Kathleen Brack, regional Landcare program officer for the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) took out the Austcover National Young Landcare Leader Award last night at the 2018 National Landcare Awards which were held at the Brisbane Conference & Exhibition Centre.
This award recognises an individual between the ages of 15 and 35 who demonstrates leadership and a commitment to improving land management practices through practical action or creating community awareness.
After just three years in the role Kathleen has changed the way the Landcare story is being told in the region. She has created new messages and found innovative ways of engaging with her community.
Keen to attract more young people to Landcare, Kathleen ran an Intrepid Landcare Retreat at Wilsons Promontory for 20 people aged 18 to 35. She targeted younger people through her effective use of technology and social media, including using Facebook to create an online network of young people interested in Landcare in West Gippsland, where followers are able to share job opportunities, information on relevant field days, and feature case studies highlighting their concerns and barriers to adaption.
With the aim of explaining the social and community benefits of Landcare, Kathleen recently conducted a social return on investment study on a Merriman Creek Landcare Group project. This study found that for every dollar spent on a Landcare project, there is at least a $3.41 return in social value.
As part of her role as a project officer for the South Gippsland Landcare Network, she has also managed and inspired Landcare groups, including being a driving force in the creation of the South Gippsland Equine Landcare Group. She assisted in consulting with the community on the type of support horse owners in South Gippsland would prefer, empowering the public to take on the group.
The list of her achievements benefitting the local Landcare community is vast and she is an impressive role model and a true young Landcare leader. Kathleen said, “Landcare is such an amazing grass roots movement and I’m thrilled to receive this award.”
Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish, commended the National Landcare winners on their outstanding achievements. “It’s an honour to be able to recognise the great work being carried out by our Landcare champions,” Shane says. “The national Landcare awards offers landcarers the ideal opportunity to get together and celebrate the individual and collective achievements of the community. Landcarers across Australia deserve to be acknowledged and praised”.
Winners across nine diverse categories from sustainable farm practices to Junior Landcare, were announced at the National Awards gala dinner last night, which was emceed by ABC Landline host, Pip Courtney.
The National Landcare Awards are part of this year’s three-day National Landcare Conference, which finishes today, 12 October 2018. The conference provides the Landcare community an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and share knowledge. For more information on the National Conference and Awards go to nationallandcareconference.org.au.
All finalists case studies and photos by category are available at nationallandcareconference.org.au/awards.
The National Landcare Awards is delivered by Landcare Australia and the National Landcare Network in partnership with the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.