For 12 years in cooperation with the International Student Volunteers organisation we have been running 2 week programs at Wild Mountains with University students aged between 18 and 24 and in the midst of their undergraduate degrees. Mostly American and Canadian, they tend to be from white middle to upper class segments of their society. Their scholastic backgrounds differ greatly with majors in a variety of subject areas. The majority of students have very little background knowledge of environmental/sustainability issues.

A university masters report undertaken by Elizabeth Nicholson looks at how influential our two week residential volunteering program at Wild Mountains from over a 4 year period has been to the lives of the participants. The results indicate that a large majority of participants go on to implement behavioral changes for sustainability in their day-to-day lives once they return home. 

From a 75% student response rate some of the highlights as a result of being on the program at Wild Mountains are:

  • 41% have changed their university study major to what can be classified as sustainability majors.
  • 80% indicated that the focus of their life has changed.
  • 38% indicated that their key learning/s were around realising that their previous way of life was unsustainable.
  • 40% indicated they learnt that sustainable living is possible with the experiential environment demonstrating how this can be done.
  • 13% indicated the sustainable lifestyle demonstrated at WMT tended to be happier and more fulfilling than their own pre-project ways of living.
  • 97% rated the importance of the place, Wild Mountains in facilitating learning/s as being very important.
  • 16% indicated their greatest learning was around the need to stay open to different opinions/ideas.

We get similar qualitative feedback these days from our Griffith university internships and also other international volunteer groups that come and stay. There is something that moves us when we reconnect to nature. Something we find when we understand the cycles of nature more and see that we are all apart of this great big bluey greeny kinda space ship. 

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