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Students Take a Fresh Look at Environmental Issues

Thirty two secondary school students from throughout the Waikato Region will be meeting in Hamilton next week for the first Regional Youth Environment Forum.

The forum, which runs from April 5 to 8, has been organised by Environment Waikato Schools Programme Co-ordinator Dean King to promote students’ discussion and learning on environmental issues facing the Region.

Over the four days, the students will look at issues such as waste and water quality, and work toward presenting their knowledge and understanding of these issues. Students will also take field trips to X-treme Waste and Harbour Care nursery at Raglan, a stream in Pirongia and the Hamilton Refuse Centre.

The students represent 14 Waikato secondary schools11 from Franklin to Taupo.

The Regional Youth Environment Forum has been jointly organised by Environment Waikato and a student organising committee of four students who represented the Region last year at a national youth forum in Wellington. They are Kent Mickelson (St Paul's Collegiate), Holly Dove (Waihi College), Haley Mankelow (University of Waikato) and Alice Barnett (Hillcrest High School).

Mr King said the forum would promote positive environmental attitudes and support the students to take action on environmental issues. The aim was to hear about opinions and concerns of youth.

"During the forum we intend to provide opportunities to enhance the knowledge and awareness these young people have towards environmental issues and issues of our Region. We hope that the attitudes and actions of these young people will lead to positive environmental actions in their schools and communities.

"Part of the forum process will be to assist young people to do some personal action planning and identify and discuss what support they may need. A one-day follow-up meeting is planned for later in the year."

The students will hear from Hamilton City Council and Environment Waikato staff as well as environment Waikato Chairman Neil Clarke and Chief Executive Harry Wilson.

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