Welcome to the blog for the Tweed Young Environmental Leaders Program 2019! What an exciting opportunity for these intrepid young leaders.
This is an incredible opportunity funded by the Tweed Shire Council, for young leaders to learn, share and connect with other Year 10 students in the Tweed who share a passion for environmental sustainability. This program is being facilitated by the wonderful Chelsea Moore and inspirational Kevin Neff, two of Outward Bound Australia’s finest facilitators. Along the way the group will learn from Tweed Shire Council experts in all things sustainability. Lindsifarne Science Teacher Dan Robbins has also volunteered his time and knowledge to the group for the experience.
The program is designed to inspire, build confidence and communication skills in participants and to assist them to lead the design and implementation of an environmental action to improve their school’s green credentials. Example projects could be: a campaign to minimise landfill waste, an energy or water saving initiative, a campaign to encourage active travel, organising a teen
clothes swap, tree planting or regenerating a garden or a community campaign to stop domestic animals killing wildlife.
Follow along here with their journey through some of the incredible green spaces of our patch here in the Tweed Valley as they disconnect from the outside world to reconnect with themselves, each other and the environment.
Students were abuzz as they met in Murwillumbah this morning. By the end of the bus ride the group was already coming together. A common uniting interest was proving to bond this conglomerate of young people into a well performing team.
Upon arrival at our Northern NSW Base-camp, by the base of Wollumbin, the group were met by Rob Appo – Tweed Community Development Officer. Rob gave an acknowledgment to country, highlighting the cultural significance of this area and the important work which has gone into Wollumbin National Park and the many other sites in it’s vicinity.
The group then set to work getting to know each-other deeper, forging connections, having fun and beginning to be challenged by a number of initiatives on site. After packing their bags and having lunch the group were finally ready to head off into the great unknown to find their campsite for the evening. As if on cue, as the group shouldered their bags, the clouds finally broke and the rain began to fall.
Check in tomorrow to find out how their first taste of navigation, hiking and camp set up goes…
Day 1 edit cont…
The rains came in harder than the group was expecting, a big shout out to the first leaders Matilda, Kika and Ethan, who took the reins and made the decision the group would seek shelter and wait out the storm. This time was fortuitous as it gave the opportunity for the first Tweed Shire Council Representative to share her fonts of knowledge. Tarra is a Waste Education Officer at Council and ran a session about waste management. She spoke about the highs and lows of implementing a project and the wins she had by bringing in the green lidded bins for Tweed. She used the current troubles she is facing with Recycling bins in the tweed to highlight tackling setbacks and pursuing goals.
The clouds finally broke and the group were able to continue their hike. They made their way to the first high impact activity the “Giant Ladder”. To conquer the Giant Ladder pairs must work together to scale the huge rungs. As they climb higher the challenge increases and the pairs are forced to use each other to continue.
The group used this session to further explore the idea of Goal Setting in particular relation for the environmental action they plan to enact in the Tweed Community. Students wrote on the back of their hands an idea they wanted to work towards with their environmental action and used this as motivation as they climbed.
The group continued to navigate to Kunghurloo Dam were there next challenge awaited – raft building. Continuing with the themes of goal setting and project management and planning, the groups were given a pile of logs, ropes and barrels and needed to create 2 rafts to carry the team. Both rafts not only floated (trust me this is a win) but were successfully piloted across the dam (this is very rare!)
The group is bonding really well, Patrick is being great with the rubbish and learning a lot from Scott. Scott is a Biodiversity Officer at Council and tonight is going to run a session with bird calls and bluetooth speakers?! Check in tomorrow to find out what that’s all about.
Last night the students thoroughly enjoyed scotts session, Scott played bird calls and taught the students to identify the species calling back. During the night the group was set the challenge of keeping the fire going till morning. They split into shifts and organised themselves to rotate and look after the fire.
Scots session meant that the noises of the night which would have previously been background noise, was now a chorus of sounds which the students could identify. They discovered Koalas near by and many other bird species. During the night the student’s came up with their version of how Outward Bound started. (read for yourself in the photos)
This morning the group awoke successfully completing the challenge with the fire still smoldering away. Scott tagged out with the final Tweed Council Rep – Deb Firestone. Deb is the brainchild and driving force behind this entire program and is Sustainability Program Leader at TSC.
The group again packed down camp and set off on foot to the next challenge -“Big Ben”. This was reported my the majority of the students as the highlight of the week. Big Ben is a huuuuge Hoop Pine, the group gets tied together and must scale this tree as one. The group made record time up the tree, showing off their new found skills in communication, project management and teamwork.
The group also got the pleasant surprise of meeting Eric Bollen today. Eric is from the Centre for Sustainable Leadership and met the group to introduce an exciting new opportunity to continue the learnings of this program in further workshops provided by CSL.
The group finally returned to base camp and wrapped up their experience in an incredible final debrief. The level of introspection, reflection and maturity in this group was astounding. Moving forward each member will enact a environmental action in their school and community. We are excited to support this process and together with CSL’s workshops we are confident these students will make a resounding impact in our incredible patch of the Tweed and beyond.