresh breads,  traditional Weckmaenner (who held their own lantern parade before coming to ours, judging by the photo below), a mouth-watering array of Nachtisch (desserts) all baked and donated by  our wonderful families, and of course, the ever popular Kinderpunsch and Gluehwein served up by our all-time-favourite Gluehwein team.  (Craving more? Recipes here!)

We are keen to be green, so proper mugs, cups and bowls were all provided instead of disposable ones (thanks to an ACT government multicultural grant) in our continued efforts to reduce waste.

Thus nourished, the crowds gathered to sing some of the songs, guided by the lyrics (projected onto the side of our new shed), before setting off on the walk.

The procession headed out into the park, lanterns bobbing along and brightening our paths, as the sounds of singing voices and accompanying instruments floated out through the darkness.

We stopped part way, to form a large circle so the Spiel und Spass children and friends were able to parade their lanterns inside the safety of the circle, while the sweet voices of the Pfadfinder Joeys & Cubs delivered a fine performance of a beautiful lantern song for us, accompanied by the talented guitarist.
Arriving back at the hall, the procession was greeted with baskets of Weckmaenner to eat and share.  The children gathered with their lanterns on a large tarp to sit and watch a short play about Sankt Martin stopping in his travels to share his cloak with a poor beggar dressed only in rags at the gates of Amiens.  The narration of the interactive play was partly provided by the crowds singing the various verses of a Sankt Martin’s Leid.  Inspired by the kindness of Sankt Martin, our families kindly donated just under $100 to our collection tin for Barnados in Canberra.

Following the play, our “after party” enjoyed a bonfire to warm up, before helping to  tidy up, wash the dishes and head home.

A huge THANK YOU to all those who helped in all ways great and small, to make this year’s walk an indisputable success.  Special kudos goes to Alice who orchestrated the whole event from the planning to the delivery.  Danke!

Sweet Garden Surprise

We had a visit from some secret garden fairies yesterday.   While the children were busy inside, a merry band of volunteers from Bunnings arrived and installed a sweet garden surprise outside for us!

The Bunnings volunteers, under the direction of one of their activity organisers studying to work in early education, have been busy preparing the ground, choosing and digging in hardy plants, and installing a fun colourful fence as a backdrop to showcase our new little garden area.

It was fun seeing the children’s reactions to their new garden.  The children will be responsible to care for the plants, and learn a bit about environmental studies and botany in the fun new setting.

Fun fact #1: The scientists aboard Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia were botanists from Germany, Johann Forster and his son Georg.

Fun fact #2:  One of the initiatives considered by the founders of Spielwelt was a German primary school to be named the Johann Forster School.

 

ACTSmart Sustainability Award Winner

Congratulations to all our families, children, scouts, teachers, coordinators, committee and scout leaders:  We won!

Spielwelt and our Pfadfinder scout group were the proud recipients of the ACT Smart Sustainability Award’s Energy and Water Star award for 2018.   The award was presented by the very supportive ACTSmart team and the ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury.

Just being nominated for the award actually spurred us into more action, and we have since introduced Redcycle’s soft plastics recycling at the hall, and are about to launch two other recycling programs working with Terracycle.   We’ve also signed up to be an ACTSmart organisation and will be ramping up our children’s recycling education program and looking at achieving a further reduction in our waste-to-landfill.  Details to come…

We next aim is to inspire you further!  If your home or business is looking for tips or support about what you can do, start with the ACT Smart website and contact their encouraging and enthusiastic team.

Recipients in other categories of the award are also listed on ACTSmart’s awards page.

You can read about some of the many, many things we have been already done to reduce our footprint and educate our children and families, and what we won the award for, in one of our previous posts…

Gruen, Gruen, Gruen…

Muttertag / Mothers’ Day 2018

The children have been busy at GAP preparing for Mothers’ Day, making beautiful bookmarks using items collected from nature.

In one of our classes, the children started by glueing beautiful autumn leaves onto a big poster.  The colourful group of leaves reminded us how the mums at GAP are also one big wonderful colourful community together, so we stopped to take a group photo with our “community of leaves” poster for you.  Then the poster was cut into smaller pieces to make bookmarks for each mum.

In our other class, the children have also been busy making beautiful bookmarks using pretty leaves and pressed flowers.   It has been delightful to hear the children’s thoughts about their mums, while they chat with each other and work on their crafts.

We wish all our wonderful mums and grandmums a happy Mothers’ Day!  We hope they feel loved by the children and teachers, and are reminded about how all our mums and grandmums are each a special part of our GAP community.

 

 

Thought:  Are leaves on a mothers’ day gift called “maternity leaves”?