Fostering The Next Generation Of Young Environmental Leaders

Students speaking with PhD Candidate, Tim Doherty about Feral Cat Ecology.

Students speaking with PhD Candidate, Tim Doherty about Feral Cat Ecology.

Farming and conservation can go hand-in-hand. That’s a key message that came across loud and clear at a recent workshop attended by students from the Western Australian College of Agriculture in Morawa.

Organised by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), the workshop aimed to inform, motivate and empower the future environmental land-carers, stewards and leaders in the region.

Students tuning in on a presentation by Leah Adams.

Students tuning in on a presentation by Leah Adams.

“It was fantastic to see the keen interest in the environment by the next generation of environmental leaders in the region,” said Perenjori-based NACC Natural Resource Management Officer Sarah Gilleland.

Ms Gilleland said the field day helped the students to better understand and advocate for key environmental issues, such as the impact of invasive species, and gain a greater awareness of local biodiversity. It also provided them with tools to take action.

“It’s important that young people are informed and inspired to take a greater interest in understanding their local biodiversity, as well as conservation and cultural issues. We feel that if young people understand the issues better they will be more likely to take action,” said Ms Gilleland.

Environmental champion Like Bayley of Bush Heritage Australia was among the impressive line-up of presenters to share their knowledge and passion for Australian wildlife conservation.

“When I’m out in our beautiful landscapes, I truly appreciate that we are in a precious part of the world that needs to be protected. And I’m always willing to pass-on this appreciation and information that I gain to others,” he said.

Mr Bayley also encouraged the students to consider careers in environmental science, highlighting how rewarding, fun and diverse this type of work can be – from venturing out to explore nature reserves, to taking part in community events such as the Blues for the Bush concert.

Luke Bayley gives presentation on Bush Heritage and Environmental Science.

Luke Bayley gives presentation on Bush Heritage and Environmental Science.

The students heard first-hand about local cultural heritage from Aboriginal Elder Alan Eagan, who described how the landscape surrounding Morawa has changed throughout his lifetime.

Many of the students took a keen interest in this topic with some noting that they would like to visit local heritage sites to gain a better understanding of their significance.

“I really want to thank each of the presenters – Luke Bayley from Bush Heritage Australia, Botanist Jenny Borger, Leah Adams from Shire of Perenjori, Tim Doherty from Edith Cowan University and local Aboriginal Elder Alan Eagan – for helping make the day such a success,” said Ms Gilleland. “And thanks also to the Morawa District High School and the Western Australian College of Agriculture who contributed to the workshop.”

For more information about NACC’s Biodiversity Program, contact Jessica Stingemore at NACC, (P) 9938 0106 (E) jessica.stingemore@nacc.com.au.