Where are they now? – Sarah Pilkington

Name: Sarah Pilkington Age: 23 School: South Gippsland Secondary College (VIC)

What Kids Teaching Kids events were you involved in?

  • 2008 International Youth Coastal Conference (Townsville)
  • 2008 Melbourne Water River Health Youth Conference (Melbourne)
  • 2009 Junior Landcare Victorian Youth Environment Conference (Lorne)

What topic/s did you present on?

In Townsville we presented a workshop on sea level rise in our local community of Wilsons Promontory National Park. Five of us were dressed up as flight attendants and the audience were our 'passengers on a plane' we flew them to the past present and future where they met our 'tour guide' who spoke to them about what has changed due to sea level rise. We used an interactive powerpoint presentation which showed different data and maps of where the sea level was expected to get to, and showed how this would effect our homes - It was so much fun! In Melbourne we held a 'footy show' type presentation. We'd created a video at school interviewing teachers and students about waste management, electricity use etc and had them as news snippets.

Do you remember how you felt before and after presenting?

I remember feeling a great sense of pride in the work we had put into our presentations. I felt inspired to make a change by what he had learnt. It was great to work in a team at a young age and build close relationships with your team mates whilst also increasing our passion together as we progressed.

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

Going to the Townsville conference was an amazing experience for me, and was really the starting point where I knew I wanted to work in an environmental field of some description. I met so many amazing people who were and still are doing incredible things for the environment, some I still keep in contact with today. I remember coming back to school and feeling a bit down, my group had formed such a close bond with each other and people at the conference and were so passionate to keep the momentum going, it was disheartening at first to get back to school and realise our peers were not as passionate about environmental issues.

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

I learnt that anything is possible. We managed to raise enough money to get all 8 (I think?) students to Townsville for the conference. We had a great deal of interest and support from local business' and organisations who were extremely interested in what we were doing. A big lesson I learnt was that team work was key. Our group weren't all neccesarily friends when we began the journey but became so close and are still great mates today! The biggest thing I learnt coming home from these conference's was that not everyone is going to hold the same concern and interest in Environmental protection as you, and you can't force it down their throat. Education is key, not a hot, argumentative head. This is something I have valued throughout my life and have been sure to educate people in a non-bias manner through the art of pleasant conversation!

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

In 2010 I graduate from high school at South Gippsland Secondary College. I moved to Darwin NT in January 2011 and spent three years studying Environmental Science specialising in Natural Resource Management at Charles Darwin University. I was able to have some amazing opportunities such as spending two weeks on Bare Sand Island conducting research on Flatback sea turtles and their nesting and breeding habits (with organisation AusTurtle - they are awesome!) I spent some time exploring and learning from Aboriginal elders in Arnhem Land, and spent three weeks in Nusa Tenggara Timor assisting a group who were visiting local villages to find out about Rice Padi production to complete a thesis. In 2014 I moved to Bendigo (Vic) and completed a one year Graduate Diploma of Education. I was so so lucky to find employment at a rural school about 45 minutes out of Bendigo called East Loddon P-12 College where I am teaching Maths and Science, which I absolutely LOVE! In all honesty I feel like I am where I am today because of the inspiration I gained from attending the Kids teaching Kids conferences. Arron and Richard were a huge inspiration in that time of my life and I strive every day to be that same inspiration for my students through my teaching.