On Thursday 10th November, to celebrate World Responsible Tourism Day and 2011 being the International Year of Forests, Chris invited a group of year nine students from St John the Evangelist school in Nowra for an educational field trip to the property. The day took a lot of organisation and Chris, Sophie, Max Warren and I all worked hard together in ensuring it was well executed on the day.
When the children arrived Chris gave them a little talk about sustainability and the students were asked to express their views on what sustainability meant to them, it was interesting to hear the different perspectives they all had. I then gave each child a tree and we headed to the conservation area to plant them, they were all really interested in the trees and were asking if theirs would be; pretty, tall and smell nice, I was really impressed that it meant a lot to them. The students worked well together in planting the trees and loved getting stuck in, Chris talked to them about the importance of the variety of trees, and how they create habitat and the species we have living on the property due to the conservation efforts.
We toured around the property and Chris talked about the environmentally sustainable firewood plantation, the solar farm, the orchards, and the bird hollows to create habitat for the wildlife on the property. I got to talk about our green office policy and at the end the students used our electricity bills and information to calculate our carbon footprint.
The children were well engaged and appeared to find the whole day interesting, they were all very bright and they all seemed to be very tuned in with trying to act responsibly in regards to the environment. It was interesting to observe, as I know that my peers were not the same when I was that age. I wonder if Max (all the children were from his school) discusses environmental impacts at school, he definitely has enthusiasm for it at home, and it’s great to think he could impact on his peers, I’m not sure if this is the case though.
At the end of the tour Max spoke about our waste, and how we would like to reduce it, not just through recycling but by reusing things, the students were encouraged to share ideas, and they had some brilliant ideas. Chris, Max and I are looking into putting some of the suggestions into place. In my opinion the day was a great success and I’m glad I was involved in it.
I don't think this event was tokenism because they children could see the real efforts made on the property. So it would be good if other responsible tourism businesses made similar efforts (have a look at the link below)