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Youth Community Greening

Youth Community Greening is an environmental education program targeting disadvantaged urban and regional youth from preschool to young adults across NSW.

For ten years, Youth Community Greening (YCG) has operated as the offspring of Community Greening which was established in 1999. Educators help youth and teachers connect with the natural environment and experience the joys of being outdoors and gardening.

Youth Community Greening (YCG) commenced in 2008 and is an environmental outreach education program targeting disadvantaged youth from birth to 25 years across the State. YCG is a partnership between the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Bloomberg, Eucalypt Australia, John T Reid Charitable Trust and the Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens.

YCG delivers the program while corporate and philanthropic support provides funding, input into strategic development, plants and products. The program inspires the appreciation and conservation of plants and the environment. Educators help youth, teachers and community connect with the natural environment and experience the joys of being outdoors and gardening.

YCG assists disadvantaged preschools, schools, migrant youth groups, Youth off the Streets, Juvenile Justice Centres, and young people with disabilities through helping create productive school and community gardens and green landscapes. The program also delivers syllabus-linked environmental classroom and outdoor activities at schools and centres across NSW.

Visits to our city from Youth Community Greening encourage community groups and education centres to talk to each other, support each other and share information. This builds on existing social capital and increases social capacity

Youth Community Greening Volunteer

Outcomes include:

  • Building self-esteem and resilience in vulnerable youth
  • Create opportunities for young people to connect with nature
  • Increase youth ownership of public places
  • Educate young people about healthy lifestyle choices
  • Provide and develop gardening skills and enhance employment opportunities
  • Green the urban environment and promote sustainable lifestyles
  • Promote sustainability through garden programs in schools and youth centres
  • Provide training opportunities for staff involved with disadvantaged youth

We are so grateful for the wonderful workshops, training and information that Peter Dawe has imparted to teachers and students from the local Belmore Schools. These valuable workshops were empowering and community building.

Belmore School Teacher

Why target youth

Children (0-14 year olds) and young people (15-25 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. 

Children have a natural affinity towards nature. Dirt, water, plants, and small animals attract and hold children’s attention for hours, days, even a lifetime. The Youth Community Program gives young people the opportunity to experience this natural affinity which is too often lacking in this day.

With the help of John T Reid Charitable Trusts', Youth Community Greening has established 'Habitat Gardens' in rural areas across New South Wales. A summary of those gardens can be downloaded as an iBook for free here.

The annual report can be viewed here and follow us on Twitter for the latest YCG news. 

Meet the Youth Community Greening team below

Peter Dawe has been the Youth Community Greening Coordinator for the Royal Botanic Gardens for the last four years and has been delivering environmental education to students and communities for the last 30 years. This experience combined with a Masters of Environmental Management, Bachelor of Education and Diploma of Sustainability provide him with the expertise, knowledge and passion to deliver such an important message and program.

Elizabeth Docking is passionate about her work in Community Greening and attempts to combine her years of experience in horticulture, varied industry experiences and personal interests to provide opportunities for Community Greening clients that are valued and special. Elizabeth considers herself fortunate to be employed in a position that allows her to be an advocate for the areas in life that she is most passionate: gardening, education, community building and assisting others to reach their potential. A testament to how fulfilling she finds this role is reaching a 10 year milestone in the position this month.

Brenden Moore has qualifications in horticulture, Aboriginal Studies as well as Community and Social Development. Through his skills and experience he inspires NSW Housing tenants to establish kitchen and display gardens, works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities such as the Thurawal Aboriginal Corporation in Western Sydney, Juvenile Justice Centres and schools to reconnect with nature and the environment, learn about native plants, bush regeneration, gardening, health and wellbeing.

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