A pitch and awards event for the pilot of Action4Agriculture’s Young Environmental Champions program (funded by the NSW Office of Regional Youth and Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation ) gave the stage to 10 teams of young people on May 12 to showcase what matters most to them.
Held at the Newcastle Museum and facilitated by Josh Farr from Campus Consultancy, the event included primary and secondary schools from the Hunter and Hawkesbury regions.
“Over the past 10 weeks, these young minds have dedicated themselves to creating a social impact project that will bring about positive change and contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, “Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong said. “Our young people are reshaping, rewiring and reimaging the future; a future that they have designed ”
Students found a diversity of projects to focus on including flood water management, sustainable fishing, waste management and recycling, increasing pollinators, improving student mental health, technology to transition students to high school, community partnerships and climate action.
For their final presentation they were tasked with creating a three minute pitch to sell their idea to a judging panel. The panel was led by AAEE (Australian Association of Environmental Educators) chair Sue Martin, accompanied by Newcastle environmental advocate Alexa Stuart, health promotion specialist Dan Brown, CoastXP founder Dominic May and founder of the BEATS.org Tommy Viljoen.
Winning the primary school section was Hamilton Public School who focused on SDGs 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) and 13 (Climate Action) to create a project titled People Power.
“[We are] aspiring to improve the health of individuals and our community.
We aim to clean the air and promote physical health by promoting modes of transport that are strictly people powered!”
Winning the secondary school section was St Joseph’s Lochinvar who looked at flood mitigation due to local urbanisation and how it is affecting their school, coming up with a solution that utilised the excess water to irrigate their school farm. Their project incorporated SDGs 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and 15 (Life on Land) and was an excellent example of how global issues can be addressed at a local level.
Runner-up in the primary section the runner-up was St Brigid’s Primary School who focused on SDG 15 (Life on Land).
and in the secondary section was the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education for their focus on SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing)
The Hon. Kate Washington, Member for Port Stephens/Minister for Families and Communities/ Minister for Disability Inclusion was especially impressed by the calibre of the presentations:
“I love this program. It gives students, who are already solving the problems of the future, a chance to shine,” she said.
The Hon Kate Washington MP with students from St Brigid’s Primary School
The Hon. Tim Crakanthorp, Member for Newcastle with students from Hamilton Public School
Other special guests were the Hon. Tim Crakanthorp, Member for Newcastle/Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education/Minister for the Hunter, Declan Clausen, Deputy Mayor of Newcastle and representatives from Newcastle and Maitland Councils, Hunter Local Land Services and the NSW Office of Regional Youth.