CERES Education Interview with Matthew Navaretti
CECV Placed Teacher with CERES Education – Excursions and Outreach for the past 3.5 years
We sadly say our goodbyes to Matthew at the end of the month, as he starts a new and exciting job at Melbourne Museum.
CERES Education and all at CERES will miss you, Matthew!
1. How did you first get started with environmental education?
In 2006 I was teaching Science and Year 11 and 12 Biology at a secondary school and saw an advertisement for a Placed Teacher position at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. I thought it would be a wonderful place to work, so I enthusiastically applied. I was appointed to the role, which included the responsibilities of Education Coordinator at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne managing the 25 sessional teachers. I brought my experience of teaching science with me and initially related all the different roles in the hierarchy, to roles in schools, thus the Director was like the Principal. It was not really until my Public Programs Manager commented that I had skills and expertise in “environmental education” that I identified myself as being an environmental educator.
2. What have been the biggest highlights of your journey so far?
At the Royal Botanic Gardens, I coordinated events such as the Schools Garden Awards ceremony at the Royal Botanic Gardens and was part of a group of judges of the awards, traveling between schools in a helicopter, only to be welcomed at the schools like royalty. At CERES highlights include participating in the CERES Global Arnhem Land cultural exchange with the Indigenous people living in Mapuru, the Minister for Education, The Hon Martin Dixon’s visit, assisting with the launch of the DEECD Energy Efficiency Grants at Trinity Catholic School, Richmond North and working with so many wonderful schools to implement sustainable practices as part of ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic. Highlights in my journey include teaching programs at CERES, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, teaching and developing links with students and families of the schools in which I taught.
3. What has been the biggest obstacle? How did you/are you overcoming it?
Gaining experience and employment is one of the biggest obstacles in this highly sought after field of work. Often the work is short term – however this can be a way of gaining entry into to the field. I have been fortunate enough to have a few short-term contracts, which have given me opportunities to gain experience in varied environmental and school education roles, which I hope will help to overcome the difficulties in gaining future employment.
4. What future plans or goals are you excited about?
My immediate future plans involve my new role at the Melbourne Museum, which I am very excited about. It goes without saying that this was a difficult decision to move on and I will miss all the schools I connected with along their sustainability journeys and the joy of working with the wonderful staff at CERES Community Environment Park. They have been an inspiration to me.
5. What advice would you offer to someone wanting to begin a sustainability program at their school or organisation?
The advice I would give to someone wanting to introduce a sustainability program in their school or organisation would be to research what has been successful in similar contexts and observe what has influenced the culture of your own school or organisation. I would talk to others who have moved along this path and read what others have done, perhaps by reading some of the hundreds of case studies on the CERES Sustainability Hub (http://dev.sustainability.ceres.org.au) and investigate what ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic has to offer, as a whole school approach to support school communities to have a positive impact, as part of the environment (apply for funded support in 2014 at http://dev.sustainability.ceres.org.au/program/rsav/funding/). I would enlist the assistance of leaders in your school or organisation to advocate for the initiative and form a small group to begin planning and implementation.