Mitchell Drover, a 25-year-old architecture student at Newcastle University just completed a 1,000 km walk from Melbourne to Newcastle to encourage awareness of conservation issues and raise funds for Take 3 and the Australian Conservation Society (ACS).
Mitch grew up in the small coastal town of Port Macquarie, NSW and says he has always been aware of the need to keep our beaches and oceans clean. “As plastic pollution is killing wildlife and threatening the health of the planet, I want to support Take 3’s goal to close the gap through inspiration that inspires participation.”
Mitch was motivated to take on this challenge by what he was experiencing in the course of his studies. He had concerns about the sustainability of some of the practices he was seeing in the field of architecture and, being a self-proclaimed ‘curious fellow’ and lover of puzzles, he embraced the opportunity to make an impact.
Raising money and promoting awareness of important issues through personal challenges like this are not new to Mitch. Previously he has run a half-marathon to support the Black Dog Institute, and raised funds for a village in Bali that was suffering economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mitch raised just over $11,500 during his walk, beating his initial target by more than $1,500. The funds will be split equally between Take 3 and ACA. He chose to support Take 3 because of his long-held passion for ocean conservation and his belief in the power of education. “My perspective is that this planet, out of the millions of planets in the universe, was lucky enough to be able to cultivate life, and we are even luckier to be able to enjoy it. I want future generations to be able to enjoy it just as much as we have. This is why I’ve always been impressed by Take 3’s approach”, he said. “Instead of trying to fix the problem after it has happened, they are trying to nip it in the bud by educating the next generation.
Mitch visiting Take 3’s HQ at Long Jetty on his final journey home to Newcastle, NSW
Mitch’s walk took 31 days, including two rest days. He did the walk entirely alone – just himself, his backpack and the open road. One of the highlights of the trip was the people he met along the way. Mitch wanted to spread environmental awareness as he went, and he said the best thing about the walk was meeting so many people from different walks of life who shared similar concerns about the environment and who were doing their part to help solve the problems. He ended the walk convinced that people are not as divided on the issue of environmental conservation as we are led to believe.
Miraculously, given how wet the weather has been this year, Mitch wasn’t troubled by the rain until the very last day of his walk when his jacket, pants and boots were drenched in a torrential downpour. At about 8 km from the finish, he changed into board shorts and thongs, crossing the finish line in fine style!
So what’s next for Mitch? “I don’t have any other challenges lined up right now”, he said “I’m in my third year at university so my aim is to finish my degree. But once that is done, I’m sure I’ll be looking around for new ways to raise awareness about conservation and sustainability issues.”
From everyone at Take 3, congratulations on completing this mammoth challenge, Mitch, and thank you for your dedication to the planet!