Young environmental leaders join forces

30 March 2021

Eurobodalla’s future is in safe hands after 14 students attended a residential sustainability camp this month.

The annual camp is an initiative of Eurobodalla Council, designed to nurture local young environmental leaders and inspire them with fresh ideas for action.

Held at ‘The Crossing’ in Bermagui, the year 9 and 10 students from Narooma, Batemans Bay and Moruya high schools and St Peter’s Anglican College enjoyed activities focused on conservation management, sustainable design, sustainable energy, water and waste management and topical this year, bushfire mitigation looking at plant selection and land management.

Camp facilitator Dean Turner said the constant rain didn’t dampen the students’ spirits.

“The sustainable design session resulted in some great ideas including a school second-hand shop for textbooks and uniforms, a school source separation bin system to ensure compost goes to agriculture plots and that paper and cardboard also are separated and shredded for the agriculture department,” he said.

“Integration of the food tech menu with the agriculture department growing schedule was also studied, as well as the suggestion of making sustainable design an elective subject at one of the schools. Some exciting proposals to capture and save water were also explored.”

Eurobodalla Council’s sustainability education officer Gillian Kearney said Council had sponsored the annual camp since 2017, with students selected based on interviews that gauged what issues were foremost on their minds.

“We see the camp as an opportunity to inspire students who want to make changes and step up in ‘all things environmental’ within their school community and beyond,” she said.

“We introduce them to like-minded peers in an inspiring setting with trained facilitators, who can demonstrate practical ways to be more sustainable through things like energy efficiency, renewable energy solutions, waste minimisation, water saving, ecology and permaculture.

“They also experience living sustainably at ‘The Crossing’ a purpose-built, off-the-grid farm stay and residential environmental education camp.

“Many of the alumni from this camp end up on Council’s award-winning Young Legends Mentoring Program, which provides mentors to work with school environmental leaders in their senior years to further inspire new ideas and projects.”

The participating students will be interviewed early in term 2 to discuss and follow up with their school environment projects.