Two industrious Radnor High School girls started a new environmental club this year that aims to inspire students and community members to take action and responsibility for their environment through community service and education.
Juniors Olivia Bradberry and Rachel Rest have always been interested in the environment. Their interest was sparked while attending the Philadelphia Zoo camp when they were very young, and now they work there on the weekends.
Olivia had the idea of starting the club during her sophomore year. After the school approved it in May, it took some time to recruit a group and start forming ideas together, but now the group now includes nearly 45 other members.
The name of the club is Roots & Shoots.
“Roots and Shoots is actually a worldwide network started by Jane Goodall,” Olivia stated. “I just started the first branch in Radnor High School.”
There are a lot of other branches around the world, which is great because “if we ever want to, we could collaborate in a worldwide organization,” Olivia explains.
The meaning behind the name Roots & Shoots is that the Roots go down into the ground and build a foundation, and then the shoots come up and “you start to see a change in the world.”
Currently, Olivia and Rachel have three projects that they are organizing for the members to be involved in.
The first project is the Thrift Store Fashion Show. The Thrift Store Fashion Store is an endeavor to make recycling clothes more fun and interesting and get more students involved.
“We’re trying to get people to realize that they don’t have to buy new clothes and waste much material. By getting clothes that are shipped from across the world, we’re wasting energy,” says Olivia.
They go thrift shopping and find a bunch of old clothing and clothing that club members have worn and spruce them up.
“You can’t really go thrift shopping expecting to find cool things; you need to search through a lot of stuff because you’re not going to find something cool every time you go,” Olivia explained. “You have to be creative,” Rachel added.
“You should give people your hand-me-downs because hoarding isn’t good either, you want to get rid of your stuff,” Rachel remarked.
“You’re also not being as much of a consumer either, you’re reusing old clothes and you don’t have to spend as much money on them.”
Their second project is to raise awareness in the high school. The Roots & Shoots club will be teaming up with the student government later this year to get students and cafeteria staff to recycle more. “Simple things like replacing Styrofoam with reusable trays,” Olivia adds.
Many students are not even aware of ways that they can help protect their environment. A small poll was taken a few months ago and the results were quite interesting. A lot of students are apathetic towards recycling at school because of their busy schedules and social commitments. These are all understandable reasons, but there are ways to fix this mentality. That is where Roots & Shoots comes in.
Their main focus on recycling clothes and other items is that they are trying to break free from the linear consumer pattern, and start bringing it around to be more cyclical by being more conscious.
The third project includes the entire township of Radnor. On January 7th 2013 Radnor Township became a Bird Town. Bird Town is a working partnership of the National Audubon Society and townships in Pennsylvania to promote conservation and community-based actions to create a healthy, more sustainable environment for birds and people.
The National Audubon Society mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
Olivia is part of the steering committee for the Radnor branch, and there is a possibility of opening a bird sanctuary at the high school.
On top of these big projects, Rachel and Olivia will start making weekly suggestions on the morning announcements, encouraging students to bring their own water bottles and bringing lunch in lunch boxes rather than paper bags.
When asked to describe their style, Rachel described Olivia as “kind of Boho-y, hippie-ish, with cut-off denim shorts and tights, she has a distinct look.”
“[Rachel] is pretty groovy and likes her Doc Martens.” said Olivia.
Both girls have amazing taste in style, and they are always wearing something interesting.
Rachel and Olivia hope to make a change in the way our generation and future generations live and consume. They are two girls with a plan to preserve our environment. “It’s important for people to know what they’re doing to the environment,” said Olivia. “It’s important for them to know how they can help too.”