Dorset goes Wild – Climate Change Challenge

In the summer, 33 families with young children (5-13 years old) from the Dorset Goes Wild Facebook Group took part in a contemporary collecting project organised by Wessex Museums. This was a self-directed climate change challenge where the children could record their experiences exploring the environment in a specially designed Summer Journal. They could write stories, draw cartoons, paste pictures, press flowers – anything at all that inspired them and captured how they felt about climate change.

At the same time, a suite of art and science related programmes were also curated and delivered at both Dorset Museum and Poole Museum. For example, in Dorset Museum, the children looked at dinosaur bones and fossils up close to understand climate change through the ages. In Poole Museum, a hands-on simulation of the melting ice caps increased their awareness of the rising sea levels and why this was important to many of the coastal towns dotting Dorset’s landscape.

For the more artistic, creative workshops at both museums had the children designing posters and banners with their pledges to protect the planet; Poole Museum’s physic garden provided a beautiful backdrop for this, with the flowers and herbs featured in some of the artworks. To wrap up the project, participants were treated to a guided tour of Brownsea Island by our partners at the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Everyone had an incredible time learning about the effects of climate change through hands-on activities such as pond dipping to look at insects as well as a peek at migratory birds from the hide.

For many of the families, these activities and trips to the museums had not only provided learning opportunities for the children but also a safe space for the parents – many of whom felt more confident to now engage their children on the topic of climate change. 

Written by Erni Salleh-Pelham, Community Curator at Poole Museum and Consultant at Dorset Museum.

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