Community News

Helping our Youth take the lead in environmental innovation

Our youth are grappling with the potential impacts of climate change on their future, while feeling powerless to do something about it and detached from the decision-making process of our leaders.

Young people in the Northern Rivers have big ideas for addressing local environmental issues and the Green Innovation Awards are providing a platform for them to be heard. That is why the Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) are backing the Awards this year, awarding the program the NRCF Chairperson’s Grant in 2020.

“In supporting the Green Innovation Awards, the NRCF want to help to produce leaders of the future who care for and are passionate about our environment,” said NRCF Chair John Callanan. “The NRCF is focused on improving community well-being for the Northern Rivers and our youth have a vital role to play in the long-term conservation of this unique region.”

Founded by chiropractor Dr Bridie Cullinane, the Green Innovation Awards are an environment and science competition for primary school and high school students, where they are challenged to invent, develop and present ideas for greener living to a panel of environmental scientists and influential leaders.

“The opportunity to present their ideas before key stakeholders in the community is really powerful because it makes those students feel that their concerns for the environment are being heard and that there is support for the solutions that they provide,” said Dr Cullinane.

“We see it as vital that young people not only care for their environment but believe that they can make a positive impact for the future,” she said.

Last year, ideas included how to breed crickets as a sustainable food source, raising awareness of reusing and recycling clothing, through to reducing water waste from school bubblers.

The Green Innovation Awards are open to school kids across the Northern Rivers. Expressions of interest are currently open to 3 July, with final entries due by 23 September 2020.

The Green Innovation Awards team are adapting to the changing situation caused by COVID-19. As term 2 kicks off in NSW with many children still learning from home, they are encouraging students to take part in ‘Worksheet Challenges’ at home or in school. The worksheets help students spark, develop and pitch innovative ideas.

“The team at the Green Innovation Awards hope that students find this thought provoking, uplifting and a great way to focus their energy in a positive way,” said Dr Cullinane.

If you want to get your school involved, visit

For more information on the NRCF, visit