Where are they now? – Ruby Albury

Name: Ruby Albury Age: 25 School: Melbourne Girls' College (VIC)

What Kids Teaching Kids events were you involved in?

  • 2006 - International Youth Coastal Conference (Keynote Presentation)
  • 2008 - International Youth Coastal Conference (Keynote Presentation)
  • 2008 - Ambassador for Kids Teaching Kids at the Indigo Youth Book Fair in Busan, South Korea.

What topic/s did you present on?

In 2006, I was part of the keynote presentation on sustainable seafood. The presentation covered some of the key issues with current practices used by fisheries around the world, some of the technological developments that are improving those practices and highlighted more sustainable options available for seafood lovers to buy responsibly. In 2008, MGC collaborated with a primary school to develop a presentation which focused on how human practices on land can have impacts on oceans, due to all ecosystems being linked. We used the Short-Finned Eel as a symbolic species to highlight this connection, as it is an catadromous species; living most of their lives in freshwater but migrating to the ocean to spawn.

Do you remember how you felt before and after presenting?

I have always been quite an anxious person, and I struggled hugely with public speaking. I used to lose sleep weeks before any presentation, even have panic attacks when trying to write them. It steadily got worse as these manifestations of my anxiety reinforced the negative experience of public speaking. I would try my hardest to avoid most school-based presentations, sometimes even resorting to skip school. These presentations for KTK provided me with a strong positive drive which was able to override the negative emotions, and enabled me to push through my fear to present. After following through with these presentations I felt elated that I had pushed through my fears and presented in front of larger audiences than ever. I was immensely proud of myself for this achievement, as well as generally proud to be part of a conference and presentation that were so meaningful. My self-confidence received a large boost following these conferences!

What other memories do you have of the Kids Teaching Kids conference/s?

My strongest memory is of the immense positive energy of those conferences. Despite the fact that topics were mostly quite upsetting and concerning, everyone approached them with such optimism and determination. Everyone was focused on the solutions and how to enact change. It was so liberating and re-energizing to be surrounded by so many people that cared about the environment. It was such an incredibly motivating and encouraging program to be a part of.

Did you learn anything new at the conference/s that have helped you later in life?

I learned heaps! These events are so action-packed! Every school present had been developing presentations on different topics, and I had the opportunity to see so many. For example, I remember learning about the main sources of oceanic pollution and how I could reduce my personal contribution, as well as that of my school. The main resonating lessons I took from these conferences was a stronger belief in myself and my capabilities, both in terms of public speaking and in being a responsible and sustainable global citizen.

Tell us what you have been up to since your involvement with Kids Teaching Kids.

Immediately following high school I undertook a six month volunteering project as a science teacher in a remote community in Vanuatu. Upon my return I completed my Bachelor of Science and Honours degrees in Conservation Biology at Monash University. Since then I have worked as a casual consultant undertaking threatened species surveys and worked at Monash Uni teaching environmental biology. I am also lucky enough to have squeezed in a lot of travel and a lot of volunteering on various conservation and scientific projects. In the near future I plan to undertake my PhD, with a focus on wildlife conservation and habitat restoration.