words by Kathleen Brack, Victorian Young Landcare Leader 2017
Here are some things I’ve learnt about Landcare over the years from working as a Landcare Project Officer, helping co-found Gippsland Intrepid Landcare, and from Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope.
1. Never say no to a cup of tea (AKA listen, listen, listen).
If someone offers you a cup of tea, always say yes. Sitting around a kitchen table, listening to stories and ideas is one of the best things you can do as a Landcare Project Officer. Sharing a cup of tea is an opportunity to focus for 5 minutes and listen to someone’s concerns, objectives and goals. As Leslie knows, listening is critical to helping understand the change that needs to occur.
2. If it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to create a Landcare group.
Gippsland Intrepid Landcare’s formation (and subsequent successes) is not because of one person, but due to a village of young people all chipping in a little, creating a lot. Having a village of people creates support, momentum, ideas, and reduces the load on a single volunteer (to the Gippsland Intrepid committee: Derek, Madeline, Jem, Kelsey, Brita, Harriett… you guys rock!). Leslie Knope understands this well. She has her own Pawnee tribe to support her through the highs and lows of life.
3. It’s all about the food.
It’s a universal truth that food brings people together and breaks down barriers. Landcare meetings, workshops or events are often just a thinly-veiled excuse to share really, really good food and a chat. Think freshly baked scones with homemade cream from the dairy, a BBQ with beef from the paddock or hot soup warmed over a campfire. For Leslie, her priorities in life are clear.
4. Not everybody gets everything at the same time.
People are different. They have different needs and concerns. They adopt new practices at different rates. Don’t stress if not everyone wants to adopt a practice straight away, as Leslie knows well, not everybody has the same vision as you and that’s ok. Keep working at it (and don’t forget rule number 1).
5. Landcare. Gets. Stuff. Done.
Oh Landcare, is there anything thou can’t do? Seriously. Every day Landcare groups or individuals are outside doing so much to improve the environment, often off their own back and out of their own purse. Thanks to Landcare there are more trees in the ground, cleaner rivers, better biodiversity and happier communities all because of Landcare. Leslie, queen of parks, community and the environment, would LOVE Landcare. As Chris Traeger would say:
Interested in Landcare >> Follow on social media, volunteer, join a group or start your own!