Welcome to Intrepid Landcare. An adventurous way forward if you like. A way of connecting tomorrow’s Landcarers today by embracing creativity and chaos and having a whole bunch of fun along the way.
We know just how amazing Landcare is and the potential it has to be even bigger and better for Australian agriculture, the environment and the people in our landscapes. So buckle in, enjoy the ride, our stories, adventures and the young people making it all happen.
We hope that through our regular blogs you will gain some insight into the types of projects young people are up for, what’s happening out on the ground, how to make it all happen, and some tips and tricks we have learnt along the way to make life a little bit easier.
A new style of Landcare is emerging
In the short amount of time we have been around we’re super stoked at the amount of young people stepping up and wanting to take action with Landcare, to be part of the bigger picture, and contribute to the Australian environment. And in working and communicating with young people around Australia, we are starting to realise there is a new style of Landcare emerging.
Innovative future-focused adventure with purpose, packed with wild, creative and free things to do and see. People you never thought you’d meet, the places you would never get to see and the conversations that inspire change for the planet and its people. Packaged, branded and marketed in a way that is accessible, attractive and all round inviting. This sounds like an advertisement brief. To be honest, it pretty much is.
We know that Landcare has not packaged, branded and marketed the best parts of what Landcare can offer to attract emerging leaders. But we have experienced it.
We tend to expect people, especially emerging leaders to stumble across Landcare, because for most of us, this is how we discovered Landcare while trying to conquer the lonely, windy path to repair the Australian landscape, and save all the animals and plants from extinction. Right? And once we got there, we were like ‘where have you been all my life!?’.
The good news is that this new style of Landcare is emerging to seek out emerging leaders and invite them to discover and design their own Landcare, not reinvent what is out there, but simply add value to the movement in creative ways.
This starts with sharing Landcare in a different way, telling the story better, to attract emerging leaders and then take them through the spaces of what it takes to be a leader for Landcare to build their own networks, bucket-loads of confidence and effective communication skills to influence the change they want to see, for Landcare and their future.
30 years ago, when Joan Kirner and Heather Mitchell came together to launch Landcare in central Victoria, and then Rick Farley and Phillip Toyne with the Hawke Government to back the growing national movement, they probably didn’t think we’d have to find, build and support emerging young leaders for the future of Landcare. Getting their heads around the best way to manage the land was the priority, and we get that and respect that.
30 years on, another key priority of Landcare is now ‘youth engagement’. How do we engage youth? Why? Do we really think youth will come along and camp for 30 years on the same riverbank to maintain the legacy planted well before their time? What do we expect of youth to take the baton for Landcare?
Instead of answering the needs of Landcare, ‘the need to engage youth’, we flipped the question and looked at ‘what are the needs of young people?’ and ‘how can Landcare support these needs?’.
Again and again, the answer took us to leadership needs when exploring what are the needs of a young person to not only act with Landcare, however, to lead for Landcare. Because rocking up and planting a few trees and eating freshly baked scones (don’t stop doing this by the way, scones rock!) was not enough to hook youth to stay involved in Landcare. Young people wanted more, and we knew that Landcare for young people needed to be so much more than an event we would hope they’d turn up to. We recognised leadership and a whole swag of creativity and connection had a big part to play in that scene.
And this is what we do.
Intrepid Landcare officially landed on the Landcare scene in 2015 in response to the overwhelming need to support young people to take on leadership roles in their community on stuff that matters to them.
“Stuff that matters can be a cause, project or interest that is important and makes a difference”
Building on the success of Illawarra Intrepid Landcare which was founded in 2009 by Megan Rowlatt, Intrepid Landcare is now working with existing Landcare communities and groups of young passionate people around Australia to co-create the future they want to see for Landcare and their local environment.
To set us up we ran a successful crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2015 to cover the start up costs of our organisation, offline donations got us well and truly over the line and we now have an incredible board of young exciting passionate individuals who are all about moving Landcare forward and empowering young people to take on what’s next.
We also have a swanky new website which, as we grow will house all sorts of cool information for young people and to help communities to work with young people.
To date we have run Intrepid Landcare Leadership Retreats in two communities – Gold Coast QLD and Hunter region NSW – Both have resulted in the establishment of Gold Coast Intrepid Landcare and Hunter Intrepid Landcare. Hunter Intrepid Landcare most recently launched and attracted 46 people to their first project which was a mix of pancakes, Coastcare and bush survival techniques with Wildcraft Australia. This was supported by Lake Macquarie Landcare, Hunter Local Land Services, Hunter Region Landcare Network, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Burwood Beach Coastcare, and Conservation Volunteers Australia. What a collaboration! Their next project is a “Weeds and Wine” event in the Hunter Valley raising awareness about primary production and sustainable land management and of course, sampling the local produce. We’ll cheers to that!
A successful Hunter Intrepid Landcare launch!
What we are inspiring
While leadership is a big part of the picture, Intrepid Landcare is all about connection, collaboration and adventure. Each project that is led on the ground by young people in any community is all about connecting young people to what is already there. This means connection to the local Landcare community already doing awesome stuff, connecting the generations who have knowledge and experience to support projects and ideas, cultural connection, nature connection and connection to other rad young people who are up for an adventure and protecting the planet. We only have one after all.
Illawarra Intrepid Landcare at a smoking ceremony before they participated in a cultural burn at Emu Plains NSW
Northern Rivers Landcare networks in NSW have been inspired by the Intrepid Landcare concept and decided to trial an event in Brunswick Heads on the 27th of August which combined Landcare activities with outdoor adventure and connection to place and each other. Young people who attended all agreed that they wanted to start Northern Rivers Intrepid Landcare and are in the process of mobilising more young people to take this on and create more exciting projects for young people in the region.
Kayaking at Brunswick Heads
Students from Australian National University in the ACT have also recently launched ANU Intrepid Landcare and have already delivered two projects for university students. Both projects completely booked out and involved tree planting, farm tours, a bon-fire and pizza making, and Platypus surveying!
Brisbane is holding an event in October to scope interest to start something in Brisbane and surrounds, an awesome team of young people in Victoria have been networking and scoping out Landcare projects they can work on and create the Intrepid experience in Victoria, and of course the Illawarra (which has collaborated with over 40 different conservation and Landcare / Bushcare groups since 2009) and University of Wollongong groups are kicking along nicely. UOW Intrepid Landcare recently had their AGM and elected a new committee who have great vision for where they want to take the group next, and the types of projects they want to create for students in their network. They are one-year-old.
Is your community next to embrace an Intrepid experience?