Welcome to the first issue dedicated to honouring the contributions that women have made to Landcare across Victoria; in the past, present and into the future.
Landcare began in Victoria in 1986, when Joan Kirner AC, then Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands joined forces with Heather Mitchell, then president of the Victorian Farmers Federation. These two remarkable women have been positive role models for many rural women (and men) and encouraged participation in the Landcare movement.
There are thousands of women who are members of Landcare groups and networks across Victoria; many are on boards and committees and work as Landcare facilitators and on agricultural and scientific projects.
It is wonderful to be able to feature some of these women in this issue and share information on programs designed to increase the skills and confidence of rural women. I hope that these stories will inspire more women to put themselves forward for leadership roles.
In this issue, Andrea Mitchell from Project Platypus (Upper Wimmera Landcare Network) introduces us to some inspiring women volunteers in her region.
Helen Scott from the Newham and District Landcare Group tells us about the women she has met and worked with in her post-retirement career in Landcare, with a special tribute to a dynamic local Landcarer, Penny Roberts.
Kellie Nichols, Executive Officer of Bass Coast Landcare Network explains how she leads a team of 33 staff while juggling further study and the needs of her young family.
Fern Hames from the Arthur Rylah Institute at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has had a long career in ecology and working with the community on conservation projects. She shares her tips with us about how women can navigate this terrain through communication and building alliances.
Finally, I extend my congratulations to our 2018 National Landcare Award winners. Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation won the Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award, and Kathleen Brack won the Austcover Young Landcare Leader Award.
Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Minister for Solar Homes
Victoria has a strong history of environmental volunteering, with volunteers contributing enormously to our biodiversity, our economy, and our communities. However, environmental volunteering is changing, with increasingly busy lifestyles and changing community expectations.
Over the past year, the Victorian Government has worked with the environmental volunteering community – many of them women – to explore how to support and grow the sector. The result of this collaboration is Victorians Volunteering for Nature – Environmental Volunteering Plan. This Plan is a new direction that seeks to sustain, expand, value and understand volunteering in Victoria.
Interested in finding out more? To read or download the recently launched Plan go to environment.vic.gov.au/biodiversity/victorians-volunteering-for-nature
We’re keen to keep the conversation going on the future of environmental volunteering in Victoria. Share your reflections on the Environmental Volunteering Plan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org