Catrina is co-founder and CEO of Millennium Kids, a non-profit environmental youth organization. Grown from a youth led annual conference in 1996, Millennium Kids is a dynamic organisation for young people who are engaged and empowered to identify community issues and create positive change. Millennium Kids nurtures and applies the passion for the environment shown by young people in an adult-dominated world, through a dynamic process that allows young people to learn new skills, identify their superpowers and tackle the big issues. Catrina has led young people locally, regionally and internationally to work to address deforestation and loss of natural environments at the local level since 1991. Millennium Kids launched the Green Lab in 2020; a citizen science and action program designed by young people to increase, protect and monitor tree canopy within the Greater Perth area. Green Lab was named a Top 14 Innovator project by the World Economic Forum in 2021. Catrina is an educator and she is currently a committee member on the newly formed Western Australian Tree Canopy Advocates.
Treenet Symposium Speaker
Catrina Luz Aniere
Thursday 7th September
Millennium Kids: youth leading change
In the early 1990’s a teacher mused that environmental education would one day have the highest priority. Over several years she’d led students to adopt landscapes and working with other teachers had embedded environmental education in cross-curriculum processes. In 1995 with her students she attended the first United Nations Environment Program Children’s Environmental Conference, where the rights of youth to have a say about their world was highlighted. This conference was the catalyst that brought together in Western Australia a team of young people and adults to support youth to make a difference. In 1999 Millennium Kids Inc began and young people have been voicing their concerns, pitching ideas, making change and caring for their local environment since then. The processes developed by Millennium Kids focus on hearing youth and facilitating meaningful opportunities for them to take local action to implement their ideas. By highlighting Millennium Kids’ learnings through a series of case studies, the highs and the lows, this presentation will inspire thought on how young people might be included in other stakeholder engagement models – they are the changemakers who will inherit the planet, after all.
Friday 8th September
Green Lab – kids speaking for the trees
Since 1991 trees have been on the Millennium Kids agenda. Kids get it. Trees keep the planet cool, provide habitat for wildlife and are good for our health. In 1991 a project was established at a primary school in Western Australia that put a local piece of bushland at the centre of the curriculum. Over the next 20 years students planted trees there, monitored their progress, and worked with stakeholders to identify issues and challenges with the aim of integrating ongoing educational and land care opportunities into a long-term framework for the school. By 2005 many schools in the same local government area had adopted bushland and were actively caring for country but staff changes, other priorities, and a shift in the political landscape brought new challenges to environmental education. Through formal surveys and informally young people repeatedly called for greater tree protection and environmental care. In 2020 as young people were clamouring for change, to address their concerns about climate change and deforestation Millennium Kids launched a new program based on learnings from the previous decades. Green Lab was formed. Green Lab is a citizen science and action program designed by young people to increase, protect and monitor tree canopy within the Greater Perth area. This presentation explores a pathway to change, with the Millennium Kids at the helm, envisioning their 2071 and their ambition for 30% canopy cover across the Greater Perth metropolitan area.