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March 2010
June 2010
July 2010
Tasmanian Award for Environmental Excellence in Education 2010
Bookend acceptance speech given by Dr Niall Doran

The great thing about accepting this award on behalf of the Bookend team is the recognition it gives our diverse and exciting program.

For those who don't know much about us, Bookend's aim is to inspire students and the community with the potential to build positive environmental careers in a range of disciplines.

That's the short description, but we do that in a variety of ways across a variety of student ages:
  • We started as a University scholarship program, but we have now expanded well beyond that. Those scholarship students remain core to our program, however, in building links to and mentoring school students on the potential careers that lie ahead of them.
  • We host the superb Expedition Class program, run tirelessly by Andrew Hughes, allowing primary school students to follow and interact with on-ground adventures in real time.
  • We produce student-developed documentaries for older classes, from high school to college, with greater detail on the career paths available.
  • For the next age groups, we are facilitating a program with UTAS and Conservation Volunteers Australia that allows school leavers to 'taste test' environmental work on the ground.
  • And for older students, because learning never stops, we run community presentations, from small talks to major events and launches.
We do all this linking to other programs as far as possible. There is so much good work being done - e.g. AuSSI-Tas and Kids 4 Kids - that we do not need to reinvent the wheel.

All of this work is making its mark. One of our first scholarship students - Ninna Millikin, who is here tonight - now works with us on this program. Some of her work has recently been included as an extra on the international DVD release of a major documentary involving Hugh Jackman. There's not many recent graduates who could make that claim for their first work; and that's not bad for little ol' Tassie!

I am also extremely pleased to announce tonight that we have secured a partnership arrangement with SBS Television to promote this work around Australia.

The drive and funding for all this comes from those of us running the program. It is not our job, and we have no major grants or sponsors (although, for the businesses here tonight, we are prepared to change that!). At times this threatens to consume too much of our personal time and resources - and here I'm deliberately avoiding eye contact with my wife, who would only too readily agree.

But ultimately that's what it's all about. Those of us involved with Bookend do so because we believe we have been lucky with our careers and experiences, and we want to pass that opportunity on to others.

We also don't want to downplay the environmental problems that we face, but there has to be a better way than the (often media driven) obsession with anger, controversy and doom.

We need to INSPIRE, not terrify, the next generation.

Thank you.
4 June 2010,
coinciding with World Environment Day

July update

Prior updates:

June update     March update

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