“I feel that there is a disconnect, there’s a lot of people in Australia that don’t live on the land, that don’t learn it in schools and my job is to reconnect them,” Armidale High School agriculture teacher Bec Smith said.
And, reconnect them she has – her team of eco-friendly students took out the Southern New England Junior Landcare Team award.
They call themselves “BC2”, Black Creek Bush Care, and the group has been working hard to regenerate local land.
The team has re-vegetated an area called Managums, planting 400 trees and regenerating the soil.
For kids, Ms Smith believes a connection to the land is essential.
“It’s not just about being sustainable,” she said.
“Really what it’s about is regenerating, improving and making things better so that the future is looked after.
“It’s about making sure our ecosystems are healthy, making sure there’s biodiversity, we have to do that – we don’t actually have a choice, we need to be regenerating.”
The students have worked as mentors for Frog Dreaming, a program that aims to engage youth with their environment.
They have also regenerated the Dumaresq Creek, planting hundreds of new trees.
“I feel that there is a disconnect,” Ms Smith said.
“There’s a lot of people in Australia that don’t live on the land, that don’t learn it in schools and my job is to reconnect them.
“It’s good for kids to get their hands dirty, I think that’s really important.
“The kids also have to give back to the school and the community – that’s what I am a big proponent of.”
The awards were presented at the University of New England, where Ms Smith was also awarded Individual Landcarer.