Roots & Shoots Team Meet in Melbourne for Annual Conference

Recently members of the Roots & Shoots and National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) met in Melbourne to develop the strategic plan for Roots & Shoots. In addition to the State Coordinators from WA (Bill Waterer), Victoria (Sarah Triolo), Queensland (Peta Wilson) and New South Wales (K-Lynn Smith), members of the NYLC met to discuss the vision and mission for the next year.

Led by the Roots & Shoots General Manager, Margaret Morton, the team were joined by Guest Speaker, Thomas King – CEO of Food Frontier. Thomas was Young Victorian of the Year in 2015 and at just 22 years of age is head of an organisation changing the way we think about what we eat.

Above photo: NYLC Team
L-R Back row: Ashley Avci, Sophie Leonard, Asitha Samarawickrama, Lisa Thomas, Bec Everett, Shannon Samuel, Jessica Pinder
L-R Front row: Asha Mortel, Becky Godwin, Mary Isabel and Glenn Low
Absent: Emily Schwark, Maya Yaffe and Ella Loeffler.

From Rubble to Wetland – a Roots & Shoots Project

Using a Roots & Shoots approach, Athol Road Primary School in Victoria converted an unused area of their school into a sustainable wetland, complete with native wildlife.

An area of unused land in the school was identified as the perfect opportunity for a student-led project that would benefit animals, people and/or the environment (APE). The area was then mapped and found to contain stormwater drainage points. The students decided on a wetland project, which are natural features of the Greater Dandenong region.

With the help of the staff, students, parents and local businesses, the area was converted into a sustainable wetland. Once complete, the students celebrated by introducing native turtles and frogs into the wetland.

This project has served to benefit all aspects of APE:

A: Not only is the wetland home to the turtles and frogs that were released, it has attracted many other native species of birds, insects and reptiles.

P: The landscape acts as a teaching and learning platform for the students who regularly visit the area for weekly hands-on classes. Being outdoors amongst nature has proven benefits both physically and mentally, and has been shown to improve memory, concentration and productivity – all important factors in the classroom.

E: The wetland is a sustainable, fully-recirculating setup. Wetlands are a natural feature of the region and the indigenous species of grasses and plants that were selected to remove pollutants and improve the water quality. Many materials used to make the wetland were recycled from around the school and the local community.

Youth-led projects not only help develop real-life skills, but they also foster a sense of pride, ownership and appreciation for the world around them. This is important in developing the skills necessary to become compassionate leaders. What a wonderful achievement by Athol Road Primary School!


For more info on how you can join Roots & Shoots and create an amazing project in your school visit

Roots & Shoots Book Project Receives a letter from Dr. Jane! Only If We Care – Paola Ion

This is the story of an 11-year-old girl inspired by Dr. Jane Goodall to write a book for a science project. Paola Ion from Subiaco Primary School contacted the Roots and Shoots Program and asked us for help with her project, which was provided by our R&S National Coordinator in Perth, Mr. Bill Waterer. Paola has written a fabulous book entitled Only if We Care. Her book is written through the perspective of the chimpanzee David Greybeard and can be found HERE: Only If We Care by Paola Ion

Paola Ion, aged 11, holding her book open to a lovely letter sent by Dr Jane Goodall. The letter has been published on the opening page.

Paola threw herself into the project, working incredibly hard and was subsequently awarded a perfect score; topping her year in this assignment. Most importantly, Paola gained an interest in what we do at Roots and Shoots and how she can make a positive difference to our world. We hope she becomes a lifelong member.

R&S is about ‘Hope through Action’ – the action of people to stand up for the environment, other animals and people who need our help. To solve global problems at a local level.

Paola and her friend Isla Purse have taken to the streets on our behalf and have run two successful community stalls raising close to a hundred dollars…well done girls and a big thank you from everyone at Dr. Jane’s Roots and Shoots movement of which you are now part. The girls are planning another stall in the coming month. You go girls!

Isla Purse (left), aged 11, from Perth Modern High School and Paola Ion, (right), aged 11, from Subiaco Primary School running their stall at the Subiaco Farmers Market

For more info on R&S Projects visit

Roots & Shoots Delegates Gather at Windsor Castle

It’s that exciting time of the year again when Dr Jane Goodall joins young Roots & Shoots delegates from around the world at Windsor! Over the week, at St George’s House in Windsor Castle, the delegates will share perspectives and collaborate on action plans to address sustainability issues when they return home.

Our very own Keely, from our WA Roots & Shoots team, is proudly representing JGIA. As well as connecting with her peers from around the globe, Keely will share our Australian campaigns, projects and successes, and discuss how we can work together to create positive change as a global R&S community. Have fun Keely and we can’t wait to hear all about it!

If you want to find out how you can be part of exciting opportunities like this in the future, check out our National Youth Leadership Council and keep your eye on how to apply in 2019!

Take Action on Palm Oil for Habitat Protection

This term our R&S campaign is Habitat Protection, with a focus on sustainable palm oil. Most people know about the devastating effect the commercial palm oil industry has had on orangutan, tiger, and elephant populations in Southeast Asia, but did you know that palm oil now threatens African great apes too? Join us this term to learn about how you can take a stand for habitat protection. Campaign information and resources are available on our R&S website or email us on for more information. And if you’re not already involved, make sure that you sign up to Roots & Shoots and don’t forget to follow our R&S Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to keep up to date with R&S projects and updates across Australia.

Get to know your WA Roots & Shoots State Coordinator, Mr Bill Waterer.

Bill (pictured left above) is one of our dedicated volunteers working for the Roots and Shoots Program. Roots & Shoots is a global, youth led program supporting local conservation projects.

Bill has a dual role being both the National Coordinator for the Roots & Shoots Program and the State Coordinator for Western Australia. He is based in Perth and has built up a fantastic team of 10 volunteers who assist him.

Bill’s interest in Great Apes started as a volunteer with The Orangutan Project. During the 2006 Jane Tour, he was asked by JGIA to be Dr Jane’s driver around Perth for the week of that tour.  It was during one of those drives that Dr. Jane asked Bill to get involved with Roots and Shoots Program; not only did Bill’s affiliation with JGIA start, he started a close personal friendship with Dr. Jane as well.

Bill’s journey started with just one Primary School, one public High School and one private Girls College and from there the team has grown to 22 active school groups involved in Roots & Shoots programs today.

“My success has been because of the wonderful team of volunteers I work with, many of whom have been with the R&S Program for 5 years or more”, Bill said. “The glue that keeps us all together is personal dedication and a belief in Dr Jane’s fundamental philosophy of “young people making a difference” and encouraging young people to develop projects affecting their local areas.   Dr Jane has also shown a special interest in a number of our projects, particularly projects involving our indigenous groups, of which we are very proud”.

Follow our R&S Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to keep up to date with events happening across Australia.

The War on Waste and Plastics Continues

Following on our fantastic Thumbs up for Turtles plastic-free campaign in Term 2, we are excited to see all the buzz around reducing waste and plastic continuing this month. Firstly it was of course #PlasticFreeJuly and in case you haven’t heard, the ABC’s War on Waste is back on TV on Tuesday evenings. We are particularly thrilled that our friends Jo and Corina from Good for the Hood and 5 for Ryde are involved, and have even created a downloadable War on Waste Action Toolkit.

In case you haven’t yet joined the movement, you can follow these steps to get started on reducing your waste:

  • Use reusable drink bottles and coffee cups
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Say no to plastic straws or use a reusable metal straw
  • Buy unpackaged (and odd-shaped) fruits and vegetables
  • Know your waste and bin etiquette, and pick up litter

As Dr Jane says “everyone of of us makes a difference, everyday” so join us in reducing your waste and making your difference today!

Winning the Battle Against Ocean Plastics

June was a big month for JGIA’s anti-plastics campaign with both World Environment Day and World Oceans Day! In fact, throughout June we joined Dr. Jane in being motivated to take action against single-use plastic every single day. Through our wonderful Thumbs Up For Turtles! ocean plastics campaign, we battled plastic pollution by swapping single-use plastic for reusable alternatives, picking up rubbish from our beaches and waterways and talking to our local bars and restaurants who still use plastic straws and cutlery. We would love to share YOUR stories about what you did to combat plastic use this month – email our amazing National Youth Leadership Council on and don’t forget to send us your #ThumbsupforTurtles photos too!

And if you’re not already involved, make sure that you sign up to Roots & Shoots and check out our TUFT webpage. And of course don’t forget to follow our R&S Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to keep up to date with events happening across Australia.

Roots & Shoots Stories from Around Australia

We are thrilled to share so many exciting R&S stories and successes this month! Firstly a huge congratulations and pant-hoot to one of our 2018 National Youth Leaders Sophie Leonard on being awarded the Soroptimist International Fremantle Scholarship. We applaud Sophie’s passion and dedication to making the world a more compassionate and peaceful place, particularly for women and girls. We’re sure Dr Jane would be proud!

She would also be proud of Kalkie State School students in Bundaberg, Queensland. They have been busy caring for local endangered loggerhead turtles and creating “Fantastic Not Plastic” 100% cotton shopping bags for special people who visit their classroom to see their work, or who have done amazing environmental work themselves. These 25 limited edition bags are illustrated with sea animals, endangered animals or in Dr Jane’s case, chimpanzees!

In other great Roots & Shoots news, on 2 June some of our Victorian R&S Volunteers travelled to Phillip Island Nature Parks to clean up one of the island’s beaches. Find out exactly what happened by visiting our R&S Project Page. And finally, one of our young R&S members Murphy made a fantastic video about our Chimp Champion Program for a homework assignment. Thank you, Murphy, for sharing Dr Jane’s message that everyone can make a difference no matter how young they are!

Thumbs up for Turtles! Thumbs down for Ocean Plastics

Have you seen the Thumbs Up For Turtles! campaign created by our amazing National Youth Leadership Council? The TUFT campaign is part of a global Roots & Shoots migration project initiated at the Global Roots & Shoots conference in Windsor, UK, in 2016. Conference attendees selected the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle as a flagship species for this oceans plastics campaign, as it is a species that shares its distribution range with several Roots & Shoots member countries.

Our campaign goals are to raise awareness of the human impact on our oceans, provide easy alternatives to replace everyday disposable items, introduce a ban on single use disposable cutlery in Australia and establish a network of ‘Turtle Friendly’ cafes and restaurants.

To get involved, join our Thumbs up for Turtles Campaign by signing up to Roots & Shoots and checking out our TUFT webpage. Then post a photo with the hashtag #ThumbsupforTurtles and tell us what you do to reduce your impact on the oceans. And of course don’t forget to follow our R&S  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to keep up to date with events happening across Australia or email us on