Kids Turning the Tide
By Lauren, 13 Years Old
Gladstone, Queensland ~ Australia.
my name is Lauren Kirk.
I live in Central Queensland, Australia.
I am 13 years old and I am an average, normal 13 year old girl who likes
listening to music, reading and wearing great clothes.
I have lots of good friends and enjoy visiting them and having
I went to school in Yeppoon I attended Monto State School, Monto Qld, Australia
from Preschool to Year 7 (Primary School).
Monto is a small country town in central Queensland that is nowhere near
a direct link to the content we were learning about in Year 6 at Monto State
School and a school camp North Keppel Island Educational Environmental Centre at
North Keppel Island off the coast of Yeppoon I became more aware of where I
live geographically and the importance of being more aware of our daily habits.
had an open drain beside our house that I used to go yabbying in.
Sometimes it would fill up with litter:
beer bottles, tetra packs, plastics.
The local council solved this problem by opening the fence below the
drain to let the water and litter run into the Three Moon Creek.
When I looked at a map I realised that the Three Moon Creek ran
into the Burnett River and eventually made its way to Hervey Bay near Bundaberg
and out across the tail end of the Great Barrier Reef.
made sense that if every small country town was doing the same thing then our
Great Barrier Reef was going to be in a sad state soon.
So I wrote to the local council, spoke to the Local Landcare Group, I
approached the farmer who leased the land that was being littered and a
group of friends and I cleaned it up. The
local council rewired the fence, cleaned up the drain and became more aware that
children play there.
friend, a year below me in school, then wrote again to the council to
complain about the local council Wash Down Bay for their trucks.
The council after using their trucks would take them to this site –
this time on the banks where the Monal Creek met the Three Moon - and wash all
the dirt, seed and contaminants into our water ways.
Our local council are now examining alternatives.
North Keppel Educational Environmental Centre they taught us about potable
water, about plankton and oxygen, about global warming and the ozone layer.
went plankton trawling one night to view the little phytoplankton's and
the zooplanktons. On our earth
these tiny little organisms are so important to the scheme of things.
Without them the earth would wither and die. We learnt about zoozanthalae.
Zoozanthalae are little animals that give the coral their colour and provide
food for the coral. Global warming
has caused the ocean temperatures to rise and these zoozanthalae leave the coral
and the coral will die.
Great Barrier Reef lies off the east coast of Australia. It is the world's
largest coral reef. Coral reefs have been called the "tropical rain forests
of the ocean."
study by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network found that 16% of the
world’s coral reefs were “effectively lost” in nine months during the
coral bleaching event of 1997/98.
2002, 60 % of the Great Barrier Reef was affected and up to 90 % of the corals
in in-shore reefs died.
saw the white, bleached coral and realized that the Great Barrier Reef provides
the world with its own special indicator that Global Warming is real and is
the holidays I would snorkel at Lady Musgrave Marine National Park (2
hours boat trip off the coast of Bundaberg, Qld Australia) and at Agnes Water.
I was impressed with the beautiful coral, the special fish that are
protected there and the importance of looking after these reefs.
It is vital that we protect this environment for the future generations.
Year 6 & 7 teacher helped us build an organic vegetable patch, a
scarecrow, a worm farm and then we built a chicken coop.
Every morning we would water and feed the chickens, clean out their run
and put the manure on the garden. We
would water and weed the vegetable patch and give the weeds to the chickens and
the worm farm. When the worm farm
became full we would put the compost back onto the vegetable patch.
We grew a great patch of potatoes, tomatoes, celery, parsley, snow peas
and beans. We later had two ducks
which loved eating the worms from the worm farm.
also learnt in school about water quality.
Once or twice a term we would visit our hydrology site and explore a
local dam. This dam caught water
that eventually would have run in to the Three Moon Creek.
time we visited we found different organisms.
Sometimes the dam had dead animals in it and we wondered what would have
happened to them.
spoke to the agricultural teacher at the local secondary school and to the Monto
Landcare Group about water quality. They
taught us about the role of the dung beetle.
We began to monitor the dung beetle numbers and types.
Of the nine beetles that are in the Upper Burnett we could find eight.
These beetles reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the waterways by
building nests and burying the dung. The
also help aerate and fertilize the soil, and reduce fly numbers.
of everything we were learning and doing I began getting my immediate family to
begin making changes in our home.
changed the light bulbs to energy saving bulbs.
made our own vegetable patch and worm farm.
started buying everything in bulk so that we didn’t have as much litter
to put in the bin.
pack our lunches into containers and don’t use plastic wrap.
a week we bake cakes and biscuits – we stopped buying commercial packaged
biscuits because of the excess plastic that they are wrapped in.
began collecting plastics and aluminium cans for recycling.
began putting our shopping into cardboard boxes at the supermarket and
returning the boxes when we finished with them.
A plastic bag free home.
we were making changes I began to influence my friends to also make
changes in their homes and so did my Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents.
helped my grandparents
build vegetable patches and worm farms. My
cousins now pack their lunches without plastic wrap and take home made cooking
to school for morning teas.
have created a weblog to inform and inspire other children to become involved in
looking after the environment. (Thanks to Thomas Rayner Associates)
goals I have for my project:
raise awareness of the importance of our environment to the children of
empower the children and their families with the attitude that every little
thing counts and we can all make a difference.
only have to make one change in your lives and others will follow.
accomplished my goals by:
by being me and making little changes often.
knowledge, as I know more about the environment I know then how I can change my
thinking. By changing myself I can
influence others to make changes.
friend of mine, asked me one day, “What can a kid do?”
“It is not as if anyone would listen anyway!”
He soon found out that he can make a difference and people do listen to
my project I have discovered that:
children can make a difference.
the environmental journey only takes one step – make one change and other
knowledge is power. The more I know
about the environment the more I can do.
did this experience change my family and I:
understand the meaning of global warming, the importance of the food chain and
the food pyramid.
understand that to make changes we need to think globally and act locally.
have become more aware of the needs and wants of others.
have become more confident in approaching people who I don’t know.
public speaking skills continue to improve.
have discovered a special part of myself that really likes and cares for others.
plans for the future:
continue being me.
continue with my project of raising awareness of environmental issues with
children and adults.
attend The International Children’s Conference as a member of the Junior Board
and an ambassador for Australia and as a spokesperson for the environment.
continue with my web log that Mr. Thomas Rayner has taught me how to use. www.aussiekidsturningthethetide.com
work hard at school so that when I finish studying I will be in a position to
to take what we have for granted.
grasp every opportunity and make the most of life.
have learnt a lot about myself in the past few years.
Environmental issues have become part of who I am.
I enjoy nature the ocean and the beach.
I suppose a natural curiosity and an environmental educational school
camp to North Keppel Island Educational Environmental Centre at North Keppel
Island off the coast of Yeppoon, (near Rockhampton) Queensland, Australia,
helped make sense of Global Warming.
International Children’s Conference helped me remain motivated when I
discovered other children think like I do too.
belief that the children of the world can unite - make a difference and help
lighten our environmental footprint.
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