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Being a Picker Pal: helping to create young environmentalists


Towards the end of 2019, OUP started to support Picker Pals—a song and story-led environmental action initiative for schools, children, and their families. The aim of the programme is to motivate young people to care for the world around them and make it a better place for all. It does this by providing learning resources that teach young people about the environment, and equipping classrooms

Picker Pals was created by Patrick Jackson, an author of OUP English language courses: ‘I came across a seagull tangled in fishing line near my home. It really made an impact on me, so I started daily litter-picking. Then it occurred to me to try and connect litter-picking with learning and storytelling and Picker Pals was born. It’s great to see it becoming so popular.’ Patrick approached OUP to see if we would be interested in supporting Picker Pals, either through a financial donation or through in-kind resources and collaboration.

Christine Richardson, Group Senior External Communications Manager, explains: ‘We support a range of organizations and initiatives worldwide that further education and research and were really excited when we heard about Picker Pals. It’s a unique concept, and one that is particularly relevant now, when reducing our environmental impact is at the forefront of many of our minds. We were so impressed by its purpose, its ambition, and by Patrick’s enthusiasm for making a lasting difference to the environment through education.’

OUP agreed to make a financial donation, as well as looking for opportunities to support the organization through volunteering. For example, in December 2019, the Group Communications team spent a morning volunteering to provide communications and social media consultancy to the Picker Pals team.

Due to the support of OUP and the programme’s other ‘Picker Partners’, there’s no stopping the Picker Pals. Patrick commented: ‘Thanks to the very generous help we received, we have gone from a single school two years ago to 115 schools signed up for the coming school year. It’s incredibly exciting and we are now dipping our toes into other regions including the UK. We’re on a mission!’

The two teams are currently working together to identify opportunities for OUP employees to volunteer with Picker Pals remotely, to continue the partnership, and to help Picker Pals achieve its ambition of having a ‘Picker Pack’ in every primary classroom in the world.

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