Being in the wonders of the natural world has many health and wellbeing benefits. And research shows that if we visit and engage with nature early in life, we are more likely to care for it and act to protect it later in life. With today’s increasingly urbanised and virtually connected youth, nature contact has declined. How do we inspire young people to get out and about and visit, engage and connect with these natural areas?
The word ‘nature’ may be a socially constructed concept often resulting in many different definitions for many different people. For this project, ‘nature’ is related to coasts and rivers, wetlands and catchments, where most of us live and where we have the most impact. The quality of our rivers and coasts, and the biodiversity that sustains them is connected to how well we look after the land that feeds them.
The project was conceived in association with the World Parks Congress. This once-in-a-decade international event run by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was held in Sydney in November 2014. A new stream of discussion was introduced on ‘Inspiring a New Generation’ to place emphasis on the role of young people in these environmental discussions. The (re)Generation Project team from NSW attended the Congress to be involved in conversation with the international community.