> The initiative
The Landcare Society began as a group of eager students who were inspired to get more involved with community Landcare following the 2019 Tasmanian Community Landcare Conference. Since then, we have worked with UTAS staff, the team at Landcare Tasmania, and Landcare groups across the state to connect nearly a thousand students with Landcare activities across the state. We work primarily on community environmental restoration projects, ranging from removing weeds from urban parks to restoring pine plantations back to native forests and restoring degraded wetlands.
The group was formed, in part, to give students interested in environmental management the opportunity to gain practical experience and build their skills outside of their formal university activities. One of the biggest pieces of advice we, as students are given at university, is to volunteer in order to build our skills and gain practical experience, however, we felt that there were few opportunities to do so in a way that we felt made a tangible impact, and that was realistic for students to participate in given their schedules. We give students the opportunity to be involved with hands-on land management activities, such as tree planting, weeding, and site maintenance, as well as developing their plant identification skills, learning how to plan and implement their own restoration projects, applying for grants, and gaining experience in community and stakeholder engagement. We primarily run events on weekends, and we provide transport in the form of carpooling to minimise barriers to participation. We also have an ongoing restoration project based on our Sandy Bay campus so students who work or have other commitments on weekends can still participate.
With the support of the Sustainability Team, staff from the Tasmanian University Student Association (TUSA) and staff members from the School of Geography, Planning, and Social Sciences, the Landcare Society have been able to deliver positive impacts on the natural environment, and on UTAS students who want to have hands-on experiences while connecting with incredible communities across Tasmania.