A PROGRAM involving Murraylands school students has been recognised for being at the cutting edge of community involvement and improvement.
The Natural Resources Management (NRM) Board for the Murraylands and Riverland has won an international award for capacity-building - skill development that helps people grow and thrive - through its educational programs.
Students involved in one such program, the River Murray Youth Council, volunteer their time to attend meetings and conferences, run workshops, help with conservation work and talk with environmental groups and experts across the region.
As they gain knowledge and confidence, they are able to spread messages about environmental action at community events and school assemblies, in classroom activities and via the media.
NRM education team leader Angela Breeding said many of the students involved in the program had gone on to higher study or work in related fields.
She said other organisations around Australia had even been inspired to launch similar programs.
NRM Board presiding member Sharon Starick said the programs' payoff would be a healthy Murray-Darling Basin a generation from now.
"These programs are not only helping to raise awareness about the environment and environmental issues among our young people, they are also helping to ensure we are developing environmental stewards and leaders for the future," she said.
More than 200 young people have been involved with the River Murray Youth Council since 2002, and more than 800 have gone through the associated Young Environmental Leaders program since 2007.
The award was presented by the International Association for Public Participation Australasia, an organisation which promotes decision-making by the people, for the people, via consultation and other means.