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Published: 2003-11-26 00:00:00

Young environmentalists who attended a national Youth Environment Forum in Wellington last month have already developed plans for an on-going Regional forum.

Two of the young representatives – Haley Mankelow of Taupo and Holly Dove of Waihi – presented their plans to this week’s Environment Waikato Environment Committee meeting. They plan an initial four day workshop in April next year to be attended by 24 selected delegates from throughout the Region.

They say the forum will provide Environment Waikato with contact points in secondary schools, a student voice to connect with the community and initiate projects, greater understanding of the views of young people about the environment and stronger links with possible sponsors, such as territorial authorities.

The students plan to attract delegates from the Region’s 35 secondary and six area schools to represent year 9 to 13 students, and start with the four day forum, a one day meeting at the end of the third term and on-going communication through a website, email and newsletters.
The delegates would also research and present to the forum on issues that were important in their own areas.

The students want to work on various environmental issues that are important to them, as well as visit useful sites, hearing from experts in various areas and seeing environmental activities first hand. Setting up the forum would cost about $17,500 and they aim to look for sponsorship to get it up and running.

Environment Waikato schools co-ordinator Dean King said with 32 percent of the Waikato population aged under 20, it was important to establish contact with young people.

The forum would engage the young community and assist Environment Waikato to gain insight into youth perspectives on the environment, he said.