As an overcrowded city with more than 7 million inhabitants, Hong Kong is full of life and vigour. But the city’s magnificent skyscraper-filled design comes at a heavy price: exceedingly high air pollution levels. Fortunately, local youth are passionate and ready to step up to protect this place so many of us call home.
According to research done by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Hong Kong youth are becoming more serious about environmental conservation. To provide these young environmental enthusiasts with opportunities to act on their passion, TNC is launching its second Hong Kong-wide Nature Works Programme.
Developed in partnership with Seeds Training, Nature Works Hong Kong is a fun, knowledge-enhancing programme designed for students aged 14 to 17 all over Hong Kong. The schedule includes a four-day Experiential Learning Camp, four Advisor Workshops on Professional Skills, 10-week Mentorship with Volunteer Advisors, two Mock Pitch days, a Student Project Pitch day, a Project Execution phase, and a Project Review and Ambassador Selection.
Not only is the Nature Works Programme free of charge, but outstanding students may be given further opportunities to visit TNC’s conservation programmes in the Asia Pacific region. Last year’s student participants attest that the programme taught them indispensable skills, including leadership and cooperation. Furthermore, 77 per cent of students claimed the program helped improve their creativity, 75 per cent saw improvements in perseverance, and 85 per cent of them have become better communicators.
TNC’s Director Louisa Ho states that while the youth are taking the lead and demanding change, they often lack the skills and tools needed to achieve their goals.
“We believe that solutions are achievable with the right knowledge and the right tools,” she says. “Nature Works Hong Kong provides a platform to bridge this gap, connecting students with experienced volunteer corporate advisors.”
Students and teachers alike said the programme was successful in helping students gain real-world skills and develop leadership skills.
“What the project is doing is helping to build good Hong Kong citizens who are able to stand up and speak on environmental issues of concern,” says Mike Kilburn, Senior Manager of Environment at Hong Kong Airport Authority.
Although the programme runs from March to June, students can rest assured that activities will not interfere with their school schedule. Apart from the four-day training camp scheduled for March 29 to April 1 (Easter break), all subsequent meetings and events take place on Saturdays.
Students meet with volunteer corporate advisors on April 2nd, then soon after (April 16 & 23, May 7 & 14), they will take part in project management workshops. The first and second mock pitch days take place on May 21 and 28 respectively, then students make their final project pitch on June 4.
The success of both last year’s programme (sponsored by the Hong Kong Airport Authority and Veolia) and the pilot event held in 2013 shows that Nature Works Hong Kong is the ultimate platform for young environmental leaders of tomorrow. To build your network, enjoy an environmentally-friendly adventure that doubles as a learning opportunity, and gain invaluable skills that are applicable to all areas of life, apply for Nature Works Hong Kong before March 18. For more information, visit https://www.tnc.org.hk/natureworks/.