Many younger volunteers bring a great energy and new ideas to environmental volunteering. They also possess a strong passion for protecting our natural environment and being part of the solution.
This issue highlights the ways Landcare and environmental volunteer groups and networks are turning their focus to attracting, involving and working with young people and harnessing their unique perspectives.
Young volunteers can play important roles in encouraging and supporting fellow young people to get involved in volunteering, coming from a place of shared experience and understanding of their generation. That is why it is important that the volunteering community empowers young volunteers to lead youth volunteering programs whenever possible. Member of Indigo Shire Youth for Climate Action (ISYCA) Ella Cheeseman shares her story on how she became involved in ISYCA. You can read how this group of passionate young volunteers has worked to help other young people take climate action by connecting them with different levels of government and holding a series of networking events to build their skills in addressing climate change.
To help volunteers and Landcare groups better engage with young people, another story highlights the many online resources available. The Youth Ready Guide and Youth Ready Assessment tools help groups to check how a volunteering project may appeal to young people and provide a step-by-step approach to involving them. This story also highlights the importance of creating opportunities for young people to try out volunteering on a one-off, occasional, or short-term basis.
In terms of work experience for young people, Victoria’s Regional Landcare Coordinators have established a Landcare facilitator mentoring program to support and encourage the development of Landcare facilitators, with support from DELWP. Mentee Landcare facilitators Bonnie Reeves and Kelsey Tong, and their mentors Matthew Crawley and David Tsardakis, share their experiences as mentors and mentees through the mentoring program.
You can also read about how the Wattle Flat Pootilla Landcare Group has ensured effective succession for its group with a whole of family approach that began when it formed 25 years ago. The young children of the group’s foundation members who were actively involved in the group are now committee members and are involving their own young families in the group’s working bees and social events.
This issue also features stories from the Gippsland, Upper Goulburn and Mornington Peninsula Intrepid Landcare Groups, and the different ways they are each engaging people between 18-35 years in Intrepid Landcare. This includes running leadership retreats, and young people working together to organise on-ground activities that also have a strong social focus.
The Junior Landcare (online) Learning Centre is a free resource hub (developed by Landcare Australia) of dynamic, hands-on learning activities that has been developed by education professionals to involve children of all ages in caring for their local environment. The resources are linked to the school curriculum and have been designed to encourage children’s curiosity and provide them with positive experiences in the environment.
The Victorian Government is providing $381,000 in 2022 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants for 110 projects that provide young Victorians in our schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, and Scouts and Girl Guides groups with opportunities to participate in biodiversity focused on-ground projects and/or learning activities. Through the 2022 Victorian Landcare Grants, we are also funding 498 applications from Landcare and environmental volunteer groups, for a total of $3.22 million for Project Grants and Group Support Grants.
Young people are the future leaders of our community. By providing more opportunities for young people to meaningfully participate in Landcare and environmental volunteer groups, we not only ensure their succession, but also the renewal and reimagination of the environmental volunteer sector.
The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP
Minister for Energy
Minister for Environment and Climate Action
Minister for Solar Homes