Next up: round table think tank to design for success


Looking fab from left to right, front to back | Laura Phelphs, Anna Rose, Josh Gilbert, Me, Megan Rowlatt, Lynne Strong

Last week I had the privilege of traveling to Canberra for a round table meeting to meet with other young land carers to discuss the needs of young people to act and lead on stuff that matters to them, their communities and ultimately, the environment.

Facilitated by Lynne Strong, National Director of Art 4 Ag, among many more things, and attended by Anna Rose, Josh Gilbert, Laura Phelphs, Megan Rowlatt and myself, it was great to kick-back, drink a lot of coffee and share our stories to stitch together patterns and opportunities that have shaped our environmental successes.

It is interesting to note that a key theme for all our stories was being inspired from an early age, being kids exploring nature. However, as we became more aware of the environment and its issues, we experienced environmental injustices (e.g. droughts, species extinction, vegetation clearing, climate change), which compelled us to do something – anything to turn the injustices into justices.

For instance, for Megan, it was her connecting with her local Landcare group to test cool ideas to inspire young people in her community to volunteer with Landcare. Or for Anna, it was being pulled into campaign meetings early on to learn the ropes of campaigning against coal.

Another key theme was getting some wins on the board in the beginning. We are all fuelled by successes and young people want to feel like they are winning, especially, against injustices. This got me thinking about the importance of designing for success to ensure the beginning of any young person’s leadership journey in environmental campaigning must start with a win. Yet, at the same time, recognising the value of failing because we all learn [better] from our mistakes.

So, how can we design for success and learn from our mistakes?

  • Craft stories that will inspire young people
  • Set short-term goals that are achievable within bigger picture projects
  • Make sure the bigger picture captures the dreams of young people
  • Connect mentors and change agents to young people so that they can access know-how and networks
  • Continually acknowledge and use this process to reflect that improves efficiencies

Where to from here?

Art 4 Ag has designed an epic Young Sustainability Ambassadors program to equip the next generation of environmental influencers. We expect this program to open its doors next year, so if you are young keep an eye out for the applications. And if you have money and are keen to support the next generation of environmental influencers contact Lynne J

Above all, my involvement last week wouldn’t have happened without the backing of QWaLC, my state Landcare network. Thank you for supporting my involvement and getting behind initiatives that empower young people to act and lead with Landcare. Young people need backing to turn injustices into justices.

Intrepid: o what a feeling

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Intrepid: o what a feeling of fearless, adventurous, daring, bold. 

In some sense that is what it takes to take the first step to volunteer, try something new, go beyond your comfort zone, to be intrepid.

And that is what is happening…

In March this year I had the privilege of co-leading a Landcare leadership retreat for students with Megan Rowlatt from Illawarra Intrepid Landcare. All it took to make it happen was to pick up the phone and call Megan, invite her along, find some from sponsorships and some new fresh-faced local youth – of course. It was held on the Gold Coast to encourage local youth to get involved in Landcare, connect them with those in the know-how and support local environmental action. It was pretty fresh, 12 new faces thinking I wonder what the weekend might unfold…

Fast forward 2 months and those very same youth are killing it, in a good way. They are killing their call to action to transform old ways of doing things into fresh, inviting and exciting ways. It’s not what was old is new and cool again, they have started with a bare canvas, dreams and visions to make a difference. And they certainly are… cause this is what they have been doing.


+ Responsible Divers: to inspire divers to clean up waterways and connect other dive and clean up groups.
+ Youth 4 Beaches: Briody Fahey founded Youth 4 Beaches last year and since the retreat she is going beyond her call to action to inspire other youth to care for beaches and oceans.
+ Rivermount College Mass River Restoration project: Inspired by Gold Coast’s Biggest Tree Planting Day… Elijah, Luke and Zoey has submitted a proposal to their school to support 2km of river restoration, two mass school planting days, open access to the river AND interpretative signage for their get to be named ‘river walk’.
+ Southport SHS: Val and Mac are implementing a school-scale 0-waste initiative to encourage students to compost their food scraps and recycle, while reduce the use of single-use plastics.

But, wait there is more!

AND… all while they launch Gold Coast Intrepid Landcare! There is no stopping the dream for this bunch of local youth. As Gold Coast Intrepid Landcare is about inspiring young, awesome, enthusiastic people to take care of Gold Coast’s environment while exploring the outdoors, having fun and making friends! By attending festivals, expos and supporting members of the local Landcare network they hope to recruit and connect local youth to the many amazing causes carving a sustainable future – for youth and the planet.

A big congratulations to the new group and especially Juliet Saltmarsh and Paula van Breda who are leading the way for the group.

But we are not stopping here. Megan and I have brainstormed an incredible future for the Intrepid Landcare brand. If you are keen for local youth to get involved in your community or classify yourself as youth and keen to get involved, give us a hoy!


Proudly supported by Landcare Australia, Neutrogena Naturals through the National Youth Engagement, Ambassador initiative.