BOP teens selected for BLAKE programme

Charlotte Cameron and Nicholas Jones. Image: Supplied.

Local students Nicholas Jones from Whakatane High School and Charlotte Cameron from Otumoetai College have both been selected from hundreds of applications to represent the Bay of Plenty at BLAKE Inspire, formerly known as the Sir Peter Blake Trust Youth EnviroLeaders Forum.

The week long programme will run from April 12 to April 18 in Waikato where 56 year 11-13 students from regions right across New Zealand will gather together to learn about environmental issues facing New Zealand including climate change, marine and freshwater health and biodiversity decline.

Sir Peter Blake Trust (BLAKE) CEO James Gibson says the programme aims to kick-start environmental passion, leadership and action in young New Zealanders.

“At BLAKE our purpose is to restart people caring for the environment, and we want to do this through adventure, participation, education and enjoyment. BLAKE Inspire develops young New Zealanders who are prepared to take on the environmental challenges we face today.

“They will spend the week with some of New Zealand’s environmental leaders and experts, so they have a huge opportunity to absorb as much as they can and come away with new skills, networks and leadership ability to start driving positive change in their communities,” says James.

BLAKE Inspire is run in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment.  Chief executive of MFE Vicky Robertson says our environmental legacy is now being passed to our young people to shape for the future.

“And they are very aware of the responsibility. The Ministry for the Environment sees part of its roles is to support the education and leadership skills of New Zealand’s next generation. BLAKE Inspire is the place where discussion and debate flourish, and this is fundamental to progress our work on environmental issues.

“We’re thrilled BLAKE Inspire offers our rangatahi the chance to connect, deepen their knowledge and learn how to be kaitiaki,” says Vicky.

The students will spend the week developing their leadership skills as well as learning about environmental issues and innovation in the Waikato region.

They’ll also be exposed to career paths in their field of interest and will be shown real world applications of subjects they learn in the classroom.

Over the week the students will be involved in a range of activities. This includes:

Developing leadership skills through a range of field trips, workshops and exercises throughout the week. Speakers include: BLAKE alumni, MFE staff, local and national politicians, subject experts, business and community leaders.

Learning about climate change and sustainable energy, and how future impacts of climate change may affect the environment. They will also take part in a climate change workshop facilitated by MFE with a focus on policies.

Addressing a range of topical environmental issues facing New Zealand.

Visiting, engaging and learning about the importance of estuaries and landscape management to improve water quality and environmental performance.

Learning about urban ecological restoration and visiting Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park.

Visiting Waitomo Caves. Students will learn about eco-tourism and environmental sustainability. In particular, catchment and stream management which impacts the condition of the caves.

Working with local organisations on environmental projects in the community.

The students will be hosted by local organisations and businesses who will showcase innovation and challenges in Waikato. This includes a hosted visit with Genesis Energy to the Huntly Power Station and visiting Tatua dairy farm.

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