Students from schools across NSW came together to celebrate the importance of water at the Georges River Environmental Education Centre in Chipping Norton. The students are part of the global Swarovski Waterschool program, first established in Austria in 2000 to educate and empower future generations to treasure and protect the world’s most precious resource. Delivered by environmental charity Earthwatch Australia, the 2022 Swarovski Waterschool Australia Flagship Event is the first of its kind.
Director of Educational Leadership at the NSW Department of Education, Dr. Alexandra Mandel, welcomes the opportunity for students to become water stewards.
“Water is precious and connecting. When we universally give students the knowledge and the opportunities to care for our waterways, be they the Georges River flowing through the land of the Bidigeal where I live now, or the Neusiedlersee lake in Austria near which I was born, or the countless other water bodies in between, we are enabling global citizenship.
We are ensuring that water remains life sustaining as our young global citizens work through their powerful words and responsible actions towards a sustainable future.”
The event saw students listen to local Aboriginal Elders and learn how to connect to Country, assess water health and use their voices to inspire their peers through water education workshops that they have spent six months canvassing and practicing in their local school community. To date, over 1,600 students have been reached in Australia, and 35 peer teaching workshops have been created. Australian schools joined a network of seven international Swarovski Waterschools, including Austria, Brazil, China, India, Thailand, Uganda, and the USA.
Earthwatch Australia CEO, Fiona Sutton Wilson, commented
"This partnership with the Swarovski Waterschool empowers Australian students to become leaders, teaching peers and the broader community about the importance of water, an invaluable resource to our communities.
Swarovski Waterschool Australia’s inception coincides with the signing of the Australia-Austria Strategic Cooperation Arrangement in 2021. We’re proud to further the bilateral relations between Austria and Australia, particularly focusing on strategic areas of climate, education, and culture.”
The Swarovski Waterschool program aligns with three of the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations: Quality Education, Clean Water and Sanitation and Partnerships for the Goals. As the eighth global Swarovski Waterschool location, and the first country to include ocean health, Australia continues this mission, broadening knowledge of our unique water systems, involving, and learning from cultural stakeholders, and working together to overcome water challenges.
About the Swarovski Waterschool
The Swarovski Waterschool program was established in Austria in 2000. What began as a local project has since evolved into a global initiative. It now operates within watershed areas of eight of the world‘s major rivers—Danube, Ganges, Yangtze, Nile, Amazon, Chao Phraya, Mississippi, Parramatta—in eight countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, India, Thailand, Uganda, and the USA.
With the support of local partners, the Swarovski Waterschool reaches and empowers children between the ages of 8 and 18, and their families and communities. It improves access to safe and reliable sources of water and adequate sanitation whilst providing tools and education for the next generation to address their local water challenges.
Since its inception, the Swarovski Waterschool has educated more than 760,000 students, engaged 15,000 teachers, and involved more than 2,500 schools globally.
Find out more at: www.swarovskiwaterschool.com