My name is Jessey Reid, I am 12 years old and live in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. I acknowledge and pay my respects to the Elders past and present of this place and as the first peoples of Australia. I’m going to talk to you about what World Heritage means to a young Australian. Basically, World Heritage places are special places that belong to us and that we need to protect so we can share with our kids about what they mean to us and our families.
A World Heritage area means a SPECIAL PLACE to me.
Just think of your special place.
How would you feel if it was destroyed?
Written by Jessey Reid
My mum, Jacqueline, has enjoyed the bush since she was a baby and shares that love and appreciation with me. She is the Executive Officer for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA) and does lots of work with children and grown ups about national parks and World Heritage. I am a trainee Ranger and trainee Executive Officer and help Mum with her work when I can. I help to tell the story of World Heritage in the Blue Mountains and beyond.
World Heritage Youth Guardian
We celebrated the Greater Blue Mountains 10th birthday as a World Heritage area in 2010. Hundreds of people were invited to ‘make a wish for World Heritage’. My wish was that “no-one would litter in the national parks”.
A number of community activities were held under the theme Put Yourself in this World Heritage Picture. Activities celebrating “our future, our heritage, our place”, aimed to raise community awareness of what it means to be part of a World Heritage Area – the story of and the relationship between people and place.
This included raising the profile of the World Heritage emblem and enhancing recognition of the global Patrimonito program (youth heritage guardians). Lots of children came to the celebration and we were awarded by the Governor of NSW as World Heritage Youth Guardian, after making our ‘patrimonito pledge’. We all made a human picture of the World Heritage emblem.
“…the planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form” – David Orr
I get to visit lots of amazing places and go on bushwalks with my family and friends. We visited Fairy Dell in the school holidays and saw the most amazing toadstool – it was purple. It’s great to visit other World Heritage places. I’ve been to the Wet Tropics, Gondwana Rainforests, Willandra Lakes, Sydney Opera House and parts of the Convict sites – one day I would love to visit Paris!
We help to host amazing Living Country Culture Camps every year with the 6 Aboriginal language groups that have connection to the Country of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families come along to learn and share stories and experiences. We enjoy camping, traditional workshops, performances and presentations and we learn traditional dance, song, stories, tool making, bush tucker and medicines, artefact identification and much more.
My school was the first to be involved in the Bush Trackers project where we enjoyed a local bush walk with National Parks Discovery Rangers and our photos, poems, pictures and stories are going to help create a bushwalking guide for other kids. I think this is a great project which is helping some of my friends enjoy the bush, to visit safely and have fun! I’m lucky my mum works at National Parks.
I don’t really want to be successful when I grow up because as David Orr (Orr, 2005) says, “the planet does not need more ‘successful’ people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.”
Thank you for listening and helping to look after our World Heritage
– it belongs to us all!
Many thanks to Jessey and Jacqueline Reid for kind permission to reproduce the article. The original title is “Voice of the future: What does World Heritage mean to a young Australian?”, first published in 2013 in “Keeping the Outstanding Exceptional: The Future of World Heritage in Australia”, a compilation of articles issued by the Australian Committee for IUCN Inc (ACIUCN).
All copyrights of this article belong to the author Jessey Reid and ACIUCN, except the photos as indicated.
Header photo of Greater Blue Mountains © OEH.
World Heritage Youth Guardian
Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area PO 552, Katoomba NSW 2780
Jessey Reid and her mum Jacqueline Reid were born and raised in the Blue Mountains of Australia. Jessey enjoys being part of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife ‘team’ that delivers ecological and World Heritage messages at a range of events across the Blue Mountains and beyond. She also enjoys looking after her pets (2 dogs, 2 cats, 10 chickens and 5 fish), cooking, bush-walking, playing with friends, her iPhone and practicing her flute.
Orr, D.W. (2005): Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World.
Sierra Club Books, San Francisco
All photos courtesy of ACIUCN.
Header photo © OEH