Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Education




Youth Community Greening

Helping youth to plant seeds for a greener future

Youth Community Greening is an environmental education program targeting disadvantaged urban & rural youth.

Why target youth?

Children (0-14 year olds) and young people (15-24 year olds) face many challenges for the future, including finding their identity in an uncertain and changing world. They experience peer group pressure and have to deal with social, employment and financial issues.

Young people are readily influenced by their environment and their personal development is shaped by their experiences with family, friends, school and community. They are also affected by their surroundings - the built and natural environment. Many young people today are growing up with few opportunities to connect with nature. This is where the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust can help. The Trust has a commitment to inspire the appreciation and conservation of plants and the environment. Through Youth Community Greening, experienced educators will help young people experience the joys of gardening, build their skill levels and become optimistic about the future.

Gardening gives pleasure. It nurtures the soul, calms the spirit, brings people together for a common cause and is a source of learning, creativity and health.

Building on a successful model

Youth Community Greening is the offspring of Community Greening - an educational partnership between the Trust and NSW Department of Housing. Since August 2000 Community Greening has developed 140 community gardening projects in public housing estates or on unused public land and has provided over 15,000 face-to-face encounters for training, learning and special events. Twenty-six community gardens in schools and 22 school garden clubs have also been established.

Over the years the Trust's Community Education Unit has also developed and delivered other youth-targeted programs such as Arbor Day plantings in selected schools and a regional touring program called 'RBG Goes West'.

The time is right to consolidate and expand the above initiatives into a unified program with long-term outcomes similar to Community Greening.

Youth Community Greening will provide funding for a Trust educational horticulturist (with a dedicated vehicle and adequate program costs) to give time and special attention to improving the lives of young people in NSW through the benefits of gardening.

What we plan to achieve in the next four years

Foster school garden clubs

Youth Community Greening will identify for special attention the youth previously involved in gardening projects with Community Greening and give them ongoing training and learning opportunities that they wouldn't receive otherwise. Our aim is to introduce 50 schools into this program over the next four years.

Create Arbor Day gardens

The Trust has traditionally helped local needy schools to develop 'learnscapes' on Arbor Day. The 2007 celebration was at Willmot Public School. Youth Community Greening will enable this program to continue and grow. We aim to revisit all schools already assisted and add three new Arbor Day garden projects annually.

Support the Sustainable School Program

The NSW Department of Education encourages schools to maintain sustainable school environments and to encourage students to model this behaviour in the community. Youth Community Greening takes this one step further by assisting those communities with the greatest need, especially in rural NSW. The school curriculum will come alive for disadvantaged youth and empower them to change their world.

Resurrect 'RBG Goes West'

As far back as 1982 the Trust provided on-site environmental education, horticultural advice and practical assistance to schools and communities in the western area of NSW. With funding through Youth Community Greening, we will be able to visit up to 10 isolated schools and communities annually on a two-week 'RBG Goes West' tour.

Our Goals - the Youth Community Greening program will

  • assist the most needy young people in society
  • build self-esteem and youth resilience
  • create opportunities for young people to connect with nature
  • increase youth ownership of public spaces
  • develop gardening skills and enhance employment opportunities
  • green the urban environment and promote sustainable lifestyles

For more information contact Relle Mott on 9231 8068.

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Youth Community Greening is only possible with your support.