A Journey to Regeneration with Belltrees Public School

At Action4Agriculture we believe tomorrow’s problems can be solved today, if we can break down silo thinking and move beyond self interest to a collaborative model that sees people and organisations working together for the greater good.

Today we celebrate Belltrees Public School and their collaborators – a beacon of hope showing others it can be done


“Go to the experts and then bring the experts back”

Belltrees Public is a small school with big ambitions. Located east of Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley, this school, which in 2023 has only 3 students, is on a mission to become the greenest little school in Australia.

Students engage in a range of sustainability-based programs, led by a Youth Environmental Council, including carbon-emission reduction, waste minimisation and slow food but it is their award-winning (National Sustainable Communities – Young Legend award) journey to agricultural regeneration that truly showcases the power of entrusting our future to the young.

The catalyst for this remarkable journey was a barren school paddock. While standing around this area, void of life in 2019’s challenging drought, a question was asked to local farmer, Rob Scott:

“How do we prepare these students for the challenges they’ll face with changing climatic conditions?”

Rob replied: “Have you heard of regenerative farming?”

Rob’s response prompted a school visit to the Mulloon Institute at Bungendore in NSW, but this was more than a simple excursion.

“Belltrees Public School wanted to support the community in the midst of the worst drought in a century. So, in discussion with Rob, we set the task of hosting an excursion for local farmers to come with the school to learn about regenerative agriculture principles. We secured funding to ensure no farmers were financially restricted from attending, organised our experts and opened it up to students, families and local farmers to attend,” Belltrees principal Shane Roberts says.

Following their adopted motto of “go to the experts and then bring the experts back”, in 2021 the school community hosted a field day on their grounds. Special guest was Martin Royds, who took the opportunity to meet with local farmers outside the school environment. Also involved with the field day were the Warrambungles National Park Environmental Education Centre, the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens, Hunter Local Land Services and Murrurundi and Ellerston Public Schools.

The journey continued in 2022 with another excursion, this time to Armidale to visit five regenerative farms, and again the experts were brought back to the Upper Hunter where 80 farmers attended a field day. In conjunction, Belltrees organised a tree planting day enlisting Costa Georgiadis, Upper Hunter Landcare and Wallabadah and Martindale Public Schools to help celebrate their success.

In the process the once barren paddock has been transformed. A groundswell of interest in regenerative practices from the students, staff and parents now sees chickens and sheep sharing space with an orchard and vegetable plots. Neighbouring schools have taken an active interest in this real-world model for learning about sustainability and beyond the revived school plot countless hectares in the community are benefitting from regenerative agriculture as local farmers ride the wave with the students.

Byron and Fiona Hubbard from Balarang Station in the Upper Hunter are two of those farmers.

“We have been involved with the Belltrees Public School regenerative journey for the past four years and have really enjoyed watching the whole community get behind it and learn from the experiences we have all had together …. To share this with fellow members of our farming community made it all too easy to benefit from the experience. We have all gone on to implement some of these practices into our farm and this has influenced others to try the same,” Byron says.

The Belltrees community has come together to support this journey. Fund-raising enabled participants beyond the school to attend and contribute and this has been re-paid as farmers and other experts have ensured students are maximising their educational opportunities.

“At the core of our efforts has been collaboration. Reaching out to experts in the field to support our next generation better understand the challenges and opportunities that the future holds is key to our planning. We have focused on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through our schools Youth Environment Council. Each project we have embarked on has led our small school to forming strong relationships with individuals, organisations and collaborators who have guided, supported and mentored us through our efforts,” Shane says.

The journey to regeneration continues. In October the school will host a Paddock to Plate Day and in November will run a Journey to Regeneration field day incorporating the screening of “Rachel’s Farm”, a documentary looking at actor Rachel Ward’s own regenerative journey.

Rachel Ward may have the clout that comes from a life in film-making. Belltrees Public School has the clout of their community and an unwavering commitment to harness a far greater audience – our young people.



The Power of Art to Heal

This post shines a spotlight on SDG 3 and how The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas can improve the health of our students and our selves

The United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) underpin our Action4Agriculture (A4A) school programs and our values. In schools students are tasked with identifying a goal they want to achieve


The problem they have to solve or the barrier they need to overcome to achieve their goal

We then invite them to design and deliver a community behavior change program to make it happen


In past years popular SDGs chosen by schools have been:

  • SDG 2 – Zero Hunger
  • SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 – Climate Action
  • SDG 14 – Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 – Life on Land

In 2021 The Henry Lawson High School in Grenfell, NSW, became the first school to incorporate SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being, as their theme to guide their Archibull Prize entry. Teacher Jillian Reidy explains their progress to date:

“Our vision for our 2021 Archie was to focus on well-being and use the cow to be a public artwork to express well-being words provided by the community and well-being initiatives within the school. Well-being initiatives include the design of a well-being haven for students, and a colour run that was designed but which we have not been able to run due to COVID restrictions. We have also initiated another public art project working with the council which will explore well-being. Funding has been applied for and we are hoping to have it completed mid 2022.”

Watch Jillian talk about how the school was inspired to go on their journey here

Living with a pandemic has forced us all to re-evaluate our own health and well-being and to develop strategies to increase resilience. In the Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) Annual Statistical Report 2018 resilience in adolescents was found to be higher when they had a strong sense of belonging at school and had friends they could trust and communicate with about problems. The Henry Lawson High School is proactive on this strengthening of resilience.

Similarly, in primary schools it has been important to build resilience, especially in school communities where the pandemic came hot on the heels of devastating bushfires in 2019-2020. To support these schools St Vincent de Paul’s (Vinnies)  Bushfire Recovery and Community Development Program provided funding to deliver Kreative Koalas into five schools.

The Vinnies Program has three major areas of focus – future preparedness and building resilience, community cohesion, and environmental regeneration and sustainability. “Vinnies views Kreative Koalas as aligning with all three, but particularly the resilience building and environmental sustainability,” John Fenech, the manager of Community Development Bushfire Recovery at St Vincent de Paul Society of NSW says.

The Australian Government recently created a Student Wellbeing Hub, which incorporates Beyond Blue’s report on resilience in children aged 0-12. This resource is available to teachers who can use further resources within Kreative Koalas to create targeted resilience interventions for their students in need.

When we take time to reflect we realise SDG 3 affects not only our students and teachers but all of us. Our good health and well-being underpins all we do in our lives, just as the SDG underpins the work of Action4Agriculture.

Read how more of our Archibull Prize schools are building resilience here

Apply to participate in The Archibull Prize 2022 here 

Apply to participate in Kreative Koalas 2022 here 

#sustainability #environmental #resilience #pandemic #bushfirerecovery


Changing the world might be easier than you think. The secrets to success


At Action4Agriculture ( formerly Picture you in Agriculture ) we see our programs as vehicles to provide opportunities for people and organisations to come together to give young people agency and voice and empower them to be changemakers.

Our role models are emerging leaders in the agriculture sector. We identify, train and develop them to be confident communicators and trusted voices.  We provide them with opportunities to multiply their impact by working with young people in schools and the community. We call them Young Farming Champions. They represent the diversity of people who work in the agriculture sector.

Their hands on journey begins by facilitating our school programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas 

Our schools and our Young Farming Champions have taken on the big hairy goals – the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or the SDGs for short

We are working with our schools to tackle the SDG targets Australia most needs to meet


We have all heard people say if changing the world was easy we would all be doing it. What we have found it is easy if WE believe it is and WE surround ourselves with enough people who share the vision and are committed to taking action and DO.

There is a formula.

  • Identify the outcome you want to achieve
  • Identify what success looks like
  • Start with a big idea – keep it as simple as possible
  • Identify the actors
  • Identify the actions the actors need to take
  • Identify the expertise you need to outsource
  • Identify the GO TO Person to access the experts
  • Design and Deliver your ACTION PLAN
  • Monitor, Evaluate, Report and Inform

We suggest you start with a basic understanding of psychology.

What makes people tick


and the theory of change 

Australia’s Guru of Changeology, Les Robinson, keeps it simple for us

You need to be prepared to experiment, collect data, report on that data and share it with others

Most importantly you need people who genuinely care and understand that it takes a village.

We are identifying people who really care and have the expertise to support our schools and Young Farming Champions.

We are big fans of the Collective Action for Collective Impact model

In 2020 we paired with OzHarvest FEAST to tackle Zero Hunger, Responsible Production and Consumption and Climate Change.

We partnered with Corteva Agriscience to build a library of resources for teachers and students

We partnered with Australian Wool Innovation. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services and Corteva Agriscience to identify, train and develop young agriculturalists

We partnered with  Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education, Changeologist Les Robinson, Science Communicator Jenni Metcalfe, 21st Century Learning Expert Josh Farr and John Holloway and the Murray Darling Basin Authority Education team to  deliver professional development workshops for teachers and students. These workshops were funded by NSW Local Land Services and NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment

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We partnered with the Geography Teachers Association of NSW and ACT to deliver professional development workshops to teachers

Over the next week we are very excited to share with you a series of blogs that showcase the changemakers we have worked with in our Kreative Koalas schools. All of the students and teachers we work with are committed to leaving a legacy  we can all be proud of.

We can all be changemakers, we just need to care enough and surround ourselves with people who care as much as we do.


Sneak Peek you can check out the #KreativeKoalaKids artworks here

#ConnectCollaborateCommunicate #EngageEmpower #CollectiveAction #CollectiveImpact