Environment Victoria’s Eco-Wise Action Train the Trainer program was launched in April 2008 in a bid to help seniors spread the sustainability message further. The program took ten seniors in the Bendigo region and trained them to become leaders in environmental sustainability.
The goal was to create a group of confident leaders who could then run their own environmental initiatives, whether this was helping a neighbour to do a home audit or running an environmental program with a local community group.
As community developer for her local McIvor Neighbourhood House, Sandra was very attracted to the prospect.
“We’ll be focussing on the environment, so when I heard about the Train the Trainer intiative, I realised it could provide me with some valuable information and insights into how to run an environmental program,” Sandra said.
The program included field trips to help the leaders gain an understanding of sustainability in action.
Sandra said her favourite field trips were the visits to a school that directly involves students in environmental activities and to a domestic waste recycling plant.
“I found the school so inspiring. The kids were involved in so many things: in revegetation, from picking out seedlings to planting trees, caring for livestock and even building a wetland. I really liked the fact that the kids did the tour with us and were able to answer many of our often quite complex questions. It was an inspiration and really helped us seniors realise that some of our grandchildren’s generation are well prepared to take good care of our fragile environment.”
Sandra is now using the links and contacts she made on the visits to work on her own environment programs.
“It has been such a useful experience. I feel better able to help my community take environmental action and I found it fascinating to go on this journey with other seniors and to feel more connected to my community.”