(NOTE: The appendices are included in the written report but not in this abridged online version.)
This report was prepared by Ryakuga Inc.(with help from the conference co-ordinators).
The Youth, the Environment and the Economy conference brought more than 110 youth to the
Lion's Club, Stephenville, Newfoundland on Feb. 5, 1998.
The conference ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. , with a slide show presentation from 4 to 5 p.m., and a
live community television forum from 7 to 9:30 p.m. The virtual conference, which ran parallel to
the "real" event, on the Internet, was also shown on community television.
On Feb. 4 about 45 youth participated in a training workshop on group faciliation, producing
community television, and conducting a virtual conference on the Internet. The workshop began at
9 a.m. and ended with a live community television program from 3:30 to 4:30 pm.
The virtual conference paralleled the live event.
The principal co-ordinators of the conference were the
Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador and the Long
Range Regional Economic Development (RED) Board.
Other co-ordinators included Communities In Schools
Newfoundland; Ryakuga Grassroots Communications and the
Journalism Program, College of the North Atlantic.
Planning for the conference began in November, 1997;
lessons learned during the implementation of the conference
will be used to co-ordinate similar events (including training
sessions) in the future.
The Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador and the
Long Range Regional Economic Development Board were the
principal facilitators of the conference on Feb. 5.
In design, the prime responsibility for faciliatating the
training event on Feb. 4 (as well as the virtual conference
and community television on Feb. 5) was taken by Ryakuga
But, in effect, that reponsibility was a collaborative effort.
In planning the training, it was decided that the
conservation corps would facilitate a mini-workshop on
environmental issues, thus providing content for the skills
Also Youth Power 9 (the youth council of Zone 9) requested
training on how-to-facilitate, so that component was addded
and implemented by representatives of the Conservation
Corps Newfoundland and Labrador and the RED board.
Other collaborators in the training event included the
journalism program of the College of the North Atlantic
(instructor and students); Communities in Schools
Newfoundland and Burgeo's economic development officer.
Facilitators at the conference also included members of
Youth Power 9 and local environmentalist Lloyd Pretty.
3. Resource people:
Many of the facilitators also served as resource people.
However, a very important resource at the conference
included panel discussions and interviews which were also
broadcast live to the community on Channel 12. The panel
discussions were interactive with "operahs" sent into the
audience to ask questions.
Panelists for the all youth panel included Alicia Smith (Youth
9); Earlene Pond (Conservation Corps); Laurie Legg (North
Aquaponics); Tina Sweetapple (College of the North Atlantic
Environmental Technology Program), and Jody Sturge
Environmental Studies Program). Panelists for the Getting
the Environment panel included Janet Nolan (ACOA); Randy
(Environment Canada); Sherry Granville (Genesis Organic);
Lisa Alexander (Long Range Business Development Centre),
and Libby Chaulk (CONA).
Other resource people who participated in this event
included Gerald Smith (MHA Port au Port-Stephenville West);
Kevin Aylward (Minister of Forestry and Agriculture); Lloyd
Pretty (Stephenville area environmentalist); John
MacPherson (Long Range RED Board Outreach Officer and
community developer); Darren Feltham (Conservation Corps
Program Manager); Greg Mitchell (west coast
environmentalist); Danny Park (HRDC); Martin von Mirbach
(Canadian Environment Network); Dean Bailey (local business
person); Cec Stein (Mayor of Stephenville) and Rochelle Owen
More than 110 youth from schools throughout sou'west and
west Newfoundland came to the Feb. 5 conference. (See
appendix - List of Participants)
Communities represented included Ramea, Burgeo, Port aux
Basques, Burnt Islands, Iles aux Morts, Codroy Valley,
Mackays, Stephenville Crossing, Stephenville, St. Georges, St.
Theresa's, Robinsons, Lourdes, Mainland, Black Duck Brook,
Barrachois Brook and Corner Brook.
It would be difficult to assess how many more people joined
the event on the virtual conference or community television.
There were 95 messages on the internet bulletin board but,
as the conference URL was publicized province-wide, it can
be assumed many more viewed the pages without giving an
opinion on environmental issues. Channel 12 is available to
communities from Port au Port East to Stephenville. Verbal
reports indicate that the programs were widely discussed in
the communities but we don't know how many people
watched the conference.
Description of Event
It's important to consider implementing a major youth event
in the context of the climatic and geographical realities of
sou'west and west Newfoundland.
Stephenville, as the hub of the region, may be considered as
the axis of an X figure. Youth who came north from Ramea
first had to take an hour and a half trip on a ferry which
often doesn't run in winter weather and then face a two and
a half bus trip on a road which is closed by the RCMP in
rough weather. Youth who came north from Burnt Islands
face a similar situation.
The point is that it is extremely difficult to know before the
event, even with pre-registration, how many people will
make it on the day.
The second context results from a participant-oriented
implementation style, both of the training and the event
itself. Flexibility is of key importance when the needs of the
participants are most important.
Finally, there's the technical context. Not only were we
introducing many of the youth to participant-controlled
community television and a virtual conference but we
intended to combine the two - both in real time. To our
knowledge, especially using a participatory model, this has
not been attempted before.
2. Training event:
The training event did not adhere to the original plan but
more was accomplished than originally intended.
The original objective was to train youth to help with the
community television and virtual components of the Feb. 5
conference. The long range objective was to interest youth
in becoming participants in community television in their
own communities and using the Internet for issued based
Pre-conference planning indicated that 21 people would be
optimum for the workshop. The intent was to form 7 teams
of three people each to implement community television and
the virtual conference under the mentorship of second year
journalism students. Last minute pre-registration indicated
about five people interested in computer communications
and about 16 interested in community television.
However, on the day we ended up with about 45 students.
Most were interested in computer communications while six
of the participants from Youth Power 9 wanted to learn
facilitation skills. In addition, students from Burgeo and
Ramea didn't arrive until almost noon.
In pre-conference planning we decided to begin by uploading
a photo of the group to the web site and then facilitate a
mini-workshop on environmental issues to provide content
for the skills sessions. The plan was then to divide the group
into the two skills areas.
But, according to the realities of the day, we combined the
two skills groups and concentrated on participatory
production of the virtual conference and community
Using no specific software but rather templates in HTML, 30
youth used three laptops to write their own simple home
pages. Journalism students used the webcam to
"photograph" each participant and upload the page and
photo. (In future workshops, it is considered important that
the participants actually take their own "photo" and upload
their own page.)
The youth were invited to try out the tasks of community
television production - camera, switching and audio mixing -
by working with the journalism students. In addition, during
the demonstration each participant was expected to be
interviewed by a journalism student.
"Streeters" on video were also taped during the workshop.
At the end of the day, the participants produced their own
program. They operated the equipment, interviewed their
peers and hosted the program.
3. The conference:
The second day began with over 110 youth participating in
the building of a large graffiti wall where problems, issues,
solutions, and key players relating to the environment were
flushed out through drawing. (See appendix - Conference
Agenda - Faciliators' Notes.)
The graffiti wall was used as the starting point for small
discussions on the identified "hot themes" which included:
mining industry; offshore fishery; global warming and climate
change; recycling programs; air pollution; water pollution;
endangered species and wildlife; forest industry; oil
industry; landfills and local incinerators; and industrial toxic
waste dumps. Small groups were facilitated by youth trained
during Day #1, most of whom were members of the RED
Board's newly formed youth council called Youth Power 9.
Also during this day, there were two interactive panel
where "operahs" were sent into the audience to solicit
panelist presentations. Both panels were broadcast live on
The final event of the conference was a 2.5 hour live
program on Channel 12 which included a live panel, numerous
components including clips from earlier activities, and live
The goal of the event was to raise the level of awareness
among both youth and the general public about issues and
opportunities related to the environment. The specific
To raise the awareness of environmental issues, employment
opportunities in related fields, and community health.
To create discussion leading to participation and action on
To profile existing / emerging success stories related to the
To raise awareness of critical issues that need to be
To involve existing non-profit groups / agencies working in
environment sector, with the aim of helping them to get
public feedback and increase membership.
To raise awareness of existing private sector initiatives
including environmental sector companies / industries /
small businesses working in Zone 9 and the Province.
To give students direct experience and exposure to those
working in the environment sector.
To give participants hands-on experience / training in
participatory communications tools and techniques useful
both in business and in non-government sectors including;
web site design; virtual conference; community television,
and use of participatory education techniques including
drama, drawing and small group facilitation.