Teaching in your Green Lab

On 1st and 3rd September MK, in partnership with City of Bayswater, the City of Kalamunda and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, delivered Green Lab Professional Learning days for teachers, principals and gardeners from 13 schools in two local government areas.

Each day participants boarded a bus to travel through the LGA to gain perspective of the canopy and existing bushland and other significant green spaces. They met volunteers and workers who shared their roles in conserving these significant places.

In the City of Bayswater we were joined by Mayor Dan Bull who acknowledged that the learning day supported teachers in developing their own educational greening initiatives in schools.

“Schools have an opportunity to make a real difference to maintaining and increasing urban tree canopy as a number of significant trees are located on school grounds,” he said.

“The aim of the learning day is to equip teachers with the knowledge and tools to replicate activities and implement sustainability projects in their own school which will help address the impacts of climate change at a local level.”

“By embedding greening projects into the curriculum, schools can help the City address the metropolitan-wide decline in tree canopy and help combat the heat island effect.” City of Bayswater Mayor Dan Bull.

In the City of Kalamunda, at Lesmurdie Falls, participants walked through the landscape as Neville Collard gave us an Indigenous perspective on how they moved through the landscape from the hills to the ocean. In the afternoons schools developed plans to initiate their Green Lab school projects. Four schools have already submitted plans and contacted MK to discuss their next steps.

Yay for trees!

Photo courtesy City of Bayswater

Green Lab Celebration and Call to Action

Urban canopy stakeholders were invited to a celebration and call to action by Millennium Kids to join a facilitated session to discuss the charge;

“How do we collaborate to reforest our city by 2071?”

Fifty one participants joined Green Lab Patron Prof Lyn Beazley and Prof Hans Lambers at Kings Park Biodiversity and Conservation Centre to design the future.

Millennium Kids had surveyed 500 young people across the greater Perth metropolitan area in 2017. Deforestation and climate change were the top two issues identified.

In response to this Millennium Kids co designed Green Lab, a youth led project to protect, monitor and increase canopy. In 2021 the World Economic Forum recognised Green Lab as a top 14 #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge project.

Stakeholders were invited to help Millennium Kids plan a collaboration matrix in line with their Green Lab objectives as part of their contribution to the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration goals.

Green Lab Takes off with different kind of Launch

Over the last few months; the team at Millennium Kids consisting of Youth Board members, staff, education providers and volunteers have worked collaboratively to pull together a fun, accessible and portable online offering that is sure to inspire any student in upper primary or middle school.

It’s been an amazingly fun and supportive environment which is evident in the modules on offer. The development of the Green Lab Challenge has allowed the Youth Board and us older Millennium Kids too, the opportunity to showcase Millennium Kids passion for the environment in new way.

We were so excited to launch Green Lab Challenge in the time of COVID social distancing restrictions , but how? Usually our events are filled with dancing, music and lots of people. This time it was going to be a little different. We planned in the same way we always do, together. Instead of meeting face to face we moved to Webex meetings. We worked to make sure that everyone could be involved in a way that suited them whether they were dialling into the launch or attending in person.

The launch was held at The Platform in Perth. As attendees entered they visited a sample of workshops on offer in the online hub. Youth Board members Patrick showcased his amazing art work and collection of feathers as part of his ‘Birds in my Backyard’ project and Aelwen shared ‘Hidden Gems’ an exploration into urban green spaces in Victoria Park. Everyone decorated their rooms for maximum fun, all whilst ensuring social distancing and hygiene measures were followed. Aelwen even made a game by marking the floor with tape to encourage our guests to jump, hop and spin past images of green spaces in Vic Park.

There were also Citizen scientist workshops from MK mentors,too.  Wayne showed us how to spot birds in ‘Bird Survey 101’, Cathy showed us how to make bee hotels  through her ‘Nature’s Hotel’, Jos, from DBCA, gave us a tour around bushland with her ‘My Patch Virtual Tour’ and I showed how to map tree canopy to make a case to plant trees to keep your city cool with ‘Urban Canopy’.

Bella B, another Youth Board member, came online and opened the event from her home office in the South West. She started with an acknowledgement to country and Professor Lyn Beazley, our Green Lab Patron officially launched Green Lab Challenge. We had students from Rostrata Primary School dial in to ask Wayne, our MK Citizen Science Coordinator,  how to progress their citizen science project.

We were excited to have in attendance representatives from a wide range of institutions including Asha Stabback,Curtin University, who toured Prof David Gibson’s floating head through the space through a device utilising the Cisco Webex Teams platform. We were also joined by Howard Flinders, Department of Education, Amy Warner, City of Melville, Danielle Giles, Scitech, Maree Whiteley, Independent Schools Association and Dr Jane Chambers, Murdoch University.

Green Lab is a Millennium Kids Citizen Science program, funded by the Western Australian Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program and supported by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and Trillion Trees.

Green Lab Challenge – On Line Innovation

It’s World Environment Day and the kids think the planet needs a lot of loving so we are thrilled to launch our new online program where  you and you students  are invited to explore Green Lab Challenge, an online experience to inspire your students to explore the outside world.

Green Lab – where the natural world is your laboratory and where Kids ask the Big Questions:

  • Can increasing our canopy cool our city?
  • Why isn’t bush forever, forever?
  • What does that bird eat?
  • Is this plant important?
  • What was here before?

This online version – the Green Lab Challenge was developed to get you connected to your Green Lab space, learn some new skills and think about putting your Green Lab project into action at your school, local bushland or in your own backyard.

The online tools provide a pathway for students to learn about their local bushland through Citizen Science and HASS activities. Students can work through the modules, each having deliverables that need to be completed. Simply upload completed work to the Challenge site. Students are awarded Green Lab Micro Credentials when they complete activities.

At the end of the online program your students will be ready to start work on their own Green Lab project at your school or local bushland.

The Green Lab Challenge includes access to online teacher professional learning, online tutorials for your classroom from our Citizen Scientists and HASS presenters, log on instructions for students and parent permission forms.

Green Lab is a Millennium Kids Citizen Science program, funded by the Western Australian Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program and supported by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and Trillion Trees.

Millennium Kids Inc is a member of the Sustainable Schools WA alliance and the Green Lab project will provide significant opportunities for collaboration to strengthen resources for schools. Find out more Final About Green Lab Challenge

To register your school for more information email catrina@millenniumkids.com.au or call 0418 923 968.

It’s Official – Green Lab Got Funding!

Yes, it official – our Kids love trees and as part of #1000actionsfortheplanet they developed Green Lab so to all our tree buddies and collaborators we are so excited to announce that Millennium Kids has been successful in receiving a State National Resource Management NRM Community Stewardship Grant for Green Lab.

“Green Lab project enables young people to address concerns for their future through revegetation and long-term protection of natural areas. Our survey of over 500 young people identified climate change, and the loss of tree canopy as major environmental problems facing future generations. This is a youth led STEAM initiative, planned, undertaken and monitored by schools, community groups and LGA’s. Through it, young people will realise their vision for a connected canopy across Perth that creates a cooler climate, while providing habitat for native flora and fauna, and green spaces for people.”

The grant is for $308, 804. This will help us work with our partners and friends to support young people in their vision for a cooler, greener city.

We visited Coolbinia Primary School with Simon Millman, local MP, students and teachers to celebrate the first official Green Lab Biome – Coolbinia Primary School Bushland.

We’ll be keeping you updated regularly with Green Lab stories over the next three years!

Victoria Park Kids Have A Say

The Victoria Park Urban Tree Network wanted to get creative around greening their suburbs they called in the Kids. The one day workshop focused on what Kids thought were the most important issues – they mapped the issues to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and hey presto they used their ideas to set goals for the Urban Forest Strategy in the Town of Victoria Park.

What Kids said:

  • Help protect native animals
  • Get rid of waste from waterways
  • Increase trees
  • Plant bushes and plants with berries and seeds
  • Make a club to listen to kids and share good ideas
  • Help the poor people
  • Help encourage school’s to implement an understanding of SDG’s through education programs and sustainable building design

Thanks to the Australian Urban Design Research Centre the students had an opportunity to create a 3D model of their future suburb.

Their plans included:

  • high rise, shared spaces, units
  • underground and small spaces for cars
  • Trees and bushes, wall and rooftop gardens
  • Native animals
  • Places to relax, meet and play with the community to foster health and well being.

The city planners checked out their designs and calculated the tree canopy – all of them archieved a whopping 30% tree cover or more!

Exciting stuff. The young people presented their ideas to members of the Victoria Park Urban Tree Network, members of Council and other stakeholders.

The Kids team plan on encouraging other young people to get on board and have a say and will be sending out information about how to get involved in the coming weeks.

Green Lab is on a Roll

At the recent Millennium Kids AGM at Trillion Trees headquarters in Hazelmere, twenty young people aged 5-20 sat in the conference to pitch their unique project ideas to Board and Council members.

These ideas ranged from school-greening petitions, monitoring local wildlife, delivering education programs to anti-climate change alliances with corporate stakeholders in Australia and beyond. The Kids are responding to a dire need for environmental action in the Perth region. Millennium Kids is where children and young people are empowered to change the grim future presented to them by the media and older generations. It’s a place where things get done, by young people who care.

With Kids at the helm, the MK team worked together to turn the ideas into action through the Green Lab Project, a citizen science initiative to investigate and increase urban canopy cover in the Perth region to cool the city.

Based on the ideas of 500 young people in Western Australia, the project has been selected by StartSomeGood and Future Super as one of the six best climate change initiatives Australia wide in 2018.

Catrina-Luz Aniere, CEO and co-founder of the organisation, says the project was developed in response to a rising anxiety in children about their futures:
“We don’t tell anyone in Millennium Kids what we think the challenges are. They tell us. They put climate change at the top of their concerns along with deforestation and loss of habitat …these kids have got a lot more to lose than we have.”

The Green Lab Project will piece together the fragmented picture of Perth’s urban vegetation and biodiversity, encouraging collaboration and communication between local governments, businesses, and citizens for a more sustainable future and a cooler city.

To fund Green Lab Millennium Kids has been running a month-long fundraising campaign through StartSomeGood with a target of $10 000. The campaign was launched on the 4th of November with a screening of ‘Salt of the Earth’ at the Grand Cygnet Cinema in Como, and Kids ran their first Green Lab in South Perth on 25th November planting sedges for wildlife at Lake Douglas in South Perth.

Green Lab Meets Wetland Warriors

There is no better way to learn the science of the river than to be immersed in a series of river fieldtrips.

Millennium Kids worked with Wesley College Junior School teachers to design a 9 week scientists in residence program on the banks of the Swan River, exploring the past, learning about the human impacts on the river and citizen science programs to help the community engage with real science and river care.

Students visited the river each week along with scientists, citizen scientists and river stakeholders. Students took water samples, met with City of South Perth Environmental Management team and learnt about managing river and wetland health. Each fieldstrip saw the students writing down their observations, monitoring the site and developing inquiry questions and pitching ideas for river care.

The highlight of the program saw the students meet with Green Lab Ambassadors Prof Lyn Beazley and Patrick. Patrick, an avid bird watcher, painter and MK Youth Board member talked to the students about his passion for birds and the need to protect their habitats. Patrick talked about how he spends his weekends monitoring birds at his favorite bushland sites with his father and sending the data to Birdlife Australia.

Prof Lyn Beazley discussed her passion for science and the journeys it has taken her on, monitoring birds, visiting the Antarctic and using science to solve the big questions.

This is the second year of the program and the final week culminated in a sedge planting activity at Lake Douglas in Sir James Mitchell Park. Students planted 160 sedges on the banks of the lake for bird habitat.

‘ We need to make sure everyone knows we planted these sedges’ said Leroy. ‘ We don’t want the gardeners accidently cutting them down with their whipper snippers. The sedges are for the birds.’

The students at Wesley College will help Millennium Kids Wetland Warriors teams plant the site with native vegetation and monitor the plant growth over a three year period.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has funded Millennium Kids Wetland Warriors for three years, with a Community Rivercare Program grant. The Green Lab introduces a new generation of Perth citizens to help conserve the natural, cultural and social amenity values of the rivers, tributaries and urban drains within the Swan Canning Catchment.

Green Lab Coming to a Location Near You

What do you do when you have hundreds of kids wanting to know why our bushland and canopy aren’t being protected?

What do you do when kids see that trees are coming down in their suburbs and they are concerned our planet is getting hotter and canopy is deceasing in city areas?

You get them together, chat about what they want for the future, meet with stakeholders, make a plan and then start Green Lab – a youth led project focusing on increasing canopy to cool the planet.

This week the City of Bayswater and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions joined Millennium Kids at Lightning Swamp for the first two day workshop series with one hundred and thirty students from local primary schools.

Students and teachers from Bassendean Primary School, Weld Square Primary School, Hillcrest Primary School and West Morley Primary School explored the bushland site alongside scientists, artists, indigenous custodians and citizen science facilitators looking at the habitat and the pressure of the encroaching built environment. Students looked for birds, checked out tracks and scats and built a bott, which analysed soil.

Local bushcarers talked about the area and how it had changed over time.

“I didn’t know trees could communicate with each other.” Said one of the students. “There is so much we don’t know!”

“We have habitat trees in our school and we need to monitor them to ensure birds have food to eat.” Said another student.

At the end of the two days students pitched their ideas to the Mayor of City of Bayswater, Cr Dan Bull.

Students will work with their schools to develop their own Green Lab initiative and activate their sites at the end of the year to help the community understand the importance of canopy and the need to increase, protect and monitor trees in their local area to reduce the urban heat effect.

Students will be supported through the program with additional workshops and tools as they develop their program concepts.