Nature Works nurtures future
Teenage nature enthusiasts put their innovative proposals into practice
by Celia Lai & Cecilia Wong
Held by The Nature Conservancy, Nature Works Hong Kong has come to the third year providing platforms for secondary students to plan “eco-friendly”.
This year eight student teams participated the program and came up with ideas, from food waste to shark rescue, in an attempt to protect the environment.
The 11-month program, from March to December, put students into exposure of different environmental topics. The five-day training camp equipped students with knowledge and new skills through speakers and hands-on experiences. For instance, “minimum viable product”, a concept about the smallest valuable thing one can contribute, was introduced to students to get hold a small control of the environment.
Packed with fundamental knowledge, participants had to come up with ideas regarding four conservation themes: freshwater conservation, food sustainability, waste reduction and biodiversity and wildlife conservation, and later on realised them.
“We chose the topic of eating sustainably because we eat every single day. It has an impact on the environment,” said Rachelle Lui Ka-ching (16), one of the team members of Eco-roots.
Eco-roots aimed to encourage sustainable eating habits among Hong Kong students. The five teammates had three goals: to improve access, increase awareness and inspire action. Building container gardens was one of their proposals. Eco-roots wanted to make sustainable food accessible to pupils by growing herbs and different types of veggies in the gardens in schools.
“I hope I can educate the peers around me. They may change the way they eat and start thinking about the impact (of their eating habits) to the environment,” said Rachelle.
Participants had over nine weeks to refine their proposals under the guidance from volunteer professionals. These advisors fine-tuned students’ presentations and gave them feedback on their planning process to make their projects feasible and successful.
The mentors also lent their expertise to help students improve their own skills such as leadership skills and inspire creative thinking.
“I learnt the basic entrepreneurship,” said Fok Jing-chen (15), another member of Eco-roots. “Different speakers taught us project management, how to plan budgets and to generate income.”
The projects of Eco-roots received many votes and made it one of the top three. With the funding from Operation Santa Claus, the team was able to execute their proposed programmes.
We hope the future leaders will bring benefits to the community with their sustainable programmes, said Karen Cheung Kai-shuen, the Education Project Manager of The Nature Conservancy.
The two students said they had behavioural changes after the programme. Jing switches on less air-conditioner while Rachelle eats out less so as to reduce the use of foam. They believed their acts can cut down carbon footprints and pose less harm to the environment.
Asked about their career, they still put “eco-friendly” as one of the considerations. “As a member of that organisation, I would be directly contributing to the waste produced. So that is a huge concern,”said Fok.
(Edited by Ann Li; video edited by Sharon Tang)
The vision of The Nature Conservancy is to leave a sustainable world for future generations in Hong Kong and the globe. It aims at finding innovative ways to ensure that nature can continue to provide all living necessities for survival.
Operation Santa Claus, the city’s annual fund-raising campaign jointly organised by South China Morning Post SCMP and RTHK Radio 3 Hong Kong.