Victorian Landcare Magazine - Summer 2023-24, Issue 86

Regional snapshot - Plant & Dance – A day out with Intrepid Landcare

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Above A group of young volunteers planted more than 2000 trees in one day to improve water quality and create wildlife habitat on a Bass Coast farm in 2022.

For Bass Coast locals, a steady stream of teens and twentysomethings to a South Gippsland farm on a sunny weekend usually signals a festival is set to begin. The live entertainment lineup with DJs, rappers and acoustic acts and a free food tent offering plenty of choices only added to the festival vibe, but attendees hadn’t come to sit back and relax.

Instead of picnic rugs and eskys, they were pulling out gardening gloves, shovels, and trowels before the day’s first session – a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by Bunurong elders.

Next was a briefing by Brita Jobling, Secretary of Gippsland Intrepid Landcare, and the brainchild of the Plant & Dance event.

Brita, 26, and a friend came up with the concept a few years ago, around the time she began volunteering with Gippsland Intrepid Landcare – a group for under 40s dedicated to protecting the environment.

Brita approached Jye Anderson, Landcare Facilitator at Bass Coast Landcare Network, about the idea.

“The idea of Plant & Dance was to bring people our age together, introduce that element of a fun, party atmosphere, while coming out and doing something really rewarding. There were so many people my age telling me that they wanted to be involved in Landcare, but they want to be with people a similar age, too,” Brita said.

The day of hard work was followed by an evening of free food and music at the Plant & Dance event.

Above: The day of hard work was followed by an evening of free food and music at the Plant & Dance event.

In August 2022 the second Plant & Dance event by Gippsland Intrepid Landcare and Bass Coast Landcare Network attracted more than 80 under 30s to the Bass Coast hills.

In just one day, the group planted 2000 trees on a farm that had been rapidly degrading. The trees will help prevent harmful sediment flowing into Archie’s Creek and out into the Bass Coast.

According to Jye Anderson, the project, which is supported by a 2021 Victorian Landcare Grant, has created an enormous benefit for the environment and the farm, too.

“By recreating habitat, we’re also creating wildlife corridors as well as improving the water quality. A day like today just creates so many benefits,” Jye said.

Volunteer Max Combridge said he would definitely come back for another Plant & Dance.

‘This is my first time planting and I can see why people do it. It’s been really fun. I usually work in an office, so being out here in a group, getting my hands dirty for such a good cause has been great,” Max said.

Brita said the key to success in engaging young people with Landcare was creating events with them, for them.

“Things that are low commitment, like one-day events, young people can usually fit that in with uni and jobs, and if you add
in music, free food, you have a good chance of a crowd, I think,” she said.

Jye Anderson is Landcare Facilitator at Bass Coast Landcare Network. His position is funded by the Victorian Landcare Facilitator Program.

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