World Environment Day
Thursday 5 June 2014
Good afternoon and welcome to the official opening of Moss Vale Public School’s Bush Tucker Garden.
Before I start I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of this land on which we meet today and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
Today is a very special day because not only are we opening your Bush Tucker Garden but today is also World Environment Day.
Every year on this day, people across the planet celebrate the environment.
Thousands of activities have been planned for today right across the globe aimed at improving the environment now and for future generations.
I like to think we’re very lucky to live in the Southern Highlands, a place with such a stunning natural environment.
We’re also very lucky to have so many wonderful teachers, parents, grandparents and volunteers, who work tirelessly to preserve our environment and are passionate about passing their knowledge onto others.
And knowledge is one of the key messages for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations. The theme is LESS SCREENTIME. MORE GREENTIME!
Shocking as this may sound, but some people think that the best way to learn and appreciate the natural wonders that surround us is to turn off your TVs, computers, iPads, video games and electronic gadgets, and get out and get your hands dirty!
Your grandparents will probably agree with me, but when I was your age, we didn’t have all the distractions that you have today.
But we were lucky in that a lot of the things we learnt about nature came through our own experiences…. like playing with our friends down at the local creek, growing our own vegies in the backyard or going fishing with our dad.
Sometimes I think it’s a bit sad that kids these days don’t always have these experiences as often as we used to. Especially kids who grow up in urban areas.
But here in the Southern Highlands, I think you’re still very lucky because of how close we are to nature.
And I think it’s absolutely wonderful to see our local schools recognising this, and are helping their students in a practical way through the construction of outdoor learning areas such as this, which I know will be enjoyed by students and teachers for many years to come.
And to know that this has all come about through community partnerships with your school, parents, volunteers, TAFE, National Parks, Moyengully, and Council’s own Environment Levy, makes this a particularly special moment.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you that have helped turn this Bush Tucker Garden into a reality.
Thank you to the teachers, parents, friends, volunteers, students and all the other groups that have contributed to this project.
The community really is at the heart of everything we do here in the Highlands, and it’s fantastic to see such a vibrant and dedicated group of teachers and parents who are passionate about educating our children and helping make the world a better place for them in which to live.
Councillor Juliet Arkwright
Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire Council