Environmental Education

Sutherland Shire Environment Centre runs three very special environmental education projects benefiting kids of all ages: Speaking 4 the Planet, Nature and Learning, and our Scholarship Program.

Our kids are our future – let’s help them appreciate our beautiful environment and learn how to protect it.

Speaking 4 the Planet

Beat Plastic Pollution.  Connecting People to Nature.  Illegal Trade in Wildlife.  Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.  Raise your Voice, Not the Sea Level.  Think.Eat.Save. You might recognise these as recent World Environment Day themes. We want our kids to be able to speak up about their beliefs. How great would it be if they could speak up for the planet?

Speaking 4 the Planet is a world-first program – since 2013, high school students have been participating in Speaking 4 the Planet competitions. Primary school students joined in 2017 in a similar competition, Kids 4 the Planet. The focus of these annual competitions has been the World Environment Day themes. The events entail speaking, drama, art, writing and video categories that encourage kids to express themselves.

Speaking 4 the Planet and Kids 4 the Planet have both been so successful that educators are now introducing it to schools in different parts of Australia as well as overseas.

For more information please contact:

Phil Smith rephilled@hotmail.com Phone: 0412 338 687


Nature and learning

Did you know that spending time in nature improves your children’s health and benefits their learning? We can show you these and many other benefits for children of spending time in nature. Contact us to organise a Nature & Learning session at your school or group. This project is being run in conjunction with Sutherland Shire Council.

If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy nature with your children, you may also like our map with some family friendly walks around the Shire and Royal National Park.

If you’d like more information please contact:

Phil Smith: rephilled@hotmail.com Phone: 0412 338 687


R D Walshe Memorial Writing for the Environment Prize 2020

In 1991, Bob Walshe OAM, author and environmental activist, ran a short “Writing for the Environment” course in Sutherland. From this group grew Sutherland Shire Environment Centre. Bob’s wisdom, approach and ongoing support built a foundation that allows the Environment Centre to support members and local community organisations in their efforts to protect and improve their local areas in the Shire and its region.

Bob passed away in March 2018. His loss is felt keenly by all who had come in contact with him over his 94 years.

Writing for the Environment – call to Writers

Writing was a passion and a skill of Bob’s. He taught and inspired many people to write and write and write!

In honour of its founder, SSEC has established an award to value the role of writing in helping to shape a sustainable world.

Through the R D Walshe Memorial Writing for the Environment Prize, SSEC continues to value the role and place of writing in helping to shape a sustainable world – healthy people living on a healthy planet. This is a call to writers and those who want to write. The competition is for people who are Australian citizens and 25 years or younger. There are two age categories for the 2020 competition:

  1. Up to 18 years
  2. 19-25 years (Note: it is your age on the date of entry that determines your category.)

For the 2020 Writing for the Environment Prize, the SSEC Board will accept writing that is:

  • 800-1000 words. Submissions falling outside these word limits will be not be considered.
  • Original and on the topic.
  • Fiction.
  • Prose.
  • Creative and quirky.
  • Clear in purpose and audience.

The topic for 2020 for both categories is I am Earth.

Due date: Submissions must be received by 5pm Friday 3 July, 2020. Winners announced in early August.

Prize money of $500 is allocated for the winner of each age category. A prize of $100 will be given to a runner-up in each age category. Winners may be asked to provide evidence of their age.

The judging panel will comprise a representative of the Board of SSEC and two writers. By submitting your piece of writing, you give permission for the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre to publish it on its website and elsewhere as appropriate.

Submit via email to Phil Smith phil@ssec.org.au. Each entry must be a Word document (not pdf). At the top of the first page, write the title and your name; at the end of your piece of writing, write your name, age, location, word count, and where you heard about the competition.

If you have any questions, please contact Phil Smith phil@ssec.org.au or on 0412 338 687.

Read the top ten stories from our 2019 writing competition here: https://ssec.org.au/writing-for-the-environment-award-2019/


Sutherland Shire Environment Centre thesis Award

To encourage and support students undertaking studies on environmental issues around the Shire Sutherland region, Shire Environment Centre offers a Masters and Phd thesis Award through the University of New South Wales.

If you’d like to find out more, please contact: Tassia Kolesnikow tassia.kolesnikow@gmail.com


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