There are some pretty amazing young people in this area. One of them is Megan Rowlatt.
Megan is a local environmental warrior who saw a need, and acted on it, to create Illawarra Intrepid Landcare, a group of young people who are doing amazing things for the Northern Illawarra, and the environment in general!
Landcare had an image problem. With 6000 groups established across the state doing incredible work for their local environments, there were fears the organisation may die out due to the lack of younger people getting involved.
So Megan established Illawarra Intrepid Landcare, to reinvent the concept and allow young people to volunteer to help our environment while working with like-minded people. The group now has more than 120 members aged from their teens up to their mid 30s.
The great thing is, the young people now often work alongside the older volunteers at Landcare and enjoy the many benefits of inter-generational weeding!
Megan is a Land Services officer who works with Local Land Services, dealing with environmental rehabilitation on private property.
She had been helping Landcare for 8 years, writing grants and securing resources, when she saw the need to create a separate organisation for young people.
“We meet once a month,” says Megan. “Sometimes we work on local projects with Landcare, sometimes we take part in an activity which allows us to look at nature from a different perspective.
“Weeds are our biggest environmental concern in the Illawarra,” she says. ” We will often clear the weeds, then leave the area for Landcare to maintain.
“Bringing indigenous knowledge into land management is also part of our charter, and we have taken part in cultural burning as a means of controlling weeds.
Megan says it’s not unusual for the group to team up with other like-minded organisations including Willow Warriors. “Recently we went on a kayaking trip with them, removing weeds along the riverbank, then camping at night.
“We have also visited a sheep farm near Dubbo where we stayed in a traditional homestead, so we helped clear the land of weeds, but we also got to experience country life and Australia’s heritage. It’s great fun while doing something amazing for our environment.
The biggest hurdle young environmental warriors face is a lack of access to tools. This has become a serious issue as the University of Wollongong has now launched a branch of Illawarra Intrepid Landcare, and needs the equipment to help tackle local areas of concern.
So get ready to kick off your shoes (and grow a beard) because an event is being held at Towradgi Bowls on Sunday August 23 to raise money for badly-needed tools.
On the morning of August 23, the group will teamed up with other locally based environmental groups to conduct a clean up of Towradgi Beach.
“‘Surfriders South Coast’ and ‘Beach Clean Ups Illawarra’ are right behind us and it’s great to have their support. They’ll be taking part in the clean up before heading over to the Bowling Club for a game or two.
And Megan says if you’re keen to be a part of Illawarra Intrepid Landcare, they’d love to have you!
“Have a look at our website,” she says, “And connect with us on Facebook. We’d love to have more helpers on board!”