Do you know a young person who is passionate about the environment and wants to make a difference while developing their skills and having heaps of fun? Then the Youth Environment Council of South Australia (YEC) might be just the thing for them.
It’s a yearly program that provides students in years 7 to 11 with a community of like-minded peers and supportive mentors, to help them develop leadership skills in their homes, schools, and communities, while working toward their own sustainability projects.
The program is run by Green Adelaide’s Education Team and proudly supported by the Department for Education, along with in-kind support from regional Landscape Board staff.
Last year, the YEC’s 60 members represented 40 schools across Adelaide, the southeast, Fleurieu Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, and the Riverland. Seven students who were involved in previous years were selected to be mentors.
Participants got involved in a range of diverse environmental actions, which last year included:
Sound interesting? Read on to see what last year’s program entailed and how to get involved this year.
The first event of the year was a Welcome Day at Belair National Park in April. Members enjoyed being in nature, sharing their experiences and learning from mentors and previous YEC members about projects that created positive environmental change.
The annual YEC Leadership Camp took at Arbury Park Outdoor School in the Adelaide Hills.
Members built their leadership skills and environmental knowledge, linked their learning to real-world practice, and developed plans for their own environmental projects that they would be focusing on for the remainder of the year.
For the next 6 months, YEC members worked hard to research their ideas for change and turn them into action.
Monthly online meetings kept members connected to give updates on their projects, provide advice to each other and hear from guest speakers.
Several members took up additional leadership opportunities over the year, including contributing to a YEC submission for an SA Water consultation on investment and management of water resources, presenting to the City of Burnside Youth Forum, sharing their projects at Green Adelaide events, and attending the Power Shift conference in Brisbane with young people from around Australia – including a past YEC member who helped organize the conference.
The final event of the year was the sharing and celebration forum in Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
Activities included nature journaling, a botanical treasure hunt, making seed bombs and investigating bird behaviour, learning about and trying Aboriginal art, and hearing about the personal journeys of past YEC members – some that dated back to the late 1990s.
It closed with a showcase of the members’ individual and group projects to their peers, family members, school staff and VIPs. Here are just a few of the inspiring projects in more detail:
Applications are now open for the Youth Environment Council’s 2023 program.
Applications are open to South Australian students in year 7-11 who can get permission from a parent or guardian, be endorsed by a teacher or principal, and uphold the expectations of being a YEC member.
Want to build leadership skills with a fun environmental project? Don’t wait! Find out more and apply on the YEC SA application page.