One of the keys to being a successful changemaker is the capacity to identify the best role models for your audience. Who will be the most effective messenger?
Part of the Action4Agriculture experience for teachers participating in The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas – design a bright future competition is access to experts who share with our teachers the psychology of change management. Our Changeologist Les Robinson reminds schools about the importance of choosing the right messenger in his brilliant 60 minute workshops on The Art of Change. Our experience also tells us schools who support each other make things happen faster
Today’s blog post shows the pivotal role connectors play in creating a thriving community network and marrying the often complex concepts of agriculture, sustainability and environment. A wonderful example of this ecosystem at work was highlighted recently through Hamilton Public School and the Centre of Excellence In Agricultural Education .
Zane Osborn is the assistant principal at Hamilton Public School in Newcastle where UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have informed learning for the past three years. With a school garden already a community focal point for SDGs Zane approached Kris Beazley at the Centre of Excellence and joined their No Bees No Future project. Kris in turn suggested Hamilton Public School participate in Action4Agriculture’s Kreative Koalas, which it commenced in 2021.
As part of the Kreative Koalas project Hamilton Public conducted surveys with students and families and came to three conclusions:
- Most people in the community would like to contribute to positive climate action,
- Very few people knew about the SDGs,
- People want simple ideas they can action right now in their home and community to help the environment
“We talked about how the simple things we do in our garden (that have a positive impact on the climate) can be an example to other people in the community and can inspire them to do the same; things such as preserving biodiversity, eliminating chemicals, encouraging and preserving pollinators. We wanted to do some peer to peer teaching and educate our community of families and other nearby schools.” Zane says.
This peer-to-peer messaging took the form of a series of impressive videos broadcasted on YouTube.
“With a Sustainable School Grant and lots of passionate students and teachers we were able to drive the creation of Blue Gate Garden TV. Students created episodes all based around “lessons” on how people can make a positive impact on the climate,” Zane says.
Students and staff at Hamilton Public School have successfully taken complex eco-literacy concepts and created a common language for all.
Read more about Hamilton Public School here
Not to be outdone Kris Beazley was also working on eco-literacy with her Year 7 AgSTEM students at the Centre of Excellence, by creating resources for primary students.
“Our Year 7 AgSTEM student team consists of nine students who are undertaking a unique learning model. In their curriculum they focus all their learning through four lenses – Sustainability, Agriculture, STEM and Aboriginal Knowledges. This year our student team have engaged in a number of projects aimed at educating themselves and others about issues related to the environment and climate action. In this capacity they have worked with primary school aged children, teenagers and adults from varying generations. This translational approach has been a theme throughout their work this year,” Kris says.
Tapping into the school’s wealth of agricultural connectors the students were able to commence their research with a Hackathon with Cotton Australia and Australian Wool Innovation, which influenced their project for The Archibull Prize.
“As part of their Archie the students developed teaching resources for primary school students about sustainable fibre production in Australia and end of life options for Australian cotton and wool. In completing their project they have written educational books, learning resources and games for primary aged students. They also presented a workshop for primary students across NSW as part of an Ag Week conference, promoting sustainable end of life options for cotton,” Kris says.
Working with agricultural connectors and participating in programs such as Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize has enabled students across primary and secondary schools to engage peer-to-peer messaging. The result has been an increase in eco-literacy within communities, celebrated by Blue Gate Garden TV and a suite of new shared educational resources. And in a spectacular polish to these achievements both Hamilton Public School and the Centre of Excellence have been recognised as finalists in the NSW Banksia Awards Minister’s Young Climate Champion category
“The Minister’s Young Climate Champion Award recognises young innovators aged under 18 years who bring bold ideas for a safe and thriving climate future that align with any of the UN SDGs. Young and passionate minds who have taken outstanding actions that benefit the sustainability of their communities and help address climate change will be showcased in this award, which is a celebration of young people with drive, commitment and a passion for sustainability and the environment.”
Mega congratulations to all involved.