Words by Megan Lee (Rowlatt), Naomi Edwards, Pam Robinson OAM
Conversations with our elders – co-creating a wise future
“Slow down, listen to country, and make friends with the discomfort.”
Many of us here at Intrepid Landcare started our landcare journey by seeking adventure and purposeful action for the environment. But what has also emerged is a depth of connection with others and a sense of belonging across the community, and one of the most amazing parts has been listening to and being inspired by the stories, experiences and knowledge of an older generation. It hasn’t just been their knowledge of the local environment that has touched us though, it has also been their life experiences and culture, and their different perspectives about the world we live in.
Many of us haven’t grown up with elders in our lives, or elders that necessarily align with our values or curiosity of the world. Wonderfully, Landcare has provided an unexpected avenue to these kinds of relationships.
So this year, we decided to embrace the disruptions of 2020 and take our connections with experienced Landcarers online.
In May, we hosted an online ‘Breakfast with our Elders’ as part of a weekend-long Intrepid Online Retreat, and used this time to reflect and engage in conversations that matter.
Gundungurra Man – David King (Blue Mountains New South Wales), Bill & Leslie Pigott (Berry New South Wales), Pam Robinson OAM (Victoria), Terry Hubbard OAM (Victoria), Martin Royds (Braidwood New South Wales), and Dr Kaye Rodden (Victoria) all come from an epic range of experience and backgrounds from Aboriginal land management, Bushcare, Landcare, regenerative agriculture, community advocacy for a range of environmental and sustainable agricultural issues, as well as a wealth of experience in looking after the land and being active in their community.
Drawing on decades of experience, and looking to what the future might hold through these times of uncertainty, we asked two powerful questions:
What do we need to let go of?
What do we need to embrace?
The conversation was deep and expansive, full of nuggets of helpful advice and rich learning. It was an opportunity for all of us to offer something to each other and tap into the collective wisdom of the whole group – across all generations.
Trying to do this experience justice here feels a little impossible, so here is a graphic of some of the golden threads of the conversation.
The session certainly left us with even more questions: ‘Imagine if we could have more conversations like this? How much richer our lives and experience of Landcare would be!’, and ‘What else would be possible for Landcare if we had open, respectful conversations like this regularly?’
Here’s what some of the people who showed up got out of the experience…
““Landcare is not just about planting trees , but building a resilient environment” is a quote I wrote down from the weekend. I came in blind, not really knowing anyone and not feeling confident because I didn’t have much experience, but I kept an open heart and an open mind. I came out with more certainty and determination that I have a role to play in caring for our environment. Hearing from everyone’s stories was so insightful, and it only fuelled my imagination on the possibilities of how I can someday make an impact.”
– Sophia Bagatsing
““The Breakfast” with such an amazing group of landcare elders was, I found, inspirational. I look up to them all as being as wonderful landcare guides… not leaders as I like to think landcare is so robust because we move as one!”
– Dr Kaye Rodden
So, what’s next you ask?
This event has now inspired us to keep these conversations that matter rolling, along with an ever growing field of opportunities to connect, learn and practice your skills and knowledge.
Keep an eye out on our web and socials for updates on this and other events for young people who are keen to do stuff that matters!
“Landcare is everywhere we are. Landcare is available to us all. The combination of belonging and participating in a stimulating practical community group provides all of us with an extra richness in our lives”
– Pam Robinson OAM