Kia ora koutou. I’m Anja, a Stage 2 Pinnacle student with a love for outdoor education and conservation.
Being immersed in nature and the outdoors from an early age has led me to develop a strong appreciation for the natural world. I feel passionate about taking action on environmental issues which Aotearoa faces, whether these be on land, marine or freshwater. I am also really interested in the relationship that outdoor adventure and environmental education can have. I think it’s awesome how you can take a tramping, climbing, or a kayaking adventure and activities alike, as an opportunity to carry out conservation work and learn about the surrounding environment.
I find a lot of meaning in educating and teaching others about the natural environment, the threats that it faces and how we can help. Being a leader with Forest & Bird Youth Auckland, a representative for the F&BY National Committee, part of the Auckland Young Leaders Sustainability programme, an outdoor instructor and a snorkel instructor, allows me to do this. I have also been fortunate to attend BLAKE Inspire this year, where myself and other young environmental ambassadors were able to develop our leadership, knowledge and change-making abilities. Bringing my learnings from this has helped me to develop a new environmental project at school, which provides a chance for students to grow practical conservation skills through class and outdoor learning.
To continue with my passions for education and adventure I am planning to walk Te Araroa. Te Araroa means “the long path”, representing the fact that it is a tramping trail the length of New Zealand. Whilst this trip will include multiple river crossings, mountain conquering, tent sleeping, trail-mix munching, and wearing through a couple pairs of shoes, I will also stop at various schools along the trail. Here I will encourage youth to start conservation projects at their own schools, through education about environmental issues in their specific, and potentially more remote areas.
In the future, I’m keen to have a career in outdoor instruction, environmental education and working as a DOC Ranger. Challenges excite me and I can't wait to do some more adventuring and challenge my self-understanding at Outward Bound soon.