By Pru Casey | Posted: Wednesday May 8, 2019
Ben Burrow is the student co-chair of the Town Belt Kaitiaki Project team.
The Town Belt is a superb asset that runs right through the heart of our city. When the Department of Conservation announced that their strategic plan included an aspirational goal of 1,000,000 children actively involved in conservation projects by 2020 – the Town Belt student leadership project gained wings. A Hui in Christchurch was held and an Otago Boys’ delegation of students and staff got involved. The model proposed that students would develop business skills to lead change and develop the Town Belt to be an asset that could be easily accessed with exciting educational possibilities for the many schools that border the belt. Otago Boys’ is one of these.
The student leadership team meet regularly and include students from multiple secondary, primary and even pre-schools. A weekend of planning was held at Quarantine Island in February and Ben Burrow was elected students co-chair. Ben leads a bevy of students and is also a key member of the OBHS Sustainability Group – there are lots of projects on the go. Marketing, financial decision making and planning skills are all demanded of our student leaders. Luke Geddes, Josh Sammut, Xavier Hill and Matthew Bolter are all active members of Ben’s team here at OBHS.
Ben recently attended the Youth Environmental Leaders Forum in Hamilton and also met the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations for breakfast in Auckland. Environmental awareness, sustainability and conservation action are all hot topics for the students at Otago Boys'. Our School Lodge Sustainability Group are seeking funding and project managing the installation of sustainable energy sources for the Mt Aspiring Lodge. School science activities are linked to the town belt and sustainability education is a core part of the ‘participation and contribution’ area of the curriculum at Otago Boys’.
Over the next few years, the Town Belt will become a haven for native birds, plants and environmental education if the Town Belt Kaitiaki Project members have their way! Tracks, lighting, apps, study stations and information boards are only small projects – this is a think big group – they are well funded – and the students are taking their responsibilities as leaders of tomorrow seriously.
Watch this space!