Words coming to you from none other than the amazing co-winner of the National Young Landcare Award, Naomi Edwards. Naomi is a change-maker from South East Queensland, and co-founder of Intrepid Landcare. Here, Naomi shares what winning a national award means to her and some words of wisdom for the next wave of leaders in Landcare.
Words by Naomi Edwards, Gold Coast QLD
I vividly remember seeing the Milky Way for the first time when I was a teenager while visiting south west Queensland. As an east coast city gal from Queensland, heading west was always an adventure. I remember laying on a patch of cold wet, deep-green-coloured lawn, staring up into the infinite night sky that sparkled like I could have never imagined. It was beautiful, and it still is, especially thinking how infinite the universe actually is and who we get to be in a world blanketed with shimmering diamonds of balls of gas.
More recently I have been reading into pivot points, moments in time that shift your way of thinking. Seeing the Milky Way and being immersed under the aura of the endless universe was a pivot point for me. Thinking back to this experience of the days of freedom teenage outrage and self-discovery reminds me that there is always beauty in the world, the world is always changing and there are endless possibilities to be great and do great things in the world. This has supplemented by creative-design and facilitation work at Intrepid Landcare and more fundamentally my PhD research at Griffith University. Research has grounded our organisation and me with a greater understanding of breaking down the steps of what it takes to lead. I am particularly interested in understanding the processes of stepping up to lead. For instance, what does it take to go from microsystem self awareness, passive action (e.g. entry-level action in Landcare), through to illusory control (e.g. capitalise and act on opportunity without knowing or having the skills or experience) to full blown derivative, reflective leadership (e.g. building organisations for systematic change that have influence). I am a thinker, in fact, I should boast with saying, I am a transformational leader.
I started this blog with sharing a vivid memory, a pivot point, because it’s these experiences in life that shape you to be who you are and can be. Back these experiences with research (I am a scientist in the mind and cultural researcher at heart), gives me a thorough understanding about how I lead for change with Landcare. Because who I am is the co-winner of the 2016 Young Landcare Leader award with Ella Maesepp, who is from the other side of Australia in south-west Western Australia. And the photo of me accepting the award inspired me to share my Milky Way pivot point as it looks like I am under the Milky Way, a young star of Landcare.
I could share what I did to receive this recognition, for instance, co-founding Intrepid Landcare and what inspired a group of us to start such an adventurous organisation. Instead, I want to share what this award actually means to me.
It means many things, however, more profoundly it means those above me, the stars of Landcare believe in me, so much that they think I deserve the recognition. All those sleepless nights doing the finishing touches on some epic projects, pushing the boundaries for change and creating teams of change makers and empowering them to tip their leadership spectrum is all worth it. It really is. Receiving this award is like the biggest pat on the back, and being a ‘young’ person in the race against climate change, I need all the backing in the world for my many dreams, hopes and desires for Landcare, especially Intrepid Landcare.
If I could finish up with sharing some advice to other young Landcare leaders, or more broadly, young people who are doing some great stuff for the environment. Always surround yourself with the right people. People who inspire you, challenge you and make you think differently. Think back to when your parents used to say, you need the right friends, well it is the same deal in the big wide world of environmental protection and conservation. You need to surround yourself with teams of proactive people to draw on their strengths’ to reach the stars. And that is what we are doing at Intrepid Landcare, creating a Tribe for change, perhaps our own Milky Way.