My name is Mia Conway and I founded Children for Change in 2015 with the desire to educate children about our natural world in the hope that this would give children the knowledge and tools to start building the foundations for a lifelong love and respect for nature.
Nature has so much to offer us & our children and without out our natural world we would not be here. It is our home & provides us with everything we need for existence. It contributes largely to our health and wellbeing, giving children learning opportunities more effective than any classroom. Playing in nature contributes to a child’s emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical development all of which influence their ethics, attitude & behaviour moving forward into adulthood.
Our children are the future, the ones who will be making the decisions that will determine environmental outcomes for generations to come. Environmental education and opportunities for interaction is priority. It is known that children who develop positive experiences in nature as a child continue to show positive attitudes and respect towards nature as adults.
Children do not have the opportunities that many of us had growing up. Back then the streets seemed much safer and we were usually left to our own devices to ride, play and explore. Natural areas to play were everywhere and life rolled forward at a much slower pace.
Even today nature is a colourful, fun & intriguing playground to children when given the opportunity. Through Children for Change we have established and coordinate an after school environmental activity program called AICE Club – Awareness & Interactions between Children & their Environment
The program is aimed at children aged between 7 – 14 years. It runs over each of the four school terms, taking place in and around the northern beaches area of Cairns on a Monday afternoon. We meet at different locations each week to set off on fun filled explorations, while learning about biodiversity, ecological processes and environmental impacts. We work with other community groups to engage children in local conservation initiatives such as revegetation projects, marine debris clean ups, drain stencilling and monitoring projects. Some of our learning topics include; Mangrove and wetland importance, catchments and land use, water quality, the GBR, cultural connections, cassowary conservation, the Wet Tropics Rainforest, frog conservation, insect importance, rainforest plants, life in the Cryosphere and Fungi, waste management & recycling in Cairns, growing your own veggie garden.
Since starting the program at the start of 2016 we have been supported largely by Terrain Natural Resource Management and Cairns Regional Council, not to mention all the amazing community groups we work with to deliver our topics and conservation work.
Over this time we have had 48 local children enrolled in AICE Club. It has been so rewarding to know that their attitudes and behaviours towards their natural environment have changed as a result of our program.