A Rotorua student is among young environmentalists from across New Zealand and the Pacific taking part in a forum in Nelson.

John Paul College student Eamon Walsh is one of those involved in the annual Youth EnviroLeaders Forum which began on Saturday and runs until Friday.

Eamon said he'd been involved with environmental projects at John Paul College for a number of years.

Last week his team won the regional Enviro Challenge, which attracted students from all over the Bay of Plenty.


The challenge included a presentation about what the students had done for the environment in the past and planned to do in the future, said Eamon.

Work around improving water quality had been a focus of his team's winning Enviro Challenge entry.

His teacher suggested he apply for the environmental forum, and Eamon thought it would be a great opportunity to pursue something he loved.

He was particularly interested in climate change and water quality, a focus of this year's forum.

The Year 12 student hoped to study medicine in Auckland or Otago after he left school.
Courtney McConkey of Trident High School will also be involved in the environmental forum.

Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive, Shelly Campbell, said the trust selected 54 Year 11 to 13 students from every region in the country for the forum.

They would be joined by four young environmental leaders from Palau, the Mariana Islands, New Caledonia and Australia.

It was the first time international students had joined the forum and the aim was to increase the network of young environmental leaders across the Pacific.

"These young people with a passion for the environment will need to lead change in the environment and collaboration will be part of the solution. We're sure we'll learn as much from them as they will from us," said Ms Campbell.

The students would spend the week developing their leadership skills as well as learning about environmental issues and opportunities in the Nelson area.

Ms Campbell said this year's forum would focus on pest eradication, biodiversity and ocean health.

The students would be exposed to career paths in their fields of interest and would be shown real world applications of subjects they learn in the classroom, said Ms Campbell.

Students would also have the opportunity to develop leadership skills through a range of field trips, workshops and exercises throughout the week.

Speakers included Minister for the Environment Nick Smith, Nelson mayor Rachel Reese, Ministry for the Environment chief executive Vicki Robertson, Sam Johnson of the Student Volunteer Army and leading local subject experts.

As well, the students would visit the Abel Tasman National Park and experts from DOC and Project Janzsoon would speak about pest eradication and biodiversity, said Ms Campbell.