ACT otherWISE 2007 Project Summary and Highlights

By Rachael Millsom

2007 has been an exciting year for ACT otherWISE as we have secured further investment to continue the program, run more workshops, have grown to 130 young Canberrans on our network list, and worked to support a number of youth projects addressing sustainability.

Investments & Partnerships

ACT otherWISE started in September 2006 through the support of ACT Environment. This initial investment of $15000, plus $5000 from RMIT University and the invaluable in-kind contributions of Coalition organisations and members and inspired community members and young people, allowed ACT otherWISE to get started and run until August 2007. ACT otherWISE then successfully applied early in the year for a $10000 Youth Change Maker grant to support young Canberrans with a number of their sustainability projects and further training. In July 2007, ACT otherWISE received approximately $60,000 over three years from the Dept of Health to continue the program with the goal of promoting and helping to achieve a more sustainable and healthy ACT. We were also notified in September that we had received another $15000 investment from ACT Environment.

ACT otherWISE is immensely grateful to our financial investors, as well as to the Conservation Council for hosting the project, and for its network of fantastic supporting organisations and individuals including the University of Canberra, Office of Sustainability ACT (TAMS), CIT, ACT Sustainable Schools, Nature and Society Forum and AAEE.


This year ACT otherWISE ran its second facilitator training and five youth workshops.

The workshops in 2007 included:

  • February – a single workshop was run for a group of seven Venturer Scouts covering the ecological footprint and action planning.
  • March – a two session workshop for 18 students in year 10 at Orana High School
  • April – two mini workshops for 45 – 50 young people at the 2007 Youth InterACT conference
  • October – Facilitator Training for 7 facilitators (including myself). Cameron ran facilitator training on October 11th for a bunch of enthusiastic facilitators, many who have already assisted at the current youth workshops. Of these four have already assisted at November workshops
  • November – three session workshop for 21 students in year 10 at Orana High School, the other half of year 10 students that didn’t do the workshop in March
  • November – three session workshop run over three consecutive Wednesday evenings at the Griffen Center for 15 youth (the final session is next Wednesday!) At a busy time of the year these fun, enthusiastic and passionate youth made the workshop. ACT otherWISE looks forward to working with them on projects next year.

Youth Projects

In between workshops ACT otherWISE has supported youth from the November 2006 open workshop in their various projects, which included obtaining some funding through a Youth Change Makers grant provided by the Foundation for Young Australians.

The projects included:

  • A Uranium documentary by youth, for youth, which has been shown at the Dendy cinema in Canberra in its current form – the youth are looking at spicing up the second half of the documentary and there are still some interest groups that they haven’t interviewed yet. We look forward to seeing the final product.
  • A sewing group which ran a sewing workshop for youth in August and just recently (18th November) held a fantastic clothes swap event. It was a successful afternoon; there were heaps of clothes, young people, music, drinks and yummy homemade nibbles. The group plan on running more sewing workshops and clothes swap events next year. We look forward to it!
  • In August this year we supported 3 workshop participants and 10 other members of the network to attend a youth LEAD workshop run by OzGreen. Each of them returned from the workshop inspired and motivated to do more to create a sustainable and healthy Canberra. The other YouthLEAD participants have also joined our network.

Community and the ACT otherWISE network

But that’s not it! ACT otherWISE has continued to build networks in the community, as well as run other activities for young people in Canberra including:

  • An October monthly activity: 8 youth caught up at Floriade to attend an actewAGL sustainability workshop and share a lunch together.
  • A November monthly activity: the first of quarterly energy workshops run by HEAT (the Home Energy Advice Team)
  • In November ACT otherWISE ran the ecological footprint activity at an introductory SEE-Change event in south Woden
  • Bi monthly coalition meetings
  • Further development of training and workshop materials
  • We look forward to visiting a sustainable house tomorrow with existing members, their family and friends.

Next Year

Another exciting development was finding out the ACT otherWISE received money from an ACT Environment Grant, this has meant we are now running monthly activities, such as the energy workshop and visit to Floriade. As well as that it means next year we will be employing another person for one to two days for approximately six months initially to assist on the ACT otherWISE project. The position description is here if you know anyone who may be interested let them know.

So apart for having an extra person on board next year the following events, projects and activities are in development (and we’d love for you to be involved!):

  • Another facilitator training workshop
  • Four more youth workshops including another open workshop, one in Gungahlin, one with SEE-Change and another with CROWK.
  • Monthly activities including quarterly energy workshops, a river watch activity, a visit to Australian ethical Investments and more!
  • A celebration event for World Environment Day 2008
  • Developing and publishing a booklet on how young people in the ACT are living and acting otherWISE.
  • Continued coalition meetings.

I’m sure there will be many more exciting projects on the agenda!


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