More than 200 Ipswich school students learnt how they can make a positive change to the environment at the inaugural Ipswich City Council Youth Sustainability Summit last month.
The summit, the first of its kind in the Ipswich region, was part of Ipswich City Council’s commitment to developing a more sustainable community.
Healthy Land and Water Senior Project Coordinator Rachael Nasplezes was a featured speaker at the summit and used her time to discuss the benefits of nurturing the region’s waterways.
Rachael educated students about the importance of the Bremer River to the Ipswich region, and explained how the river links to the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.
The presentation also touched on threats to the Bremer River, which has suffered extensively due to major flood events in recent years.
Ms Nasplezes shared photos of flood plumes to illustrate the damaging effects of sediment pollution, and showed how the problem begins in the upper catchments when riverbanks break down, causing tonnes of mud and soil to flow the Brisbane River and ultimately Moreton Bay.
Rachael discussed solutions to the problems affecting the river system, and also provided younger students with tips on sustainable living they could take home and action themselves, including reducing litter and making a concerted effort to recycle.
High school students in attendance delved into more advanced discussions surrounding the importance of water-sensitive urban design and the benefits of greening urban areas.
Students were excited to see the benefits of removing concrete drains and returning creeks to their natural state, which enables the waterway to function as a stormwater management system and become a desirable recreation space where the community can relax and play.
The presentation helped to improve the knowledge base of students who gained a better understanding of their local river and the effects they can have on the health of their local catchments.
Elsewhere at the summit, guest speaker and Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis spoke to the students about backyard composting and worms, while other presentations focused on food production and reducing waste.