Amanda Marechal’s war on litter was born in her friends’s living room 10 years ago, when she asked the question, ‘what can I do to make a difference?’, and arrived at the idea of picking up three pieces of rubbish every time she left the beach.
Ten years later, Forster Surf Club was filled with primary aged students presenting the initiatives they had come up with to promote Take 3 for the Sea within their school communities, through the Green Sea Turtle program.
On Tuesday, August 7, students presented the ideas they had come up with and started implementing around schools, thanks to a $500 grant for each provided by the partnership of Take 3 for the Sea, Local Land Services, J.R. Richards and council.
“Today is all about getting the children and schools engaged in litter reduction campaigns and sewing seeds for behavior change; inspiring others to participate and engage,” Amanda explained.
“Everything from picking up rubbish to looking at the source and finding ways to reduce the use in the first place.
“The project is giving students a chance to inspire their school communities and develop their own environmental campaigns not just in the short term, but to stick and continue to educate those who come after them.”
Student leaders and environmental officers from each school presented a five minute explanation of the changes they were implementing to each other.
Unique, creative and effective solutions were presented by each school group, with all showing a different approach to the project to the others.
Forster Public School students had worked on introducing nude foods to the school and making educational posters to stick around campus. Their next step was to replacing plastic straws with paper ones.
Hallidays Point Public School students were visited by the Today Show so their initiative could be broadcast nationally. Their focus was: education is the key, and small actions equal big changes. They were in the process of organising a colouring competition to further spread the message.
Holy Name Forster students had made plans to revamp the ocean mural at the school that was painted in 1999 to include the Take 3 for the Sea message.
Manning Valley Anglican College students had set an example for their classmates by wearing bright jackets and picking up rubbish around the school. The key concept of this approach was being seen as well as heard.
Pacific Palms Public School students had made presentations to individual classrooms and created turtle artworks to stick around the school to remind everyone of the message. They had also started playing the Take 3 for the Sea song after lunch to remind everyone to pick up their rubbish.
Taree Christian College had started handing out environmental warrior awards, and had set up return and earn bins at the school. The students were also in the process of planning a sea themed social event.
Tuncurry Public School students had put together a movie-style video trailer which detailed the plans they had put in place.
Old Bar Public School and Nabiac Public School were also involved in the project, but were unable to attend the event.
MidCoast Council mayor, David West enjoyed the presentations and said the cause was one that for him, hit close to home.
“There’s many things you can talk about on this topic, rubbish and plastic use has been a big problem everywhere for such a long time and it takes someone who is very committed to make a real difference,” he said.
“Once you get children inspired, they will run with anything.
“Things they are taught young, they will remember as long as there is logic behind it, and this is a very logical initiative.”