Young Tassie Ecologist Receives Top Landcare Leadership Award

Woman in red coat smiling

Winner of the Steadfast Young Landcare Leadership Award named at the National Landcare Awards

25 August 2022 | Twenty-five-year-old ecologist Yanti Winoto-Lewin from Hobart, Tasmania, was last night announced as the winner of the 2022 Steadfast Young Landcare Leadership Award.

Presented at the National Landcare Awards held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney, Yanti was one of seven finalists in the running for the award, which acknowledges an individual or youth group aged 15 to 35 that has displayed leadership and excellence in landcare practices.

Recognised for her outstanding efforts to protect Tasmania’s unique ecosystems, connect communities to natural places and foster respect for the environment, Yanti established the group Friends of Franklin Forest (FoFF) in 2020 while in her final year of a plant science/geography degree at the University of Tasmania. The group’s main activities are stewarding an area of forest, introducing people to the area and teaching about its ecology.  

“Stewarding the land involves maintaining a clear and safe track for visitors to use, so the impact of visitors is contained to a small area. It also involves working to remove a large patch of gorse at an old mill site,” explained Yanti.

Thanks to FoFF’s petitioning and awareness raising, the area – which provides core habitat for threatened species such as the masked owl and swift parrot, but is in land zoned for timber production – has been removed from Forestry Tasmania’s three year felling rotation, with the group now working to ensure it is removed altogether.

“We are delighted to acknowledge the inspirational actions of young people like Yanti, who are finding ways to encourage wider community participation in managing the environment and natural resources in their local area,” said Landcare Australia CEO Dr Shane Norrish.

Yanti values highlighting the intricacies of ecosystems to people so they appreciate the environment around them. “Learning to identify just a few plants turns a forest or grassland from a green or yellow blur to an intricate tapestry. Learning how certain species may have been integral to people’s livelihoods adds another layer of wonder. Then encouraging people to interact (respectfully) with a place by maintaining a track, brewing a sassafras tea or weeding allows people to really care for it.”

According to Robert Kelly, Managing Director & CEO of Steadfast Group: “The Landcare Awards provide a wonderful platform to showcase youth who are excelling in their efforts to shape a better world. We congratulate the winner, Yanti Winoto-Lewin, on her initiative and commitment to supporting people to become more interested in their local environment and how they can take meaningful action when it comes to protecting it.”

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