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BOP leaders selected for environmental programme

Year 13 Tauranga student Jessica Chang is one the 60 young people that has been selected to attend Blake Inspire. Photo: Supplied.

Five Bay of Plenty high school students will learn essential environmental leadership skills during a week-long programme for young New Zealanders next month.

Year 13 Tauranga Girls' College student Jessica Chang has been selected for the Blake Inspire programme, along with four other teens from across the BOP.

BLAKE Inspire will run from October 5-9 in Waikato, where 60 Year 11-13 students from regions right across the country will gather together to learn about critical environmental issues facing New Zealand and ways they can take action to tackle these challenges.

BLAKE CEO James Gibson says the programme aims to kick-start environmental passion, leadership and action in young New Zealanders; and this year it will focus on four key environmental issues facing New Zealand.

“Climate change, biodiversity loss and marine and freshwater health are four key environmental issues we are facing, and we’ll be focusing on these topics throughout the week.

“Our rangatahi are acutely aware that urgent action needs to be taken to address these issues to protect the environment for their own future and for generations to come. 

“BLAKE Inspire gives these young people the opportunity to develop action plans, expand their leadership skills and empower them to feel confident to tackle these issues and start making a positive difference as soon as they leave the programme.”

BLAKE Inspire is run in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment. MfE Deputy Secretary, Strategy and Stewardship, Natasha Lewis says rangatahi are growing up in a world of environmental challenges and opportunities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how connected human wellbeing is to our environment. What we do affects our water, our air, our land and our climate - and those changes in-turn affect our lives.

“The decisions we make today will shape the world for future generations. More than ever, we need to support young leaders to help create a sustainable future.

“Leaders must be resilient and agile. They must be able to draw on knowledge and expertise from across disciplines. Most importantly, they must be able to collaborate.”

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

The Bay of Plenty students include:

• Jana Longney, Edgecumbe College, Year 13

• Jessica Chang, Tauranga Girls' College, Year 13

• Kaitlyn Lamb, John Paul College, Year 12

• Madison Komene, Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa, Year 13

• Tian Hewetson, Western Heights High School, Year 13

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