OzGREEN runs programs which enable communities to become leaders of positive social change by connecting, engaging and equipping people with the tools they need to innovate sustainability solutions themselves.
We specialise in programs which enable youth as leaders for positive social change: Youth Leading the World; citizen science in caring for our rivers: MyRiver; revegatation and regeneration projects: Great Eastern Ranges and Stepping Stones. We also partner with a number of International grassroots organisations - East Timor Project; River Ganges Project (India); and Central America.
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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 as resumed growing. During the repairs we took stock - a lot- cleaning out the office and throwing out all the water damaged gear.
Bocosse - 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.
Pune - 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. There are 350 families in the region made up a collection of villages, where 3000 people have access to one tank for two hours a day.
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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MYRIVER & SAVE THE BELLINGER TURTLE
MYRiveR Bellinger 19-23 September is a whole river basin youth engagement and environmental education project for schools in the Bellingen Shire. The program enables young people to become citizen scientists, test the health of the environment, identify key environmental threats and values, develop their own vision and implement their own action plans to sustain the health of their local waterways. Funds raised from OzGREEN's SavetheTurtle crowd funding campaign will go towards this initiative.
Caring for our land, our river, our future
Field Work - 19 & 20 September
One day field work per school, conducting snapshot of ecosystem health (water quality testing, flow, biodiversity, and community attitude surveys)
Youth Congress - 21-22-23 September
Students analyse field data, identify ecological threats and values, develop a river vision and action plans.
Community Forum - 23 September
2-hour forum facilitated by students to report back the results of their investigations, vision and action plans and engage community support.
Bellingen Turtlefest - 1 October
Presentation by students at the Bellingen Turtle Festival to report back the results of their investigations, vision and action plans
Young people implement action plans with OzGREEN mentoring and support
Youth participation in real world science.
Youth voice and vision for the future of their river.
Innovative action plans developed to achieve this vision.
Strengthened youth capacity to measure, analyse, reflect, plan, vision and act.
Strengthened whole catchment thinking and links between schools and their communities.
Increased commitment to environmental stewardship and water conservation.
Increased active youth participation in the democratic process and civil society.
MyRiver Bellinger Background
MYRiveR Bellinger 2016 builds on previous work of OzGREEN and local schools in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The results of these MYRiveR projects were disturbing with:
75% of sites showing moderate to severe degradation of riparian zone
75% of sites showing high phosphate and low dissolved oxygen levels
In 2014 the young people involved were concerned about the health of their river, and organised the "Festival for Our Future" at Northbank Community Garden, to raise community awareness about riverhealth. We were delighted that nearly 500 people came to the event - clearly the people of Bello care about their river. They came to support local youth and listen to them. Six months later the turtle tragedy hit the Bellingen community like a hurricane.
OzGREEN's MyRiver Program Track Record
Since 2002, OzGREEN has involved over 60 regional communities and 6,000 young people in MYRiveR in the Brisbane, Bremer, Murray-Darling, Hunter, Cooks, Georges, Nepean, Onkaparinga, Yarra and Derwent River basins and internationally in India, East Timor, Pakistan and Central America.
The MYRiveR process builds collaborative relationships with indigenous leaders, business, government, non-government organisations, local communities, young people, schools and adults. Case studies from OzGREEN’s Australian and International programs, enable young people to gain first hand understanding of the global nature of local challenges.
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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.
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.