The Green Army takes on the Bush Capital

Practical conservation activities to support a diverse portfolio of community-focused environmental projects across the ACT region will benefit from, and reward, Green Army participants.

This year, we’ve led a very successful Green Army team of 10 young people (aged 17-24) who contributed to a range of projects over a 6 month period, helping us achieve fantastic on-ground outcomes. The team also gained valuable skills and experience, and many are now employed in the NRM sector.

The team started in March, beginning with a series of training programs to improve their skills and knowledge. They were then exposed to a wide range of environmental activities, giving them a great taste of the different types of work involved in the natural resource management profession including targeted weed removal and replanting around steams, planting Drooping She-oaks as a food source for Glossy Black Cockatoos, fencing around sensitive areas, collecting local provenance seed and learning nursery skills.

The work undertaken by the team also provided invaluable assistance to projects achieving tangible environmental benefits. These on-ground outcomes were part of Australian Government funded projects, improving the condition and extent of EPBC listed Grassy Box Woodland communities.

Since the program, many of the team members have succeeded in finding employment in the NRM sector, including one who we have welcomed to our bush crew.

We asked Jack Collins (one of the team members) about his reasons for joining the Green Army and what he has gained from the experience.

After I graduated from Business and Social Sciences at the Australian National University, I was interested in finding a start in the non-for-profit sector. Having always wanted to work in the environmental sector, I felt the Green Army was an ideal entrance point. Working at the hands-on level of conservation projects helped to supplement my academic experience with practical work.

“For me, one of the most valuable parts of the experience was the exposure to the conservation non-for-profits we worked alongside. I was given the opportunity to discuss how these organisations operate with management figures. The conservation community, my team and the staff went out of their way to help me develop my understanding of the sector. Towards the end of the program, I was successful in an application for an office administration role with Conservation Volunteers Australia. The Green Army provides a good environment for entering the conservation sector, but it also helped me to enter the non-for-profit sector.”

The partnership included five other conservation organisations: Bush Heritage Australia, Lions Youth Haven, and the three ACT Catchment Groups. All partner groups in the  team already have a healthy relationship working together in the Canberra Region on conservation projects . We each subscribe to raising awareness about environmental and heritage conservation values and actions, developing communication material to promote changes in land management practices and fostering strategic capacity building projects such as this proposal.  We do this through our own organisations but also cross promote each others work and that of supporters  through social media (such as Facebook , Twitter, Youtube),  field days, e-newsletters, websites, newspaper articles and radio interviews.

So a big thanks to all our green soldiers, and good luck in all your future green endeavours!