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Young leaders unite for environment forum

News release
09 April 2019

Students from across the region representing 15 schools met at Naracoorte Caves recently to attend the South East NRM Board’s first Young Environmental Leaders Program (YELP) forum for 2019.

This year’s program has over 60 students involved.

NRM Education Coordinator Damien Bickley said YELP aims to connect students to the environment, and to fellow leaders from other schools.

“This is the first of four events the group will meet at over the year,” Damien said.

“For this first forum, sessions with Doug Nicholls and Ken Jones gave students insight into the Indigenous history of the area, including bushfoods, caring for country, and landscape change.”

“We also went on a tour to found out more about the underground world of bat caves, including trekking along some of the park’s new Rooftop Loop Walk.”

Time in the afternoon was set for identifying environmental issues, and brainstorming ideas for projects schools will work on for the year to present back to the leaders group at the end of year expo.

Damien said the next time the group meets will be at a two day and two night Earthkeepers Camp.

“The camp is one of the highlights for the program,” Damien said.

“The outdoor activities go on regardless of the weather, so rain or shine the students are fully immersed and getting a real connection to nature.”

The third forum will focus on pest plants, and their effect on the local environment, with the fourth and final forum a chance for students to present their year-long projects back to the group and celebrate the journey.

“We want to give students real ownership of choosing a project that means something to them and working towards change within their school, but also thinking beyond that and how their ideas can apply to the broader community.”

For more information on the Young Environmental Leaders Program, or the SE NRM Board’s NRM Education program, contact Damien Bickley 8737 1177.

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