Environmental educators meet on learned ground
The NSW EPA was proud to promote best practice in environmental education at the Australian Association for Environmental Education NSW conference in October.
The ‘Fiver for a Farmer’ and Return and Earn champ Jack Berne and his sister at the EPA stand
The ActiveNature conference drew 150 teachers and delegates from around Australia to share ideas and resources on community engagement, curriculum choices and paths of action.
The EPA’s partner programs Love Food Hate Waste and Return and Earn were popular on the stands.
Organics Project Officer Sarah Chen said the Love Food Hate Waste team has just finished piloting their Food Smart School Resource on learning, measuring and adopting solutions to reduce food waste. She was pleased to share the lesson plans with many teachers and other educators.
“The lesson plans for Year 1 to Year 8 classes are mapped against NSW syllabus outcomes and include classroom and take-home activities across many key learning areas including science, maths, English, history and geography,” Sarah said.
Community Engagement Manager for Exchange for Change Marta Scuccuglia fielded a strong interest in Return and Earn’s litter reduction success as well as its capacity to raise money for schools.
“Return and Earn has been a phenomenal success collecting more than 2billion containers for recycling,” Marta enthused.
Workshops and Costa's tips
Hands-on workshops over the three-day conference included models for behaviour change by Monash University’s Behaviour Works researcher Mark Boulet, and a dynamic panel session on integrating citizenship into our education programs led by ABC presenter and gardening guru Costa Georgiadis, who is also the patron of the NSW Association.
Costa made an off-the-cuff ‘story-time’ appearance on the last day with his tips on educating young children by showing them the importance of caring for their environment.
Costa said that it’s up to us as adults to set the best example we can because children “are watching and listening to us all the time”.
Inspiring presentations by young people included 16-year-old Nosrat Fareha on her role with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and 11-year-old Jack Berne who started the ‘A Fiver for a Farmer’ drought relief campaign. Jack’s initiative encourages schools to hold ‘dress as a farmer gold-coin donation days’ and has already raised $1.7 million. He is now using the Return and Earn program in his school to help boost the fund.
Conference organiser Melissa Sellen from the Association said this year’s conference has helped to play a critical role in equipping educators to support and engage our community in active citizenship for and in our environment.
Find out more
- Love Food Hate Waste Food Smart program
- Return and Earn
- Australian Association of Environment Education NSW
- LeadSmart Program for Schools