Emerging environmentalist, Izzy Wisler, was one of 56 college students from across New Zealand and surrounding islands to experience the recent BLAKE Inspire environmental leadership course.
Held in Hamilton during the Autumn break, and hosted by the Sir Peter Blake Trust and the Ministry for the Environment, the week-long course is designed to develop leadership skills as well as provide knowledge around sustainability and the environment.
“I want to do marine biology, so it fits in really well with the things I am interested in,” explained Kuranui College student Wisler. “I got to meet a lot of marine biologists, and people doing things that I want to do”.
Activities ranged from the Royal New Zealand Navy talking about what they do in terms of sustainability, to chatting with NIWA scientists about water pollution. The experience also focused on the cultural and political impacts, with the students visiting the local Marae, and talking to the Hamilton City Mayor Andrew King.
“We got to ask him questions and challenge him on his ideas and plans concerning sustainability.
“I also loved speaking with the NIWA scientists, and learning about all of the opportunities we have now, not just in the future. There are so many things that we can do, and lots of opportunities for volunteering.”
Wisler is passionate about how we look after our environment and believes that the leadership course has given her confidence. “I feel much more confident coming back into school to talk about what we learnt. These are real issues which I need to bring back into school and talk to people about. It helped me not feel too nervous about what other people think about those topics, and that there are so many opportunities out there for me to help.
“It’s really pushed me to think about more sustainable practices,” added Wisler.
After she leaves Kuranui, Wisler plans to study Marine Biology and Environmental Law at Victoria University in Wellington next year.