RCE Tasmania - 2018

Empowering youth in Education for Sustainability through connection, creativity and action: Working meaningfully with local champions and place
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Empowering youth in Education for Sustainability through connection, creativity and action: Working meaningfully with local champions and place
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Tasmania
Contributing organization(s) : 
University of Tasmania, Department of Education, Greening Australia
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Leah Page
Organizational Affiliation: 
Sustainable Living Tasmania
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Additional resources: 
Emery, S., Beasy, K. and Coleman, B. (in press) Fostering EfS connections for community wellbeing: Working meaningfully with what we’ve got. Conference paper. Universities as Living Labs for Sustainable Development: Supporting the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate Leaders Conference Info Pack.
Radio interview about Don’t mess with Burnie.
Geographical & Education Information
Address of focal point institution for project: 
1st floor, 71 Murray Street, Hobart TAS 7000
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Tasmania is a small island state with a rich cultural and natural heritage, including a high biodiversity, abundant fertile soil, water, clear air and renewable energy (hydroelectricity). However, Tasmania faces distinctive sustainability challenges associated with its remoteness, its weak economy (the weakest in Australia ) historically relying on exploitation activities (e.g., old growth forest logging, damming and mining), and its high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. Tasmania has the most regional and dispersed population of any state in Australia, with 58% of the population living outside the greater capital city area.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Socio economic issues include, high levels of poverty, low education levels, low ethnic diversity and impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal culture and heritage. Many threats, mostly of anthropogenic nature, are threatening the Tasmanian environment. These include threats to biodiversity from illegal activities; introduction and spread of non-indigenous species; and increasing infrastructure and tourism development.
June, 2017
The vision of RCE-Tasmania is to advance Tasmania as an interconnected and diverse sustainable island state that is able to adapt to and is empowered and resilient to respond to environmental, economic, social and cultural challenges. The activities within this project leverage from the existing work and strengths of the organisations that make up the Education for Sustainability Tasmania network (RCE Tasmania). The activities sought to foster new ways to collaborate among members, and with new partners, for sustainability education by creating youth leadership and learning opportunities that harness local knowledge, connect local leaders, create change, and inspire and cultivate our next generation of leaders.
To engage in locally relevant Education for Sustainability (EfS) partnerships that empower young people and schools to cultivate collaborations in their communities that will advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Projects were collaboratively created and coordinated by members of RCE-Tasmania. Fostering connections among network members; facilitating new opportunities to work together; strengthening the capacity to leverage from core business and activities; and strengthening students’ connections to community.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Primary and secondary students participated in student-led activities giving them a platform to be visible and active contributors to their community.
Weaving community wellbeing in the cultural arts class - primary students were on an equal footing with community members, positioned as artists teaching other family members and community members the weaving techniques.
Don’t mess with Burnie – primary students participated in action-based learning to address local sustainability issues around waste management.
Climate Leaders Conference - The conference formed part of a youth SDG Challenge for the Asia-Pacific SDG Challenge 2018. Local leaders mentored mostly secondary students to pursue leadership opportunities for creating change in their schools and local communities address SDG13 and SDG14.
Size of academic audience: 
Weaving community wellbeing in the cultural arts class - 40 primary school students, 2 educators. Don’t mess with Burnie – 300 students from 5 regional schools and 20 educators. Climate Leaders Conference - 250 secondary & primary students from 27 schools
The Climate Leaders Conference will result in a network of engaged young people across the state, inspired to follow their interests by running their own events, volunteering, and investigating further study options. Planned projects from over 27 schools include forming a sustainability group, waste management initiatives, setting up recycling, planting trees to mitigate climate change effects, hosting educational community talks, creating a video documentary and conducting a local leadership event.
Students leading projects will participate in this year’s Don’t Mess with Burnie event to share their learnings with the next generation (primary school students).
Students developed skills and understandings of traditional and contemporary arts practices such as basket weaving and ochre painting whilst learning about Tasmanian Aboriginal stories and reviving the Tasmanian Aboriginal language palawa kani. Students involved in the cultural arts wellbeing project were invited into a statewide professional learning forum for teachers as presenters and cultural leaders.
Lessons learned: 
The activities highlight opportunities to engage more collaboratively and deeply with education practitioners and teachers in the development and implementation of education for sustainability activities and programs.
Key messages: 
These activities cultivated opportunities for ongoing collaborations with regional schools and strengthened relationships between the community, industry partners and the University, including research and professional development for teachers. Activities empowered students to engage in problem solving, creating change and taking action in their local communities.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
These activities leverage from the ongoing programs and initiatives of the network members and contribute to the annual collaborative actions of the network.
UTAS Schools Engagement Grant 2017 contributed to Don’t Mess with Burnie event, University of Tasmania and Department of Education contributed funding for Tasmanian Facilitator role within EfS Tasmania.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Bridport2017.jpg (193.55 KB) Students painting in ochre on the rocks - "the rocks will remember us" Cultural arts camp 2017, Bridport Tasmania. S. Emery
Image icon ClimateLeadersLaunceston2018.jpg (2.03 MB) Students pledging their community action at the Climate Leaders Conference 2017, Launceston Tasmania L. Page
Image icon Burnie.jpg (1.56 MB) Students celebrating a successful clean up of Burnie Beach. L. Page
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
Traditional Knowledge  
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level