OzGREEN programs connect youth with communities to become leaders of innovative sustainable social change

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OZGREEN NEWS

finalistgreenglobe-award.jpgFINALIST SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION 2016

Sue pictured, with son Rowan and Husband and OzGREEN Co-founder Colin, as she picked up her 'Finalist Sustainability Champion 2016' award at the recent Green Globe Awards ceremony in Sydney.

 

unesco.jpegBreaking News

It has just been announced that OzGREEN's Youth Leading the World Program is a finalist in the UNESCO WENHUI Award 2016, and received a Special Commendation.

  • bigdraft-2-frontSMALL.pngYLTW GLOBAL VISION IN 2017

    ITS TIME FOR CHANGE - JOIN US!

    Between 1-7 June 2017, Youth Leading the World (YLTW) congresses will run simultaneously in hundreds of locations across Australia and globally.

    "Imagine thousands of young people coming together to tackle sustainability challenges and lead positive social change."

    WHAT IS YOUTH LEADING THE WORLD?

    Youth Leading the World (YLTW) trains and supports local people to run the program in their own region. A two-day Facilitator Training Course can be attended in person, or online for interstate and international participants. The course teaches all the skills and techniques to prepare people for organising a congress.

    Learn all about Youth Leading the WorldnGlobal Vision 2017 and how you can get involved here

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    MyRiver Bellinger September 2016 HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS

    OzGREEN worked with an dynamic group of young people from Bellingen to investigate river health. 

    OzGREEN jumped into action as soon as it became evident that the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle was dangerously close to becoming extinct.  OzGREEN launched a CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN ON CHUFFED.ORG with its aim to support Community Involvement and Action, involving Bellingen Schools and Community in citizen science, learning and on-ground action to protect the turtles and restore river health.


    MyRiver Program

    The first initiative in this Community Involvement and Action Plan was to run an OzGREEN 'MyRiver Program' which ran between 19-21 September 2016 and engaged 30 young people from local high schools in water testing and analysis and enabled them to present their findings at a Community Forum.

    MyRiver Bellinger was hugely successful with these young participants coming up with an amazing Action Plan to produce and promote specially designed "Turtles are Keepers" KeepCups to distribute around the cafes of Bellingen and further afield seeking to raise funds for this cause and discourage the use of disposable cups and single-use plastic.


    However there is so much more work to be done and OzGREEN are appealing to you members of the community, young people, parents, teachers, businesses, politicians and just to those of you who care to MAKE A DONATION TO THIS APPEAL so we can continue this important work and direct these funds towards education programs, research projects and on-ground action.


    Here is an outline of the MyRiver Bellinger program and its outcomes:

    The aim of the OzGREEN MyRiver Bellinger Program was to learn about and help the local environment and raise awareness of global and local sustainability issues i.e. the health of the Bellinger River and the plight of the Bellinger River Snapping Turtles.

    What we did

    • Tested 8 sites on Bellinger River upstream of Lavenders Bridge 19-20 September. Testing involved a 14-point assessment of riparian zone and testing for dissolved oxygen, oxygen saturation, temperature, phosphates, pH, turbidity, fecal coliform (that’s 168 tests!)
    • Met together at Youth Hub for 3 days to analyse our results, measure our Eco-footprints, learn about global challenges like climate change, decide on the issues of most importance to us and plan what we were going to do to create change.

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    Who was involved?

    • About 30 teenagers from Bellingen High School and Chrysalis Steiner School.
    • Geography Teacher Andy Core from Bellingen High School was with us for the whole week too.
    • The OzGREEN team: Sue Lennox, Colin Lennox, Jane Grant, Gemma Plesman and Sharna Russell.

    What were you most concerned about?

    We were all disturbed to see dissovled oxygen levels were so low and degraded riparian habitat. Overall our biggest concerns were:

    Local Concerns

    • Pollution of the river by fertilisers and sewage
    • Habitat loss and land clearing - erosion and sedimentation
    • Human behaviour and ignorance

    Global Concerns

    • Loss of biodiversity (including species extinction, overfishing, deforestation, shark culling)
    • Global warming (including CSG, impact of fossil fuels, need for a rapid transition to renewables, ice retreating)
    • Lack of government leadership (including fear about Donald Trump)

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    What’s Next?

    We wanted to find a solution that other people can get involved in.

    • We wanted to do something that helps shift people away from mindless behaviours like using take-away cups, and start to be more conscious about the impact of our everyday actions.
    • This lead us to the idea of the “Turtles are Keepers” reusable cups. We can both raise funds to support further research, education and action as well as raise awareness.
    • A meeting has been planned to decide the next steps and prepare for our involvement in the Bellingen Turtlefestival 30th September. 

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    We want to conduct follow up testing including:

    • Follow up 14-hour monitoring of dissolved oxygen at Lavenders Bridge. DO levels were very low.
    • Follow up testing of total phosphorous, biochemical oxygen demand and macro-invertebrate studies.
    • Post rain event testing of key sites.
    • Repeating the river health snapshot on a quarterly basis.

    We plan to get involved in on-ground actions to regenerate the riparian zone of the river and research the best ways to create turtle breeding habitat.

    On Friday we ran a Community Forum for the public to report on our results, our plans and our experience.

    We had some wonderful guest speakers including:

    • Local Gumbaynggirr Elder Uncle Michael
    • Gerry Mcgilvray and Shane Ruming from Office of Environment and Heritage to talk about the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle 
    • Alex Waldron from Bellingen Shire Council to talk about the BSC River Management Plan

    Feedback from Participants on the Program 

    What was the experience like?

    "It has been both shocking and eye-opening to learn about sustainability challenges locally and globally. It has also been exciting to learn how we can help the world and encourage others to help. It has been great learning about these issues as a group and planning activities together in a supportive way."

    What did you discover?

    "As the younger generation we have discovered that people have been unconscious of the impacts of their actions in the past. 
    We discovered and were concerned particularly by the low oxygen levels in the river. Because the turtle’s breath underwater out of their rectum we wondered if that would affect them."

    What do you want to do when you’re older?

    "We are inspired to continue protecting our local environment and perhaps one day become scientists and activists."

    What did you know about the Bellingen River prior to this?

    "Being on the river was sad because although we spend a lot of time on the river we were alarmed to learn what was actually going on with the health of the river. We have all grown up swimming and canoeing by the river but did not know about the health."

    How people can help?

    "You can help reduce your eco-footprint and support the project to save the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle by buying a “Turtles are Keepers” reusable cup and donating to our crowd funding campaign on chuffed."

    Donate here:  savetheturtle Chuffed.Org Appeal  & follow us on Facebook: Save the Bellinger River Turtle

     

    And finally, when you Donate to this Fund this is what you get!

    The knowledge that your efforts have saved this endearing little guy from extinction.

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    Switch Your Super

    The world is rapidly running out of time to act on climate change. According to a recent report by the Climate Institute Australia could burn through its "fair share" of carbon within six years.

    At the 2015 Paris climate talks, 195 nations agreed to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, effectively giving the world an extremely limited carbon budget to operate within. Australia is clearly not on track to meet that target.

    OzGREEN are delighted to announce that we have partnered with Future Super, Australia’s first fossil fuel free and carbon neutral super fund, to help our members to further reduce their carbon footprint!

    Australians collectively have $2 trillion in their super funds. Shockingly, most super funds invest your money in harmful, heavily polluting industries like coal, oil and gas.

    There’s something you can do to fix that.

    Learn more

    There’s huge potential to use our super money to not only build wealth for retirement, but create a better world. Future Super does just that.

    Future Super are providing strong returns for members, while funding activities that are making a positive impact for our environment and our community.

    Future Super is Australia’s first super fund to be 100% fossil fuel free.

    Help work for a safe climate by going fossil fuel free: switch.myfuturesuper.com.au

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    EAST TIMOR PROJECT

    Update on recent storm damage to our office

    Good News - the house and office have been repaired! The tree that fell down and caused all the damage is thriving and has resumed growing. During the repairs we took stock - a lot- cleaning out the office and throwing out all the water damaged gear.


    news-et-2.jpgBocosse - Village Work

    We now have four very smart painted and, most importantly, clean wells in the village. The villagers had a wonderful time doing the work. Another four wells are waiting to be done. 12 existing bio sand filtration units have been repaired and we are in the process of providing another 7 to new families in the village. Very exciting project has seen a pump pipes and hoses added so the villagers are busy preparing a Community garden.


    news-et-3.jpgPune - Village Work

    Beginning of new and important work at this remote village at the end of the worst road in East Timor. The challenge here is the lack of water. The region is made up of a collection of villages housing 350 families, where 3000 people have access to one tank for two hours a day.

     


    news-et-5.jpgGreen Games

    The great news here is that plans are underway to hold the games in Pune, with the assistance and support of a local NGO. Teams are coming from the sub-district of Oesilo and everyone is excited aboutt the games. So far 32 teams have registered

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    YLTW SUCCESS STORY

    Kate Field awarded Katrina Dawson Foundation Scholarship

    Congratulations to Youth Leading the World (YLTW) Facilitator and OzGREEN Ambassador, Kate Field, who is one of three inaugural recipients of the Katrina Dawson Foundation scholarships, set up by the family of Sydney Siege victim Katrina Dawson.

    “Winning the scholarship is a once in a life time opportunity to gain an education at a world class institution.” Kate said, “It is empowering to be surrounded by such like-minded and motivated women.”

    Kate attributes much of her success to the first YLTW congress she attended in her home town in Muswellbrook in 2013.

    “Attending my first congress sparked a huge change in my life. I became more conscious of community and more conscious of the world.” She said. “I really feel that I have my experience with YLTW to thank for my scholarship and also in helping me to decide on what I wanted to study.” Kate is studying a Bachelor of Architecture and Environments. “Had I not gone to YLTW, I probably would not have chosen this degree. After the 2013 YLTW congress, I knew I wanted to work to improve the environment for the rest of my life.”

    Following Kate’s first congress, she became involved in the YLTW regional group which gave her the opportunity to attend the national congress later in the year which she found “amazing”. Kate also became involved in the OzGreen regeneration project for which she gave an impressive speech on behalf of OzGreen at the 2014 World Parks Congress.

    Kate has been a Lions Youth of the Year State contender for 2 years running. She attributes much of her success in public speaking to her experience with YLTW.

    “YLTW improves your interpersonal skills so much. It builds confidence, public speaking skills and makes you much more aware and more sensitive to people.” Kate said.“It provides a fantastic environment, giving young people the confidence to go out and speak to people, politicians and schools, to make real changes!”

    Kate summarised the important role she feels that YLTW has the potential to play in young people’s lives.

    In Year 9 or 10, most kids don’t know where they are heading and high school feels like it will go on forever. YLTW can help to provide direction and empower young people. As part of YLTW, teenagers are treated as young adults that can actually make a difference in the world. You realise you are not a child anymore and can really do something in your school, your community and your environment. YLTW was instrumental in helping me to become a leader. We all stepped up and grew into ourselves and became more confident.

    Kate is an inspiration to other young people getting involved in YLTW and is well deserving of her success.

    Read more about Kate's award from Sydney Morning Herald and from Newcastle Herald article

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    GREAT EASTERN RANGES 

    Regent Honeyeater Restoration Project

    John Holland Rail, on behalf of Transport for NSW, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the Hunter Valley Partnership of the Great Eastern Ranges formed a partnership to deliver a Regent Honeyeater Restoration Project along the disused rail corridor from Merriwa to Sandy Hollow. This unique partnership aims to improve community education about native wildlife and restore habitat connectivity by increasing biodiversity within non-operational rail corridors.

    The project, funded by Transport for NSW, commenced with a one-day workshop with children from Merriwa Central and Sandy Hollow primary schools.  The workshop aimed to develop an understanding of locally occurring threatened species and to create a sense of stewardship among children for the protection of their local environment. Educational activities were warmly received by the students and included bird surveys, seed identification and planting trees in the school grounds. A visit from the Taronga Zoomobile allowed students to get up close and personal with native fauna including an echidna, ring tailed possum, frogs and a shingleback lizard. As part of the workshop children had the opportunity to work on environmental action plans to present back to their school, families and community. 

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    The project concluded with a tree-planting day at a two hectare site along the disused rail corridor at Gungal. Restoration works involved planting 2100 grassy box woodland plant species which aims to improve habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater, a nomadic visitor to the region as well as many other native plants and animals. The site is situated between the Goulburn River National Park and the Manobalai Nature Reserve and will create a ‘stepping-stone’ across the landscape, improving movement corridors for wildlife.

    The Hunter region is ecologically unique due to a natural gap in the Great Eastern Ranges making it one of only three areas on the eastern seaboard of Australia where inland ecosystems extend to the coast. As such, movement corridors between the east and west are important as well as those to the north and south along the Great Eastern Ranges Corridor.

    The partnership hopes to deliver further restoration projects of a similar nature in the future and will continue to engage new schools and the wider community in the process.

     

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