MyRiver Bellinger

Caring for our land, our river, our future

MYRiveR Bellinger is a whole river basin youth engagement and environmental education project for schools in the Bellingen Shire. The program enables young people to become citizen scientists, test the health of the environment, identify key environmental threats and values, develop their own vision and implement their own action plans to sustain the health of their local waterways.  Funds raised from OzGREEN's SavetheTurtle crowd funding campaign will go towards this initiative.

Key Activities

Field Work  - 19 & 20 September

One day field work per school, conducting snapshot of ecosystem health (water quality testing, flow, biodiversity, and community attitude surveys)

Youth Congress - 21-22-23 September

Students analyse field data, identify ecological threats and values, develop a river vision and action plans.

Community Forum - 23 September

2-hour forum facilitated by students to report back the results of their investigations, vision and action plans and engage community support.

Bellingen Turtlefest - 1 October

Presentation by students at the Bellingen Turtle Festival to report back the results of their investigations, vision and action plans

Youth Action

Young people implement action plans with OzGREEN mentoring and support

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Outcomes 

  • Youth participation in real world science.

  • Youth voice and vision for the future of their river.

  • Innovative action plans developed to achieve this vision.

  • Strengthened youth capacity to measure, analyse, reflect, plan, vision and act.

  • Strengthened whole catchment thinking and links between schools and their communities.

  • Increased commitment to environmental stewardship and water conservation.

  • Increased active youth participation in the democratic process and civil society.

MyRiver Bellinger Background

MYRiveR Bellinger 2016 builds on previous work of OzGREEN and local schools in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The results of these MYRiveR projects were disturbing with:

  • 75% of sites showing moderate to severe degradation of riparian zone

  • 75% of sites showing high phosphate and low dissolved oxygen levels

In 2014 the young people involved were concerned about the health of their river, and organised the "Festival for Our Future" at Northbank Community Garden, to raise community awareness about riverhealth. We were delighted that nearly 500 people came to the event - clearly the people of Bello care about their river. They came to support local youth and listen to them. Six months later the turtle tragedy hit the Bellingen community like a hurricane.

OzGREEN's MyRiver Program Track Record 

Since 2002, OzGREEN has involved over 60 regional communities and 6,000 young people in MYRiveR in the Brisbane, Bremer, Murray-Darling, Hunter, Cooks, Georges, Nepean, Onkaparinga, Yarra and Derwent River basins and internationally in India, East Timor, Pakistan and Central America. 

The MYRiveR process builds collaborative relationships with indigenous leaders, business, government, non-government organisations, local communities, young people, schools and adults. Case studies from OzGREEN’s Australian and International programs, enable young people to gain first hand understanding of the global nature of local challenges. 


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