Tailoring Earth Works
If you are an Earth Works trainer or course organiser, this document is for you. It will help you adapt and deliver Earth Works courses for specific groups of people. Interested? Now read on.
Earth Works is a training course for members of the community who express an interest in minimising waste. It is a community education activity adapted and developed by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) from a program that ran during the 1980s in Seattle, USA. The EPA's adaptation provides for community-based delivery of the education program. In most cases it is sponsored by local councils and participants pay no fee.
The course focuses on equipping people with the knowledge and practical skills to minimise waste at home, at work and in their recreational activities. Importantly the course also seeks to inspire participants to influence others to reduce waste in their homes, communities, workplaces or elsewhere, and to foster commitment to minimising waste. It does this by encouraging all those who complete the training to deliver education outreach within their own community.
Independent evaluation of the program's first two years showed that although the course was well-accepted by many people across a wide range of communities and circumstances, it often required substantial adaptation to work in specific conditions. (See Earth Works: Evaluation, also available from the EPA's Pollution Line, phone 131555 or phone (02) 9995 5000 outside NSW) Some circumstances did not suit long training experiences, outreach was not always well accepted (especially if it was insisted upon by course organisers), and participants and organisers wanted courses specifically focusing on their community.
By making sure the course is flexible enough to be adapted, and by encouraging such adaptations, the EPA has ensured its continued relevance. Earth Works trainers have also discovered that by gentle persuasion and encouragement, otherwise reticent people can be involved in effective outreach even if it involves 'over the back fence' discussions with neighbours or the involvement of family members in better waste habits. Where it is supported strongly by the local organiser (e.g. a local council, Waste Board or community college) education outreach can offer wide-ranging activities and have a significant impact on waste streams.
Back to top
Earth Works trainers conduct the program in a number of settings with many different people. Recent experience indicates that an Earth Works course might be of short duration (three hours) and focus on a specific aspect of waste minimisation, or longer (25 hours or more) and more broadly based. The Earth Works certificate has been amended recently to reflect this variation.
In order to improve targeting of the program, the following four guides have been drafted by experienced Earth Works trainers and have been modified following consultation with others in the field. They are aimed at assisting trainers to adapt the program to the needs of specific groups of participants. It is hoped that they will also encourage organisers to conduct courses that are more specifically targeted.
The four guides are:
I commend these guides to all Earth Works trainers and course organisers and urge you to use them to adapt the program accordingly.
The Earth Works Program is supported in partnership by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, The Local Government and Shires Associations, The NSW Waste Boards and the Evening and Community Colleges Association.
Director Industry & Community Education
NSW Environment Protection Authority
Back to top
Page last updated: 27 February 2011