Trail-blazing Guides become eco campaigners

NORFOK'S trail-blazing brownies and guides will become the first in the country to earn a new badge which encourages eco-friendly lifestyles.

NORFOK'S trail-blazing brownies and guides will become the first in the country to earn a new badge which encourages eco-friendly lifestyles.

The Sustainable Living Challenge badge was launched by about 150 members of Girlguiding Norfolk at an event at Swaffham's EcoTech Centre on Saturday.

To earn the right to stitch the new badge on their uniforms, the girls will have to demonstrate a range of skills from growing vegetables and recycling to saving energy and composting.

They will also be required to encourage their families and neighbours to alter their habits and reduce their carbon footprints.

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The badge was developed in partnership with the University of East Anglia, with funding from its Community University Engagement East (CUE East) project, aimed at building cooperation between academics and communities.

It will be trialled by all 8,000 members of Girlguiding in Norfolk - from rainbows through to senior guides and leaders - before being rolled out to more than 550,000 members nationwide.

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Helen Green, county commissioner for Girlguiding Norfolk, said: 'Girlguiding Norfolk is extremely proud and delighted that this badge has been researched, and beautifully produced to set a challenge to our 21st century members.

'Raising young people's awareness and helping them make very important decisions which are going to impact on their future and that of their children is one of the aims of modern-day guiding.

'To be part of this very relevant and up-to-date issue and delivering it to our girls in a way they will find lots of fun ensures that guiding is meeting the needs of the girls of today.'

A resource pack to help guide the girls towards the award of their badge has been developed in collaboration with scientists across the Norwich Research Park, including the university's Community Carbon Reduction Programme (CRed).

CUE East chairman, Professor Keith Roberts, said: 'The young have a major investment in the future of our fragile planet, and at CUE East we are both proud and delighted to be sponsoring this new badge that will support their practical knowledge and appreciation of sustainable issues.'

At Saturday's launch event, the girls were given a tour of the towering EcoTech turbine and carried out activities including making butterfly feeders, recycling newspaper to make plant pots and sowing tomato plants to grow at home.

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