21st March 2018 — Lizzie began her day with a tour by JAPS's Roots and Shoots captains who told her all about the work the school has done to promote environmental awareness and sustainability. As a Roots and Shoots ambassador, she was especially impressed with some of the projects the school has carried out to support the eco system and international communities, including the partnership with Action For Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD) in Uganda which makes a difference through education to the lives of children in Bwaise.
Next stop was a packed main hall where she delivered JAPS's annual Roots and Shoots talk to the whole school and their guests from neighbouring Judith Kerr Primary School. She started proceedings off by talking about her recent visit to Kenya to document a conservation project that aims to protect African elephants and support local communities as growing populations mean that farmland land has started to overlap with the elephants' roaming space. She also told the sad story of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhinoceros who had died earlier that day. Lizzie had met Sudan and his handlers on a previous visit to Africa.
She then entertained the very excitable crowd with a presentation of some of the most unusual, unloved and ugly animals, hoping to change their perceptions once the initial outpourings of disbelief had subsided. From the wrinkly Lake Titicaca Frog, to the slime excreting Hagfish to the bloated blobfish, Lizzie did her best to explain to everyone that whilst these won't win any cutest animal contests they are some of earth's most remarkable species. The mating practice of the Angler fish, which involves the tiny male fusing itself into the much larger female had the children particularly engrossed.
Her talk finished with a showing of a mini documentary where she went looking for Lamprey - one of the world's most prehistoric parasitic fish that just happens to live in British waters. This was followed by dozens of questions from the pupils who had been thrilled by Lizzie's talk and wanted to know all about her travels, her film-making and which out of the all the ugly creatures she would like to be given the chance.
Lizzie joins Dr Jane Goodhall DBE, the found of the Roots and Shoots programme, and Dr Ben Garrod as environmental champions who have given memorable Roots and Shoots talks at the school.