Amazing nature, extraordinary projects, exciting campaigns, brilliant leisure activities and lots of fun – NAJU’s junior division offers kids aged 6 to 13 all this and more! They can get actively involved in one of the many NAJU kids’ groups or take part in a special competition to experience all the joys of spring.
At over 700 NAJU kids’ groups across Germany, young conservationists can team up with adult volunteers to conserve nature and discover all the animals and plants living just beyond their front door.
NAJU also develops excellent learning materials for all children’s group leaders. With plenty of ideas and tips for projects, experiments and research, they provide an ideal way to get children interested in nature and their surroundings. They help children to develop an understanding of how ecological processes work and interrelate.
Since 1984, NAJU has invited children to take part in its annual Erlebter Frühling (Experiencing Spring) competition. Taking place right across Germany, the competition draws children’s attention to local flora and fauna with the aim of encouraging them to discover the biological diversity just beyond their front door. Each year the competition revolves around four animal and plant species that mark the arrival of spring – the “heralds of spring” – which the children have to search for. The four species are chosen for their ecological, social and cultural significance. The German UNESCO commission has declared NAJU’s Erlebter Frühling children’s competition a project of the UN’s World Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
As part of the UN International Year of Forests in 2011, NAJU organised a major project week entitled Kinder entdecken die Natur (Children Discovering Nature). Thousands of children were given the chance to sustainably experience and explore woods and forests. NAJU distributed 500 project packs to participating children’s groups free of change. During the project week, children set up 500 trails all across Germany to help people discover the forests.
NAJU also put together a Children Discovering Nature project folder, which includes 200 creative ideas for nature-related projects. Whether children want to explore the city, the forest, the meadows or the waterways, the NAJU project folder has exciting project ideas for every habitat and season.
The NAJUversum (NAJUverse) is NAJU’s knowledge pool. It offers information, games and fun activities relating to nature - firstly through the free NAJUversum kids’ magazine and secondly via its website www.najuversum.de. The latter includes a group finder, which allows children to quickly and easily find their nearest NAJU group in Germany. The website has been awarded the quality seal for outstanding online media for children by Erfurter Netcode.
Stunde der Gartenvögel and Stunde der Wintervögel - Garden Bird Hour and Winter Bird Hour – are national ornithology campaigns run by NAJU and NABU. The aim is to increase awareness about domestic bird species and to provide reliable information about their numbers. In 2011, over 85,000 people took part in Winter Bird Hour and counted around 2.6 million birds.
Pictures: (1,3) Thomas Zigann for NAJU BW; (2) Ulrike Suckow; (4) NAJU; (5) fotolia.de