When the ball rolls your way
Bear Grylls Grandma Patsy Fisher once said; “When the ball rolls your way grab it. We so rarely get a second chance (although miraculously this does sometimes happen, too). And remember that life is what you make of it – and that is what makes the possibilities so exciting”.
I believe this quote relates well when summing the
opportunity I received at the Sir Peter Blake Young EnviroLeaders’ Forum (YELF)
in Nelson from April 16th to the 22nd. The opportunity was there, and I took
it, and in saying that I’m very happy I did. I can happily say that YELF was
one of the most incredible experiences in my life.
From learning about New Zealand’s biodiversity and ocean health to participating in media and photography workshops; I enjoyed every single second of my time in Nelson with the 2016 delegates. I have learnt about the trapping procedures taken in projects such as Project Janszoon and ocean acidification which is rising in New Zealand’s waters. But there was one idea that stood out to me throughout the week-long Forum. That idea is friendship and connections.
YELF organizer Hannah Prior and the Sir Peter Blake Trust CEO Shelley Campbell spoke to us at the start of the week. They spoke highly of the connections we were going to make and the lifelong friendships we’d build during the forum. I cannot agree more, I’ve made new friends, and connected with some of New Zealand’s future leaders. We have shared ideas and given each other our thoughts on New Zealand’s environmental issues.
As a Christchurch boy, we are highly affected by the fact that the earthquake has polluted our rivers. At YELF2016, I made connections with some Christchurch people who are keen to start cleaning up these rivers and planting native species around the waterways. In the district that I live in, I’m in conversation with the Department of Conservations (DOC) Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki, as to how we can get funding to start eradicating pests from a Lewis Pass hiking track. I’m already recognising the values I have received from the forum and the knowledge I’m bringing back to my community.
I can honestly say, YELF has changed my life and the way I see myself as a young leader. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hannah Prior, Shelley Campbell and the team at the Sir Peter Blake Trust for such an amazing opportunity. It has given me the courage to stand up and say something, and the connections needed to increase our biodiversity and ocean health in New Zealand.
To the delegates; I didn’t realize we’d become such good friends in less than a week! I encourage you to use your new knowledge in your communities and to use the connections you made during the forum to help you. Thank you for such an amazing time in Nelson!