The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
In key parts of Australia, koalas are dying in big numbers. In Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory the attrition rate has been so high the Federal Government responded by placing koalas on the Threatened Species “at risk” list.
As part of the workshop the team will be contributing to the Far South Coast Koala survey – vitally important survey work which is contributing to protecting a highly endangered koala population – the last on the Far South Coast. This will be done in partnership with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The Champions we will also be helping out with the establishment of a major koala corridor, linking areas of critical habitat and protecting sensitive estuarine environments. On top of all of this, they will get a chance to explore the Bermagui River by canoe on a guided adventure.
This is the most wonderful partnership on some many levels with one of our Young Eco Champions Heather Gow – Carey doing her honours thesis on Koala habitats and working with farmers to help connect the wildlife corridors that will give them a chance to survive and reproduce safely.
We will be taking our film production crew extraordinaire of Tay Plain and Ann Burbrook with us so we can get some great footage to share with you.
Check out this cute video on how they feed the baby Koalas at the Great Ocean Ecolodge in Victoria
My name is Renae. I’ve only got little feet, but I’ve walked a lot of miles in the Australian bush and I’ve paddled a lot of rivers. My favourite river to paddle is the Franklin River in Tasmania. It is a pristine and genuine wilderness area and one of my dreams is for it to be like that forever.
You can spend ten days travelling down it and not see another soul except your paddling mates. Then you merge with the Gordon River to the place where the Blockade took place and you imagine what it was like to be there – and you quietly thank the people who cared enough to stand up, fight and win, so that those of us who are adventurous enough can see and enjoy it for ourselves and those that aren’t can just rest happily knowing that it is there.
Me on the Franklin River
I grew up in the Victorian town of Bannockburn; back then it was a town where everyone knew everyone and in the holidays and on weekends the kids would all head out to play after breaky and not come home until sunset. Our parents didn’t worry because they knew if we were being naughty or hurt ourselves they would find out from someone else in the community before we got home anyway.
Most Saturdays our family would pack the kids up and we would meet our friends and their families out in “the bush”. First thing the kids would do is get the bikes out and take off and make jumps and race around the dirt tracks; we’d only come back when the BBQ was cooked. Then we’d take off again.
Me on my bike at Teesdale
The Dog Rocks – This is the landscape I grew up in
Me and my bro building a cubby
My friend Lisa and I hanging out with a koala that called our front yard home for a few months one summer
Fishing at Rocklands on a camping trip
In high school my friends and I thought we were going to save the world – we formed a group and called ourselves Students Against World Destruction (SAWD); we screen printed our own t-shirts, we washed cars to raise money for Greenpeace to Save the Whales, we held screenings of documentaries on the whale slaughter, we went and planted shelter belts on local farms and we went out weeding in the You Yangs. The teacher who inspired us and helped us organise our trips was unwavering in his support and that is something I really appreciate to this day. I think empowering young people to feel like they can and are making a difference is worth more than gold. ( we are with you on that one Renae)
I left school and went onto study a Diploma in Outdoor Leadership (Recreation) at TAFE in the small town of Eildon in Victoria. Eildon is a pretty tiny town right at the base of a huge dam – everyone knew everyone and there was never a shortage of people to go on an adventure with. It was here that my already adventurous spirit and passion for the environment was really nurtured. “Study” for us mostly involved going white water rafting, bush walking, canoeing and rock climbing. After the first year we were qualified enough to take groups of school students out on their High School Outdoor Education trips; anything from 3 to 10 days of walking, paddling, climbing and camping. This is where I learned the power of our natural environment as a teaching and learning tool.
I spent 6 years in this role educating kids in the bush; which pretty much equates to 6 years living in a tent. I learnt a lot about myself and about people in general during this time. Kids usually reject the bush at first, but after a day or so they start to get into its rhythm and really start to make a connection with it; they usually leave a little bit quieter than when they came.
My buddy Chris and I taking a bunch of kids on off the beaten track on a 9 day expedition out past the Larapinta Trail in NT. (Ridiculous hats were a must!)
Henry and I took a group of uni students from the states on a trip out to Fraser Island in QLD.
Somewhere in the middle here I moved to the Blue Mountains and then to Wollongong’s northern suburbs and upon arriving in Wollongong I decided that this was my home from now on. I absolutely love it here and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Did I mention that I love to snowboard?? Well I do! So after living in a tent for 6 years I went to live in Japan for 1 year. I spent 6 months snowboarding in Hokkaido and the rest of the time teaching English on the island of Shikoku. I absolutely love the culture of Japan and how incredibly different it is to ours. I guess when I went there I thought (like most people do) that Japan is all cities, but it’s not; there are some really amazing wild areas there and I loved exploring them.
Iya Valley, Japan
Oh, and the snow was AWESOME!
My first day snowboarding in Japan
Early morning chair lift to the summit for fresh powder!
After Japan, I came back to work in Outdoor and Environmental Education on the South Coast for a few years and whilst I loved it still, I felt like I needed to unpack my bags and put the tent away for a while. I tried various things; working at TAFE, driving a community bus, working in Out of School Care, having extended holidays and then I landed a job at Conservation Volunteers Australia.
CVA is Australasia’s largest practical conservation organisation; with 21 offices in Australia and 4 in NZ and after holding almost every role that the office has to offer, 4 years later I am now the Regional Manager of the Illawarra/Shoalhaven Office.
What I love about my job is that I feel like I get to roll all of my work experiences into one here; I get to work in my local community with people from all ages and walks of life, I get to educate people on the importance of conserving our natural assets and I get to empower them to act.
My role has a bit of everything in it; I manage staff, projects, budgets and the day to day operation of our office. I apply for funding, and I am always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to get people involved in our projects. I work with a variety of land managers; helping them to achieve their environmental goals. I also have the opportunity to dream up my own projects and seek out funding to make them happen. I get out in to the field leading the team of volunteers at our Tom Thumb Lagoon project and our student volunteer program once a week too.
There’s other perks to my job too! Working with CVA gave me the amazing opportunity to take a group of volunteers to Turkey to work at and be part of the ANZAC commemorative services at Gallipoli this year, which was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Me at Walkers Ridge above ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli
I made friends with some local war heroes.
Ate LOADS of my favourite sweets
And learnt a bit about ancient history. This is an old school athletics track!
The other thing I really enjoy is a good road trip and big vast landscapes; I love heading to places where after an hour or so, you have red dust through everything; it’s coming out the air vents in the car, it’s up your nose, your clothes are dirty…it really reminds me of where I come from and what an incredible country we have.
I like to sit and look out and see land and oceans that go forever and I want to make sure that they are healthy and here for everyone to enjoy. Forever.
The road to Ilfracombe – outback QLD
On my way to check out the Barcaldine Nature trail – outback QLD
Checking out the view from the dinosaur dig near Winton – Outback QLD
On the way to the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan.
We at Art4Agriculture are thrilled to be able to offer Renae many more opportunities to realise her dreams
The Young Farming Champions visited the Ekka last Sunday and were thrilled to catch up with the Meat and Livestock Australia Target 100 stand which featured 8 QLD primary school painting Archies at the Royal Brisbane Show (Ekka)
The challenge was to use the Target 100 initiative and Red Meat Green Facts as inspiration for each school to come up with a design that they would then paint on a life-size fibreglass cow at the EKKA
The judges were looking for designs that illustrated the ambitions of Target 100 and the commitment that Australian cattle and sheep farmers have to their animals and the environment.
and the end result what can I say but WOW WOW WOW
The wining Archie with judges Pip McConachie – Community Engagement Manager MLA, Carlee Hay – Education Manager RNA and Stacey Milners – Media and Comms Manager Agforce
The wining cow was painted by Kingaroy State School, with Zillmere State School coming in second and third was Morningside State School
The wonderful second prize effort from Zillmere State School with the judges
The event was coordinated by the gorgeous Heidi Brunker pictured here with the winning cow
and just to show you the depth of the talent check this entry out
All 20 NSW schools involved in this year’s Archibull Prize have welcomed their Archies with a fanfare
Archie registers for classes at Shoalhaven High School
Archie gets a tour of the school at Wyong High School
Archie meets the chooks at Abbotsleigh College
As part of the program this year students will be investigate a number of factors contributing to hunger worldwide. They will have the opportunity to manipulate and make sense of data about feeding 9 billion people worldwide. In this way: • Students will understand how hunger is quantified and how hunger, poverty, and the ability to afford food are intertwined. • Students will learn about one country’s approach to reducing hunger and evaluate the usefulness of that model for other countries. • Students will use data to develop hypotheses and evaluate alternatives.
Cant wait to see what next gen bright minds come up with to help solve the world’s wicked problems can you?
Exciting news at Art4agriculuture HQ 20 NSW schools have signed on to participate in the Archibull Prize 2012.
The Archibull Prize is an Art4Agriculture initiative which is supported by Cotton Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Target 100, Pauls and the Upper Naomi Cotton Growers Association. The aim of the Archibull Prize is to bring the next generation of consumers and rural producers together to tell Agriculture’s story and generate two way conversations through art and multimedia
Each school has been provided with a life size fibreglass cow on which the students create an artwork about their allocated food or fibre industry, the farmers who produce it and how this food or fibre is being produced sustainably. The school is also provided with paint materials and a resource kit.
Each school is also allocated a Young Farming Champion whose area of expertise is the food or fibre industry the school is studying.
One of the big features of the program is its a fun way to learn and we ask the students to capture those moments with their cameras along the way.
Here is one way it was done in 2008 by Kiama Public School who created the masterpiece that is Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine visits the Kiama Lighthouse
I am confident the 2012 participating schools will have just as much fun and I cant wait to see the photos
A big congratulations to the following schools:
Camden Haven High School
Caroline Chisholm College
Cranebrook High School
De La Salle College Caringbah
Elizabeth Macarthur High School
Gunnedah High School
Hills Adventist College
Homebush Boys High School
James Ruse Agriculture High School
Jamison High School
Macarthur Anglican School
Menai High School
Model Farms High School
Muirfield High School
Shoalhaven High School
St Michael’s Catholic School
Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus
We chose Brisbane as the venue to coincide with the Ekka. All the moons were aligned including our superstar videographer Tay Plain being in the country and able to join us for the full three days.
I will do a blog post on the workshop component shortly but first I would like to share our Ekka big day out with you
Tay and Ann set up at the Ekka
It started with breakfast at Southbank…….
We did the smart thing and picked the restaurant with most patrons ( well done Kirsty) and we weren’t disappointed with what Denim dished up for us. Those large lattes in the soup bowls were to die for.
As we had Tay our videographer whizz and and our producer, script writer extraordinaire Ann Burbrook both with us at the same time we were determined to share as much of the Ekka agriculture story as we could.
Tom and Jess at the Dairy Youth Challenge
Using our 2012 Young Farming Champions as both “talent, producers and interviewers” we spent the day learning from each other, other exhibitors and the punters.
Sammi gets up close and personal with the Woolley Jumpers
Lauren, Hayden, Ann and Tay set up the sheep shearing story
Steph inspired Next Gen F at the Junior District Exhibits
We even met the famous @auscottongirl Bess Gairns with her new pride and joy
Megan talked a lot of bull
and the bulls did a little dance
This was a very interesting concept. No lambs were born whilst we were there so we didn’t get to gauge audience reaction!!!
It was a great day but sadly every now and then, thankfully in the very small minority there was an industry naysayer determined to ruin the day. There was the whinging beef stud breeder who just couldn’t understand why his animals had to share the showground with non stud breeders. Yes that’s right the general public. Yes you heard right. The most important people in the food supply chain. Yes he was lucky enough to have that once a year opportunity to talk to and share his story with the people who buy what he produces and he them found quite irritating.
Then there was the guy in the dairy shed I just wanted to hit over the head when I found out later he told the YFC’s they were wasting their time talking to non farmer audiences.
But nothing dampened the spirit of the YFC’s. Today they are back on farm or at uni organising school visits and media interviews doing whatever it takes to continue the journey and spread the great story of agriculture across all the bridges.
As part of the 2012 Archibull Prize the students are asked to write a weekly blog post with 5 compulsory elements. One compulsory post asks them to reflect on world hunger and innovate initiatives by first world countries to make a real difference in third world countries
I love this one
How it works……
Youth Education Farms (YEF) is a Canadian federally registered charity that develops and manages commercial farms located in rural Swaziland. Profits from each farm are used to fund elementary and high school tuition fees for orphans. In exchange for their tuition fees, YEF students attend the YEF educational course to learn basic life skills such as AIDS prevention, business skills and career planning. Upon graduation, YEF will provide graduates with loans to allow them to continue their education at the post-secondary level or create their own businesses with the guidance of the YEF management team. Youth Education Farms was founded based on a belief that each and every one of us has the power and, in turn, the responsibility to help those in need realize their dreams and fulfill their highest potential. With the establishment of farming operations, YEF will not only create employment opportunities, foodstuffs and infrastructure, but it will give Swazi youth hope for a better future- one where they are entitled to an education, can believe that their dreams will come true, and one where HIV/AIDS isn’t the inevitable demise. YEF will ensure that children are not only educated academically, but that they also have the tools to succeed in life outside of the educational setting. These extracurricular tools will be afforded via career, academic and personal planning classes, as well as financial grants so that they have the means to achieve their aspirations.It is our responsibility to help ensure that the people of Swaziland are not eradicated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic plaguing their country. We believe that the solution to this problem begins in the classroom. Every donation made will go towards establishing a sustainable stream of revenue to directly fund the education of the orphans of Swaziland. These children, who are the most at risk, will have the opportunity to end the systemic eradication of a generation. These children will be the future of a healthy and vibrant Swaziland. Youth Education Farms is not a cure, but simply a pre-emptive tool of prevention; no child should be left to forge for themselves, nor should they be left to a seemingly inevitable fate that befell their parents- the lost generation. For more information see www.youttheducationfarms.com
Love to hear from any readers who know of similar community good efforts
Inspired by the Japanese haiku, sci-ku is a short three-line poem about sciences. Sci-ku is a small, modest and humble poem that depicts the everyday world around us, aiming to give a flash of insight into that world — like a scientific ‘Eureka!’ moment expressed briefly in words.
Each poem must have a thematic link to farming or agriculture and not exceed the three-line maximum. Syllable counts are not relevant. Each entrant is invited to submit a maximum of three sci-kus.
You can submit in one of three categories:
Primary (12 years and under), secondary (13-18 inclusive) or open (no age limit). Please make it clear in which category you are entering when you submit your sci-ku.
All poems must be original, unpublished works (in print or online) by the poet entering the competition.
All entries must be received by Sunday 19 August 2012 or be date stamped Thursday 16 August 2012 at the latest.
No poems will be returned.
The judges’ decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into.
1st prize winners in each category will receive a Kindle e-Reader.
2nd & 3rd prizes will be awarded in each category, with prizes of $50 and $20 worth of book vouchers, respectively.
1st, 2nd & 3rd prize winners in each category will see their sci-ku and name in lights on the RiAus ribbon artwork on the exterior of the Science Exchange in Adelaide.
1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes (and other selected entries) will be published on the RiAus website.
Science poetry has been around for a while. In 1984 New South Wales physicistJ. W. V. Storey published his academic paper as a poem inThe Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of Australia. Read his poem on Brain Pickings.
Sci-ku Entry Form
Enter the third annual sci-ku poetry competition to be in the running for some great prizes!
Excitingly the recent State of the Environment report has show Australian farmers have made some major inroads in their farm environmental stewardship outcomes through a strong commitment to Landcare principals
Most of Australia’s land environment is managed by one of three groups: state and territory agencies responsible for public land of various tenures, family and corporate agricultural and pastoral businesses, and Indigenous Australians.
The effectiveness of management has improved for most land uses, particularly those that are most intensive. While land–management practices have improved during the past few decades, in agricultural systems the loss of soil carbon, and soil acidification and erosion, are problematic and may have major impacts on production.
However, there is a serious gap in both the professional and the technical capacity necessary for effective land management. This gap will increase and its consequences become more acute as we face the challenges that climate change will bring to land environmental values and production systems.
Obviously if our farmers are going to achieve the best environmental outcomes they must have access to the best advice and have the opportunity to work side by side with natural resource management professionals With this in my mind Art4Agriculture have accessed Caring for our Country funding to role out the Young Eco Champion program for 2012/13 This program will train a team of 5 young natural resource management professionals from Southern Rivers region of NSW. They will be trained to develop leadership and communication skills and become local faces of sustainable primary production and natural resource management. See Erin Lake our 2011 Young Eco Champion in action here
Eco Champions will work with Young Farmer Champions to present Archibull Prize activities in 15 schools throughout the region using a range of authentic and contemporary learning tools that allow young people to explore the economic, environmental and social challenges of sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation activities through the ‘Archibull Prize‘ competition.
Today our guest blogger is Heather Gow-Carey one of our exciting Young Eco Champions
Here is Heather’s story ………………….
My name is Heather Gow-Carey. I am 22 years old and am currently undertaking honours in my fourth and final year of an International Bachelor of Science (Geoscience) at the University of Wollongong.
I grew up in the rural community at Dignams Creek on the Far South Coast of NSW. Environmental and natural resource management has always played a huge part of my life. The influence of my parents’ professions in the direction of my educational career has subconsciously shaped my decisions and their support has been unwavering at every stage of my development.
Helping out tree planting on the Hawkesbury River when I was just learning to walk.
I was born in Western Sydney but moved to the South Coast with my parents when I was two years old. They were looking to get away from the city and pursue their goals in setting up South Coast Flora, a native bushfood nursery. It is this specialised plant propagation that first introduced me to the theories behind environmental management. As long as I can remember I have been helping out in the nursery, going to markets and assisting mum out in her botanical pursuits collecting seeds and cuttings to be used in the nursery.
Out collecting seeds with Mum.
My father was involved in the National Parks and Wildlife Service for a number of years and now works as the Landcare Community Support Officer throughout the Eurobodalla Shire. Hence my weekends as a youngster were filled with farm visits, tree plantings, weed control and numerous conferences and meetings. Luckily I had my younger brother to have tree planting competitions and someone to hang out with when dad had to attend to business matters. From both of my parents I have developed a love and a respect for the environment that I value immensely. It has shaped my love for the outdoors and even though I have had to move away to attend uni, I love going back home whenever I can.
Playing in Dignams Creek when I was little.
About 15 minutes away is the closest town, Cobargo. It is a small town that has earnt the name of the ‘working village’. There are around 500 residents if you include the many farms around the area and there is a very strong sense of community, with all of the locals willing to pitch in to help each other out. I was part of the swimming club, soccer club, rugby club and scout group, as well as always exhibited and volunteered for the annual Cobargo Show. The show was and still is, one of the highlights of the Cobargo calendar. Even though it is such a small town, the show always draws large crowds in competitors, exhibitors and visitors and is well known as a quality agricultural show. There were several years where I made it my goal to enter every youth section in the pavilion, and even many of the open sections. When I was about 12, a prize was introduced for the junior exhibitor with the highest overall point-score, so I busied myself making arts, crafts, jams, baking, growing fruit and veggies, even entered some prime compost to take out the top prize!
The Cobargo main street.
One of my other interests is art. When I was little I wanted to grow up to be an artist, but soon learnt that most artists don’t get rich and famous until they are dead! So I had to rethink my career ideas. I was lucky enough to be involved in the Jindabyne Sculpture by the Lake exhibition – a competition for local artists held each Easter Long Weekend and with from my art teacher I first entered at the age of 14.
I had always felt very strongly about using water responsibly and hence, I made a giant plug that floated out in the middle of the lake to inform people of my water-saving message. This was a great opportunity to raise awareness about the scarcity of water and the fact that we all rely on it so much, and yet we have so little that is actually able to be consumed.
My community involvement continued throughout high school, being involved in several sporting groups, community groups, the Rural Volunteer Bushfire Service and more Landcare activities. There was hardly a weekend or week night spare in my schedule! I was recognised for my efforts on Australia Day 2009, being awarded the Narooma Young Citizen of the Year.
After being awarded Young Citizen of the Year.
My HSC helped to shape what I chose to study and the last three and a half years of university really have taught me so much about the different areas of physical geography, human geography and the ways in which people interact with their environments. I have all of the theory behind me; I just need to put my ideas into practice.
Even though I am not from a farm in the traditional sense, I feel as though my upbringing really has shaped the person that I am, and what I would like to achieve out of life. Through this program I hope that I can encourage and support young Australians, and especially those in rural areas, to become involved in natural resource management and sustainable agriculture.
Wow we looking forward to working with young lady as you can imagine
The Young Farming Champions program is funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program. Art4agriculture thanks you for believing in us
We love to skite about all the exciting young people we know and we are shouting Young Eco Champion Megan Rowlatt’s exceptional talents from the rooftops. Megan is one of 88 finalists in the National Landcare Awards to be announced in Sydney on 4th September, 2012. She has been nominated for a National Landcare Award for her outstanding achievements in recruiting young people to the Landcare movement by founding the Illawarra Youth Landcare group.
Join us in voting for her in the People’s Choice Award here
You don’t have to take our word for it you can see for yourself what a superstar she is here
This is the blurb from here profile for the National Landcare Awards ……….
In 2009 Megan saw there was a need to engage more youth into Landcare activities in the area. With many Landcare and Bushcare groups having a much older membership and few recruitment efforts, she worked towards establishing a Landcare group exclusively for young people.
Much of Megan’s success comes from her constant efforts to attract attention to the group and keep volunteers engaged and learning about local Landcare issues. Many of the volunteers come into the group with no prior knowledge about natural area restoration, and Megan works alongside these volunteers to teach them the techniques and skills they need. If certain skills are beyond her knowledge or expertise, she engages other local experts in the community to teach the young volunteers about the issues of interest and sources projects which would provide a valuable opportunity for young inexperienced volunteers to increase their skills in Landcare activities.
Megan has also achieved great success in communicating and promoting the group through media and at events. Not only has she organised the group’s website and social media pages, but she has engaged a range of local and high-profile media to write stories about the group, and has worked with the young volunteers to create training DVDs which allow others who are interested in bush regeneration to develop some basic knowledge in weed removal techniques.
In order to retain existing volunteers and attract new ones, Megan has a number of exciting projects planned. Connections with adventure conservation groups such as Willow Warriors allow for weekend camping expeditions outside the region and a number of paddling projects have been planned for the warmer months. She is currently in the planning stages of a City Meets Country Landcare Expedition, which will see a team of city volunteers stay on an active farm and learn about how the farm works and the environmental issues the landholder has to deal with. She is also planning on creating a documentary with some volunteers from the group, which will delve into why young people are involved in Landcare in the Illawarra region and what some of the environmental issues facing the region are.
Megan is one of 88 finalists in the National Landcare Awards to be announced in Sydney on 4th September, 2012. Commencing in 1991, the Awards celebrate the achievements of individuals and groups that make a valuable contribution to the land and coast where they live and work.