Future of our environment in students’ safe hands

IF previous generations took the environment for granted, our hopes appear to lie in the hands of a new wave of future leaders.

And many of them have gathered on the Sunshine Coast this week for a series of workshops focusing on ensuring we have a green future.

About 300 children from 22 schools across the Sunshine Coast are spending two days at the Sunshine Coast Kids in Action Conference.

Under the theme of Celebrating Catchment Connections, they are learning from each other through a series of activities including workshops and plays.

HOP TO IT: Children from Sunshine Beach Sate School participate in the 2015 Sunshine Coast Children in Action conference.
Sunshine Beach State School students participate in the 2015 Sunshine Coast Children in Action conference. John Mccutcheon

Event co-ordinator Michael Gilles said the event aimed to provide a voice for kids on conservation issues.

"It opens them up to a broad array of issues that they then learn about and teach each other," Mr Gilles said.

"It begins on the first day with displays and presentations to draw on their hearts and minds and then the second day is full of hands-on activities such as tree planting in the Maleny region."

Yesterday's first day at Lake Kawana Community Centre began with a performance by Sunshine Beach State School students, focusing on native frogs, the issues they face and what council is doing to preserve their habitat.

Sunshine Beach State School teacher Jane Lethlean said the students had developed the performance themselves.

"The teachers gave them the theme of 'frogs' and they created the storyline of native frogs in their environment, the introduction of cane toads and destruction of habitat," Ms Lethlean said.

"It is a message about what the council and indigenous community are doing to preserve the Sunshine Coast environment."

Sunshine Coast Council has partly funded the conference.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said it was clear that educating the younger generation was integral to achieving conservation outcomes for the region.

"Kids in Action strengthens partnerships between young people and their local communities to assist them in becoming the region's future environmental custodians and leaders," she said.

"Empowering children is at the core of the conference.

"Seeing the positive change other students have made on their environment and community shows delegates they, too, have the power to affect change.

The students, from Years 5 to 8 had been researching and working towards the event for months.

"We hope the students will go home, share these lessons with their parents, their friends and the rest of their schools."

Today the action moves to Maleny, where the students will learn about different habitats and participate in a hands-on restoration workshop.