Interning at Millennium Kids and working on the Green Lab project has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Through my time at Green Lab, Millennium Kids has opened my eyes to the real and severe environmental problems prevalent in our community today. When tackling the issue of loss of tree canopy and bushland , we must understand that our fight against the effects of climate change begins with listening to the voices and ideas of young people.

Working alongside the Millennium Kids Youth Board members has exposed me to this organisations devotion to educating and inspiring the next generation of leaders.

My main role was contributing to Green Lab film production, by assisting with research, planning and idea generating. For the film, I worked alongside the team from Media on Mars, conducting interviews with local teachers and Millennium Kids members to reflect on how Green Lab has supported their ideas and passions.

During my time on the  Green Lab project, I was also involved in community engagement events, where we successfully hosted two educational learning days with children and teachers. After conducting a full day of interactive activities,  children were encouraged to understand the importance of caring for the environment and also form a personal connection with nature. I had the privilege of witnessing the passion and drive that young people have towards protecting nature as well as their innovative ideas and visions for their future.

Furthermore, a teacher’s professional learning day was conducted to provide a platform for teachers to voice environmental concerns within their school and work collectively to develop solutions.

Working with Green Lab team has been an invaluable experience that has taught me various transferable skills such as: project planning, lateral thinking and effective time management that will surely aid me in my life moving on from Millennium Kids.

Millennium Kids will use the Green Lab film to promote their work as part of a #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge,  an Uplink World Economic Forum, Top14 Innovators program in the UN Decade of Ecosystems Restoration.

Alison Stokes, McCusker Centre for Citizenship Intern 2022

My name is Isabella Poll.

I am the Millennium Kids Youth Board Co-President and recently I had the opportunity to present to the South West Group of local government leaders about young people, climate change and the youth-led deliberative engagement process we have been working on.

At the forum I got Local Government leaders to do a futures thinking activity, close their eyes and imagine what they want their homes to look like in 2050. They imagined the nature around their house, what will be on the news, and, the industries their children will be working in. They then moved onto how they want their local government to be operating. They imagined their areas’ climate resilience, energy sources and urban canopy.

It was great having attendees think about their personal lives first. This is what they are close to, have ownership over and are passionate about. By relating personal life to work life I encouraged the group to feel a sense of responsibility to take climate action in their workplace.

I am fortunate to have grown up in Perth, in a community with incredible natural beauty, opportunities and friendships, but I know this is not what it is like for everyone. And for our special places to stay this beautiful we need to care for them and treat them with the love they need.

When I was 10 travelled to Surabaya, Indonesia to run an environmental education program with Millennium Kids. Here, I was shocked at the level of pollution. It lined the streets. It was in the waterways. People were bathing in the river’s of filthy water. This showed me how lucky I was to live in the beautiful environment I do.

In Indonesia I also saw something special in the chaos. I met kids who were so passionate about improving their community. They were working with organisations and coming up with innovative and creative ways to educate their communities about waste management and the importance of caring for our beautiful environment. We have passionate and committed individuals like this in our communities, too. Just look at the school strike for climate protests, initiatives in schools and small businesses taking action. We just need to talk to each other, share our ideas and work together to preserve our environment and achieve our climate goals.

So, since 2019, I have been working with a group of young leaders and expert advisors to develop a method for young people to share their ideas, come up with solutions and action them. We have been running one-day deliberations, or forums, across WA, which involve activities to get random samples with young people to look at critical issues, deliberate, discuss issues, reflect on their actions and design projects and pathways to better their local environment – all whilst having fun of course AND eating chocolate!

We have reviewed our processes, and, after trialling them it in Karratha, Mandurah, Bunbury and Mundaring in 2021 we are ready to roll.

In 2022, we are seeking funding to run youth-led deliberations across the state with our team of facilitators.

  • We have rights to Damon Gameau’s new film, Regenerating Australia, to inspire Year 9 – 10 students to get thinking about positive climate actions.
  • Schools will be encouraged to check out the Year 9 – 10  curriculum with Cool Australia.These resources are comprehensive, engaging, positive, hopeful and uplifting.
  • You can get involved! Book into a Millennium Kids Climate Change Deliberation with 30 students and create your local action plan.
  • Help us create a State Action Plan in October 2022 to present to decision-makers.

We believe:

  • Through youth and community engagement, individuals can voice their ideas in a non-polarising way, unlike protests.
  • Communities are educated about climate change and the environment around them
  • Young people and community members are empowered because they are listened to and involved in a way, which motivates them to make their ideas real, and take action.

To make this happen we are sharing our ideas globally.

Check out my Ted talk  and get inspired.

 

We are super keen for Councils to get on board and help us with this process. Email at bellap@milleniumkids.com.au and together let’s create the change we all want to see!

I attended two Green Labs during the April school holidays with indigenous artist, Marli.

Green Lab Kids Explore

Monday, 11/4/2022 at Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre Education Centre. This Green Lab program was funded by the City of Melville and supported by Propel Youth Arts WA for the KickstART Festival Youth Week WA. We started the event with a nature walk. We found trees that needed one, two or three people to stretch around the trunk in a hug. We all received eco journals to draw pictures or write in. When we returned from the walk, we each decided what we’d like to paint to represent our vision for 2050. We sketched our designs on canvases and began painting our vision canvases. Marli will take all our ideas and create one vision 2050 painting. We cant wait to see it.

Vic Park’s Green Future Workshop – Green Lab For Kids

This was on 12/4/2022 at the Community Centre on Etwell Street funded by the Town of Victoria Park. At this event a group of young people met and started with a nature walk with eco journals in Jirdarup Bushland (also known as Kensington Bushland), then we formed a circle and closed our eyes, envisioning what we’d like to see in 2050. We explored the bushland and wrote poetry then we painted canvases to represent our visions. Marli will take these ideas and create a vision 2050 painting for the Town of Victoria Park.

We look forward to bringing all the young people back together to see the finished paintings and celebrate our future visions., sharing our ideas with Council members.

Report written by Niamh, MK Youth Board Member

To find out more about Green Lab check out our website here.

Green Lab, a Millennium Kids Citizen Science program, is funded by the Western Australian Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program. Millennium Kids works in collaboration with Sustainable Schools WA to support schools sustainability goals.

 

We love it when we can help out university students, so when Ruby rang from Curtin University we were happy to help her out for her interview assignment. Here is how she shared our story in her ‘radio’ interview.

A Perth environmental youth organisation says the WA Tree Festival will increase awareness about neighbourhood trees. The Festival runs through April and offers a variety of events in the community for all ages. The event aims to increase awareness about urban trees and future consequences of tree canopy reduction. Catrina Aniere is from Green Lab by Millennium Kids Inc – which will be running activities at the event.

Catrina says the Festival will be a conversation starter for Perth’s environmental issues. “And really what the WA Free Festival is doing is shining a light on trees and caring about them, but also understanding that there have been major impacts with recent hot weather – we’ve lost trees due to drought and to different planning rules, road rules and this (WA Tree Festival) is a great conversation starter”

 

Thanks Ruby! Your rock.

Our Youth Board member, Hannah, has been busy researching the status of Little Penguins on Penguin Island, Western Australia, since her family visit there in 2021. Concerned about what she heard around the impacts of climate change on the penguins Hannah decided to do some research of her own. She met with scientists and stakeholders to find out the story of the Little Penguins. Her research was recently published in the WA Coastal and Marine Network newsletter. Here is Hannah’s story. 

 

A group of Millennium Kids (MK) families met at Harold Rossiter Park, Kensington last Sunday for our monthly  MK Lab. It was very hot in the sun, about 35 degrees celsius.

The Friends of Jirdarup Bushland had a petition to save the Black Cockatoos at the start of the limestone path that does a loop through Jirdarup bushland. Most of our group signed this petition to help the birds.

We all enjoyed a bush walk through this area until 12pm. While we were walking we collected rubbish, pulled up weeds, spotted the odd bird (bird spotting is better done early or late in the day) and we identified some of the plants. We saw Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, New Holland Honeyeaters, Singing Honeyeaters, Swallows and Ravens. Cat told stories about the lemonade tree and the toilet bush. The flowers of Banksia attenuata (candlestick banksia) can be soaked in water to make a sweet drink that tastes like lemonade. In the past Adenanthos cygnorum (wooly bush) was used as toilet paper.

At the end of the walk, we sat under the trees and talked about what we were going to do at the next MK lab on 20 March 2022. The shade was a welcome reprieve from the sun on the walk. We had lunch in the shade here together.

The next venue was Perron Place in Victoria Park, a short drive away. We car-pooled to save energy. At Perron Place there was a theatrette inside. We sat in here and talked about indigenous acknowledgements at Millennium Kids events including workshops and talks.

One issue that is topical at the moment is the plight of the penguins on Penguin Island. We all made origami penguins and discussed this situation. We wrote messages to Reece Whitby, the Environment Minister, about the penguins.

Nick from the Friends of Lake Claremont arrived and and shared some exciting news. They are reintroducing 30 Quendas into Lake Claremont bushland. We had the opportunity to ask lots of questions about this.

Next on the agenda was a painting workshop. I talked about my Green Lab Postcard Project with the group. I showed everyone how to do the grid transfer method to transfer a picture and make it a different size. People chose different postcards to work from. I helped guide participants with their drawings and painting. This was a nice way to end another Millennium Kids Lab.

Patrick
25/02/2022

Loss of trees and an increase in the temperature of urban areas is concerning the youth of Kalamunda. Significant areas of trees are on school grounds so it is important that trees and bushlands on schools are protected.

Teachers from six primary and secondary schools in the City of Kalamunda participated in a Millennium Kids Green Lab and Adopt-a-Patch Professional Learning day visiting bush areas and meeting the people involved in conserving them.

The Adopt-a-Patch program supports schools to identify a natural area on their school grounds to conserve. The Green Lab approach to viewing these areas as outdoor classrooms enables teachers to incorporate conservation activities into various learning areas.

The day started with a journey across the City of Kalamunda from the hills to the plains at the base of the Darling Scarp, to help participants gain the big picture of the importance of their school’s green spaces. They met volunteer bush carers and Indigenous Elder Neville Collard to gain perspectives on the history and value of the natural areas and find out about their local patch.

In the afternoon session the value of networking with teachers from other local schools was evident. Activities about recognising, protecting, increasing and monitoring bushland and urban canopy included learning how to

  • map their school patch and assess its value.
  • develop a conservation project and create a Green Lab outdoor classroom.
  • create an inquiry project plan
  • pitch ideas to principals and the school community

By the conclusion of the day participants had identified key focus areas to start to develop their plans and a dateline to contact Millennium Kids and City of Kalamunda to obtain support to bring their projects into action. Schools have submitted planning ideas and  will  work with MK and City to implement these in 2022.

For more information about Green Lab email cathy@millenniumkids.com.au

Since 1996, Millennium Kids has enabled thousands of young people to have their say about the environment, leading to hundreds of inspiring youth-led initiatives that have contributed significantly to the environment and communities in WA and beyond.

The Mandurah Youth Led Deliberation brought together young people to deliberate over the charge: How can we, in Western Australia, collectively tackle climate change while supporting our places to thrive? What does this mean for our region and the way we live? Throughout the day attendees participated in a number of activities which encouraged them to think critically and deliberate over the most viable solutions needed to tackle the climate issues facing Mandurah.

The day began with an introduction to deliberation: how to do it; why it’s important; and why the method is different to what decision makers are currently doing. Next participants got to know each other through a range of introductory activities. Feeling comfortable and connecting with each other in the environment was an important aspect of the day because it enabled the participants to have open discussions and also develop strong relationships with like minded individuals. Following this, participants were further educated about the climate issues facing our region through a series of videos. The young people then had the opportunities to ask questions to a number of climate experts in the room.

It is important to note that the Mandurah event also had some adults attend and participate. However, lead facilitators separated participants who were under 25, with participants who were over 25, to ensure that the creative process of the younger participants was not hindered.

After the learning about the issues, participants began a “World Café” activity. This involved getting into small groups and identifying the changes that they felt needed to be made, both to their region as well as individually.

Using the challenges they identified, the participants then used an Affinity Diagram to organise the ideas collected and selected the top two priorities for each question: What changes does our region need to make and what changes do we need to make to the way we live. The solutions were further discussed and a list of actions which the young people believed needed to be actioned was then outputted.

Following deliberation, critical thinking and extensive questioning, the participants decided that the changes needed to be made to the way we lived were increasing conscious consumption through education and incentives as well as reducing the purchase of new clothing and reusing already owned clothing through introducing a clothing version of Containers for Change, handing down clothes and education.

The young people decided that the changes needed to be made to our region included: further educating the community about Climate Change and improving ocean biodiversity through an Adopt a Dolphin program and providing incentives to collect waste.

 

For a link to the full report click Mandurah Youth Led Deliberation on Climate Change (4)

The MK collaboration with the Sumbawa not for profit Yayasan WeSAVE has gone from strength to strength over the last year, despite the constraints of COVID – 19. Although we have not been able to visit, or bring any of their member to Perth for training, much has been achieved.

Our fund raising for the collaboration has now raised thirty thousand dollars, thanks to a ten thousand dollar donation from the Owen Francis Foundation, and two very generous private donations. These donations have enabled us to pay a deposit on some land, and begin the construction of our first school. The land and school are now in use, and are a hive of activity.

We had done the ground work for this project over the last few years, when we looked at several pieces of land and worked through the pros and cons of each with the WeSAVE team.

This land use assessment training set the parameters for what constituted a suitable site, through consideration of cost, access, utilities, and a range of environmental factors.

Because of these extensive on ground discussions, we were very confident when they told us they had found a site.

The joy of modern communications has allowed us to share in the process with regular video updates of progress. WeSAVE submitted detailed costings for all work and materials, and then in their usual fashion achieved a bigger and better building with the money we sent through. The MK training in project planning, management and accountability are evident in the detailed records and receipts we receive covering our contributions, facilitating acquittal of the donations.

The WeSAVE video updates showing legions of volunteer young people carrying materials to the site, and hand batching and carting concrete for pouring the floor are heart-warming. We are about to send up the next building payment which will see doors and windows added and the walls plastered. More than just a school, the site is evolving incredibly quickly into the sort of education precinct we have so often visualised. A quick video tour sent through recently showed extensive vegetable gardens established, fruit trees being planted, animal husbandry of goats and small livestock. We saw an upgrade of the grey water system under construction. Within the new building several classes were underway, with young women not only learning, but leading and teaching.

A well has been sunk and a pump installed, and discussions are now turning to the design and installation of a renewable power system for the site. The building has been constructed with a reinforced concrete roof in preparation for the addition of a second story when time and resources permit

In short, we now have our first Millennium Kids School. It is abuzz, and waiting for the opportunity to host exchange classes when we can get there. We will continue to fund raise for this group, as they are so inspirational, doing so much for so many with so little.

Wayne O’Sullivan

Yayasan We SAVE Partnerships Lead

We are super excited to announce Cat is a WA Nominee in Local Hero 2022 Australian of the Year Awards

For more than 25 years, Catrina (Cat) Aniere has empowered young people to use their voice to tackle the big issues the world is facing – including climate change, education, racism, sustainability or plastic waste.

As CEO of Millennium Kids, a youth-led empowerment organisation based in Western Australia, Cat recognises that young people have the creative ideas, innovative thinking and problem-solving skills needed to face the challenges of the 21st century. However, they sometimes need a little support to be the innovators they are born to be.

From a foundation group of only a few school students and teachers in 1999, Millennium Kids has grown to involve several dozen schools and thousands of students around Australia. It now also has two branches overseas.

Adopting an approach of teaching ‘skills for life’, Cat has inspired young people to become leaders; to activate change and use their voices within their communities to create a fairer, better future for us all.