Roots & Shoots’ Kya King, 12, crowned Environment Minister’s Young Climate Champion

Minister’s Young Climate Champion of 2021, Kya King with NSW Environment Minister and Treasurer, Matt Kean, MP.

Kya King, Roots & Shoots NSW member, has won the prestigious Minister’s Young Climate Champion title for her 2020 Mini Grants project of a bushfire recovery seed bank.

Treasurer and Environment Minister, Matt Kean, presented King with her prize at a ceremony in Sydney on 9 December, as part of the inaugural NSW Sustainability Awards produced by Banksia. The Young Climate Champion program recognises the next generation of environmental champions and climate-conscious innovators under 18, taking action into their own hands. “It is so inspiring to see young people like Kya stepping up and making a difference in their local community,” said Kean.

King was one of three finalists invited to attend the Banksia Awards at the offices of EY which also recognised outstanding contributions in a range of categories including Clean Technology, Biodiversity and Future Cities.

Kya’s winning project was a seed bank established to distribute native trees to community members on the south coast of NSW, hit hard by the Black Summer Bushfires. The judges were impressed by the ingenuity and passion Kya demonstrated. Kya was nominated for the prize with the help of K-lynn Smith, Roots & Shoots NSW State Coordinator.

Kya submitted her project idea through the Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Mini Grants program securing a small grant to kick off the project. Jane Goodall Institute Australia CEO, James Forbes said that seeing not just Kya’s project but dozens like it across Australia in the wake of the bushfires and during a pandemic, was inspiring.

“Young people are truly a force of nature when they see a problem that needs solving. We are so proud of Kya’s success in this, but also of young people all over Australia who are stepping up to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time like climate change and biodiversity loss.

About Kya and her Roots & Shoots Mini Grant winning project

Kya is a remarkable 11-year-old. She witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the 2019-2020 bushfires on people and animals. She used to see kangaroos and birds in her yard. The bush was so thick, she couldn’t even see through it. It was a perfect habitat for the native animals. After the fires, the hills were black and there was little food or shelter for the animals. She also felt compassion for the people who lost everything, even their own vegetable gardens.

With the support of her mother Amy Fazl, Kya created a plan to help her local neighbourhood recover from the bushfires. She applied for and received a Roots and Shoots Mini Grant in 2020 to grow native shrubs and flowers, as well as vegetables, to begin to replace what was lost to the fires.

Her first step was to research native shrub and tree species for the area around Sussex Inlet, NSW where she lives. Using the Roots and Shoots funds she purchased seeds and soil in order to propagate the plants.

They grew very well and by the end of the project she had distributed over 150 plants native to people in the local neighbourhood. In addition to the native plants, she also gave away nearly 500 herbs, pollinator seeds, and vegetables plants. These were planted in community members’ gardens around Sussex Inlet and in the community run garden.

In addition to providing new food and homes for the local animals, the project helped to lift the spirits of people who had suffered so much.

Winning the Mini Grant also positively impacted Kya’s life. Kya is on the spectrum and has been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. Her mother commented on how the grant gave Kya the opportunity to embrace her passion for helping people and for caring for the environment. Kya learned new skills and hopes to be able to do more to help her community in the future.

Congratulations on your highly deserved win Kya! You truly embody the spirit of Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots. It is an enormous credit to the passion and determination of young people like Kya that gives us hope for the future!

Special thanks to Joanne and William of the Une Parkinson Foundation who have made this program possible at all. As well as the JGIA family: that a Roots & Shoots project has received such a high-status award is recognition not just of Kya’s great work but also the great work done by the Roots & Shoots State Coordinators across Australia, plus the whole team, in promoting this program with schools and communities. | Back to JGIA news >>

Roots & Shoots Mini Grants: Winners Galore!

By Abbie Mitchell, General Manager Youth Programs, Jane Goodall Australia (JGIA)

Thanks so much to everyone that submitted an application to receive a Roots & Shoots 2020 Mini Grant.

The opportunity to provide Mini Grants is an integral part of Jane Goodall Australia’s Roots & Shoots program: every year we offer funds of $500 and $250 to help young people bring their ideas that benefit animals, people and environment to life. Fundamentally it allows us to acknowledge, encourage and support important environmental activity by our members, demonstrating that by leading by example, and tackling environmental issues at a local scale, together we can drive global change.

This year we are very excited to support an amazing array of projects which absolutely embody the proactive spirit of Roots & Shoots. For 2020 there is definitely an emphasis, even repetition, on the theme of habitat improvements for pollinators. As a keystone ecosystem service, and basis for all food webs, Roots & Shoots very much welcomes as much activity in this area as possible!

There are a number of standout projects that impressed the judges and certainly brought a smile to our faces. Congratulations to Diamond Creek Public School for coming up with a creative solution to welcome wombats in their school. And to Riverside Kensington Community Group, who are set to grow a rooftop feast for the occupants of their apartment block in urban Melbourne. Awarding the Mini Grants is an absolute joy for JGIA as we witness that the seed funding we provide ($500 or $250) blossoms into amazing benefits for animals, people and our shared environment.

Thanks to the generous support of the Une Parkinson Foundation, this year we were able to provide a record number of 27 mini grants! The successful applicants were selected by a panel of JGIA staff according to the strength of the idea and potential impact of the project. We admit that we are a bit sneaky with the application process, because we intended for applicants to think carefully about how they will do their activity, including all the steps and costs involved. As planning is such a huge part of every successful project, so in providing us with this detail, entrants are already well on the way to getting started!

We were conscious of selecting a suite of projects that together provide inspiration and diversity in representing a variety of approaches to benefit animals, people and the environment. From the range of outstanding applications we received, we awarded Mini Grants to entries representing activity in almost all states.

Once again, congratulations to all of our winning applicants. We are busting to see the outcomes from all of these wonderful activities and sharing your stories with our Roots & Shoots community.

To see our full list of winners, and more on their awesome projects, head to

Roots & Shoots Mini Grants: Meet 2019’s winners Annangrove public school

Know a young person with a great idea to benefit animals, people and our environment? Roots & Shoots’ annual Mini Grants program is open now, where members can win upto $500 towards their change-making project. Roots & Shoots Manager, Abbie Mitchell, writes about 2019’s winner, Annagrove Public School, to show how a mini grant could turn your dream into reality. 

Feeding the fussy: Annangrove Public School provided food trees for glossy black cockatoos

Some animals are generalists: they eat all sorts of different foods. Other animals are fussy. They are specialists, and only eat a select type of food. The Glossy Black Cockatoo is a very fussy seed-eating specialist. They only eat the seeds from sheoaks (Allocasurina and Casurina species). Occasionally they eat the odd tree-boring grub as well, but, on the whole, they have a fastidiously fussy diet. 

Recognising this, Annangrove Public School used their 2019 $250 Mini Grant to plant a grove of sheoaks for the locally endangered population of Glossy Black Cockatoos.

Annangrove is a rural suburb north west of Sydney. Though it is fringed by bushy areas, much of the region has become fragmented as it is cleared for hobby farms and other infrastructure. Despite the critical food this tree provides, the importance of retaining this tree species is little known, and especially, it is greatly undervalued for its aesthetic qualities – not to mention the fantastic sound it makes in the wind!

This is where Annangrove Public School stepped in. Armed with gloves, buckets and seedlings, over 100 students and willing adult helpers, got digging to plant a food source for the future. 

A hands-on project like this is a fantastic and memorable way to extend on classroom biodiversity lessons, while also making a huge improvement to your local area. It certainly looks as though Annangrove Public School enjoyed this lesson!

No matter where you live, there is bound to be a worthwhile project that you can get stuck into that will help your local environment. Right now R&S are offering mini grants to individuals, groups or schools to boost projects that benefit animals, people or our shared environment. What sorts of projects are we looking for? If it makes for a better planet we’re keen! 

So start planning a project, submit your application here, and plan to make a difference.

Hurry: Entries close 15 July! Find out more and enter at

Roots & Shoots Mini Grants: ten tips to impress on your 2020 project application

Want to make change in your local area for animals, people or our environment? Up to $500 is available to Roots & Shoots members with a positive project idea this spring – thanks to our annual Mini Grants program. But, what if you don’t know where to start with your application? Our Roots & Shoots Manager, Abbie Mitchell, shares her insider advice on how to get started – and impress our judges before our 15 July deadline, so you can win some cash to turn your dream into reality.

10 tips for a great mini grants application:

1. Motivation follows action

Nut out the steps involved in your project and create a plan of action

2. It costs how much?

Set a budget for the project – be realistic as costs can add up quickly, but don’t let that set you back – consider if you may need to raise extra funds to finish your project. How about a ‘fun’ raiser!

3. Reduce, recycle, reuse, reimagine

Get creative with solutions and cost cutting – it’s better for the pocket and better for the environment.

4. Do your homework

What animal species can you support in your immediate area? How sustainable is your local community? What can be improved? Look around, or do some research!

5. Break it down

You may have a grand plan, but too big can be overwhelming. Break it into manageable stages.

6. Grab some friends

Many hands make light work and also make the project so much more fun.

7. Ask around

Friends, neighbours and local businesses may have tools or materials to reduce the cost.

8. Ask an expert

You don’t need to know everything. Community groups or local council are usually really keen to help you make a difference.

9. Look to the future.

The best time to plant a tree was yesterday. The best time to reduce waste was before it became a problem. The second best time is now!

10. If not me then who?

You can do this. Have faith, learn as you go, ask questions and feel good that you are taking a proactive approach to making a positive difference in the world.