1 September 2023 | Landcare Australia’s Junior Landcare program has long recognised the vital role children and young people play in caring for the environment. This year, as part of its 25th anniversary, Junior Landcare is calling on kids to share what they love most about the environment, and the steps they are taking to protect it.
Teaming up with ABC presenter and Junior Landcare ambassador, Costa Georgiadis, the ‘Love Letters to the Land’ campaign is encouraging children across the country to sit, reflect and connect with the natural world around them. This is because we know that for children to become passionate environmental advocates, they must first develop a genuine connection with nature.
To help schools, youth groups and families get started with their Love Letters to the Land, Junior Landcare has created a starter kit with a curriculum-aligned letter-writing activity, special letter templates and ideas of what to do with letters once they have been written, from posting them to sister schools to sharing them with your local MP.
For added inspiration, sample love letters from Costa and other notable figures will be shared throughout National Biodiversity Month (September) and Mental Health Month (October). These include letters from CEO of the National Farmers’ Federation, Tony Mahar; Indigenous writer and co-founder of the Firesticks Alliance, Victor Steffensen; 19-year-old founder and CEO of environmental NGO Co-exist, Kurt Jones; Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year 2018, Sophia Skarparis (Plastic Free Sophia); Chair of Intrepid Landcare, Annette Cavanagh; Northern Beaches Young Citizen of the Year 2023, Noah Smith; Landcare Australia Chair, Doug Humann AM and Landcare Champion Pam Robinson AM who received an Australia Medal for significant service to conservation.
Children are also invited to share their letters via Junior Landcare’s website for a chance to receive a visit from Costa to their school or youth group. The Top 25 letters will also be featured on The Land’s website.
“With the intensifying impacts of climate change, we need to prepare and support the next generation to feel empowered to take action for our natural environment,” says Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish. “This starts by giving children an opportunity to learn first-hand how they can care for the environment and biodiversity around them; understand where their food comes from; understand waste management and immerse themselves in First Nations perspectives. One small step in their local patch will lead to many small steps that will make a large and lasting impact.”
Concludes Dr Norrish: “In addition to the curriculum-linked activities available in the Junior Landcare Learning Centre that have been designed to help bring environmental education into classrooms, campaigns such as this one allow us to recognise the contribution children can make when it comes to caring for our natural assets. This includes positively influencing those around them, and the benefits this can yield for the safe future of our land.”
For more about Junior Landcare’s ‘Love Letters to the Land’ campaign, or to get your letter templates, go to: https://juniorlandcare.org.au/love-letters-to-the-land
 ‘How well does the new Australian Curriculum prepare young people for climate change?’, The Conversation, 22 May 2023