World Oceans Day celebrated with inaugural Youth Summit

Take 3 for the Sea’s inaugural Youth Summit at the Taronga Institute of Science & Learning at Taronga Zoo Sydney proved a big hit this week with 150 young leaders taking part.

Held on June 7 and 8 – to coincide with World Oceans Day – the young leaders, from 25 schools around New South Wales were joined by selected celebrity guests and leaders in the field of conservation to discuss the problems of plastic pollution and potential solutions during two action-packed days.

As well as the guest lectures, presentations, and panel discussions the young people in attendance also took part in group workshops to prepare Community Action Plans to engage their school communities in plastic pollution education.

Some of the plans included waste audits, a school return and earn system for recycling, a sustainability day at school, artwork on bins to encourage litter to be placed in them, plastic-free canteens, as well as the option to avoid detention by collecting litter at lunch!

Take 3 co-founder Roberta Dixon-Valk joins a group of young leaders for a workshop 

The event was hosted by Take 3 ambassador and surf ironwoman Lizzie Welborn, she said: “The Youth Summit has been incredible, and it is so good to see so many passionate young school kids come in and share their ideas.

“I am so passionate about being involved in this, as one of my biggest regrets is not taking action when I was in school. I really got into my passion after school but being in school is such a great time to explore your passion as you have a great community to support you.

“If these kids can make a small difference in their school, then we have made a big impact by putting this Youth Summit on.

Lizzie Welborn on stage for during one of the Youth Summit panel discussions

“I feel like a lot of these kids have great ideas but are scared to put them out there, but we have given them a platform to do that and who knows what their ideas will turn in to – we could have helped one of the greatest environmentalists of the future in this room, and thinking about that is pretty cool!”

Environmental data scientist Jordan Gacutan, who also works with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, was another to present at the Summit, he said: “Translating data into impact is important. It is important to do the actions, but also have something to back it up and present to the decision makers, like the council, stakeholders and so on.

“Events like the Youth Summit are important as they bring like-minded people together, leaders together, and if you put your actions together then the impact is much bigger than as individuals. Hopefully, it inspires them individually but also highlights the importance of partnerships and group solutions to make a big impact.”

The students in attendance had travelled from all across NSW with selected rural and regional students also taking part in a ZooSnooz at Taronga.

Among our core beliefs at Take 3 is finding and supporting the next generation of environmentalists and by taking part in the Take 3 Youth Summit at Taronga Zoo all participants are now recognised as Take 3 youth leaders.

Alan Toner, a teacher at Mosman High School, explained how the Summit was already having an impact, he said: “The children have come away from the Youth Summit really inspired by the presenters and films, and the proactive nature of the workshops.

Students listen intently during one of the Youth Summit presentations at the Taronga Zoo Lecture Theatre 

“They are already talking about waste audits and looking for hotspots and then looking for solutions to improve those situations through initiatives that will shift the culture in our school.

“It is very important for me to bring the children here. I want to empower them to make decisions that will impact their future and to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Take 3 would like to thank Taronga Zoo for hosting he event along with our event sponsors Klean Kanteen and Fjällräven, education partners SC Johnson and everyone else who supported such a fantastic event.

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