Greystanes students in congress for the environment

Outside apreciation: Greystanes High School year 10 geography students, Bethany Wear, 16, Tejasva Savoo, 15, Vaishnavi Veerararaghavan, 14, Keertan Pather, 15, and Asha Warmington, 15, will work with a mentor from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to bring their peers back to nature. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Outside apreciation: Greystanes High School year 10 geography students, Bethany Wear, 16, Tejasva Savoo, 15, Vaishnavi Veerararaghavan, 14, Keertan Pather, 15, and Asha Warmington, 15, will work with a mentor from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to bring their peers back to nature. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Greystanes High School students will embrace the once-in-a-decade opportunity to present a research and video project at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Parks Congress.

The group of about 30 year 10 students are given a mentor from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and 10 weeks for the ‘Fuse’ education project, which they hope will encourage people aged 15 to 20 to get back to nature.

Vaishnavi Veerararaghavan, 14, said it was easy for those in her age group to become distracted by gadgets and social media.

‘‘We spend more time with technology instead of spending time outside,’’ she said.

‘‘Usually videos on this topic are about how we’ve been damaging the environment or destroying it.

‘‘We want to do something different and tell people how we can fall in love with nature all over again.’’

Geography teacher Ayca Emirali said the students were sharing the project tasks involved.

‘‘We have some students who are looking at how to analyse primary data and write survey questions, other groups have been blogging and communicating points on social media, and some students have been collaborating with our mentor,’ she said.

‘‘We also have some students who are testing different games like this habitat game, for example, where you’re a polar bear and collect food for your environment.

‘‘If you do good things for nature you increase your points, so students have been playing the game to see if that then encourages you to do good deeds within society which are environmentally beneficial and sustainable.’’

The students will present their finished work to the congress at Sydney Olympic Park from November 12.

The global forum will present, discuss and create original approaches to conservation and development of protected areas for the next 10 years.

‘‘That something that started off in a classroom could reach such a large audience is very exciting,’’ Asha Warmington, 15, said.

‘‘The film footage of national parks and children in community areas will hopefully encourage people to go outside and not only experience what Australia has to offer but what their local areas also contribute.’’

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service project leader, Dan Nicholls, said the parks the congress plans maintain were vital to the health of the planet and society as they were a source of clean air, animal habitat, water, new medicines and jobs around the world.

“These students will be the future park rangers, managers and custodians of our planet,’’ he said.

‘‘‘Fuse’ was designed to give them a louder voice at the congress and get their unique perspectives as we set the agenda for the decade ahead.”

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