Heroes hike

Hike across your local area, and spot the issues and challenges it’s facing. Can you take action and help?

Find a local area for your litter pick and check for any hazards. Make sure the area is accessible for everyone in your group.

Arrange how you’ll dispose of the litter you collect. Depending on where you live, this could be public bins, local council facilities, or waste disposal centres.

Each group will need an adult to do this activity with them – if you don’t have enough volunteers, you could ask some parents to help.

Download the activity plan (PDF, 298.2KB)

Essentials

  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • Cost: Free
  • Suitable for: Small groups
  • You will need: Bin bags, litter pickers, gloves, maps or route cards (optional)

How to run this activity

Litter pick

  1. Everyone should talk about why littering is bad for the planet.

You could talk about the impact on wildlife as well as the destruction of the natural beauty of a place.

  1. Everyone should split into small groups. An adult should join each group.

You may need more than one adult with each group depending on your young people and the area you choose to clean.

  1. The person leading the activity should make sure that everyone understands that they’ll need to be careful of certain objects they might find, such as glass, sharp metal, or needles. They should explain the plan for dealing with these sorts of items safely.
  2. The person leading the activity should explain the area everyone will be using and when and where groups should meet after the hike.

It’s up to you how you do this – you might want to mark this out on a map, create route cards, or set boundaries based on visible things (such as no further than that toilet block).

  1. Everyone should get stuck in to their adventure with a social action edge!

Add in a challenge

You could challenge everyone to:

  • find the oldest piece of litter (you could judge based on best before or use by dates)
  • Ycollect items of litter that begin with the first letter of their name (for example, Nadiya could find an old newspaper, while Charlie could find a chocolate bar wrapper)

Make it better

  1. Once everyone’s returned to the meeting point, they should share what litter they found. How will they dispose of it all effectively?

You could talk about which types of litter were most common – was it papers, food wrapping, plastic and glass bottles, or something else?

  1. Everyone should chat about what might have happened if they hadn’t removed the litter.

For example, a bird might get its feet tangled in a plastic bag, a child might fall on some broken glass, or a dog might swallow some litter. You could also discuss the importance of working together to solve an issue – with just one person, the litter pick may have not been as successful.

  1. Everyone should decide on some more actions they can take to minimise litter in their local area.

It’s up to you what this looks like – it could involve regular litter picks or educating your community on the impact of littering.

Reflection

This activity was a great way for people to enjoy the outdoors while helping their community. Before the end of the session, you could use the ‘make it better’ debrief to discuss ways people could reduce litter on national and global scales as well.

Activity outcomes

Help your community - be able to take an active role in the community, give to others, and make the world a better place.

Be active - look after your body by being physically active.

Safety guidance

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and include hazards such as roads, woodland, bodies of water (for example, rivers, ponds, lakes, and seas), plants, and animals. Take appropriate steps to reduce risk.

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

You’ll probably need more adult helpers than usual. Your risk assessment should include how many adults you need. The young people to adult ratios are a minimum requirement; when you do your risk assessment, you might decide that you need more adults than the ratio specifies.

Think about extra equipment that you may need to take with you, for example, a first aid kit, water, and waterproofs.

Throughout the activity, watch out for changes in the weather and do regular headcounts. 

All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.

Take it further

Could you invent a new way of reducing litter? What about a plastic sucking vacuum in the ocean or alternative packaging for food?

Access guidance

Ensure the area that is being used is suitable for all your access needs.

Other activities

Showing compassion and care for nature is one of five things that can help people build a better relationship with nature.

Explore our free resources for more activity ideas.

Free resources