Youth Finalists In The Running For Top Landcare Award

State and Territory finalists shortlisted for the Steadfast Young Landcare Leadership Award

Young leaders standing in an open paddock

1 July 2022:

Anticipation for the 2022 Steadfast Young Landcare Leadership Award is mounting, with the complete list of finalists for the award announced today.

The Award, which acknowledges an individual or youth group aged 15 to 35 that has displayed leadership and excellence in landcare practices, will be presented at the National Landcare Awards taking place in Sydney in August.

“We are thrilled to have Steadfast sponsor the Young Landcare Leadership Award as it is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate young people who are leading and encouraging the wider community, particularly their peers, to engage and participate in managing the environment and natural resources in their local area,” said Landcare Australia CEO Dr Shane Norrish.

“From cultivating community groups and creating networks that support and mobilise young farmers, to establishing sustainable garden projects and designing mobile chook sheds that increase soil fertility, the finalists are shining examples of youth leadership at its best.”

According to Robert Kelly, Managing Director & CEO, Steadfast Group: “We have partnered with Landcare Australia to support their efforts to improve biodiversity and build greater resilience in Australia’s food and farming systems.”

“The Landcare Awards provide a wonderful platform to showcase youth who are excelling in their efforts to shape a better world. We are inspired by the finalist’s vision, dedication and drive, which we hope will educate and inspire others to make better choices to ensure the sustainability of our environment and protect our future.”

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The full list of finalists includes:

ACT: Fred McGrath Weber

Fred is an influential leader in the ACT, bridging the gap between conservation, community, place-making and entrepreneurship. An active member of the Landcare ACT Members Council and President of the Rural Landholders Association (RLA), Fred lives and works on his family farm, Majura Valley Free Range Eggs, where he designs and builds innovative mobile egg laying sheds as part of his commitment to reducing waste and driving sustainable innovation in Australian egg production.

NSW: Young Farmers Connect

Young Farmers Connect (YFC) is a national volunteer-led, not for profit organisation committed to cultivating networks, resources and community for new, young and aspiring farmers across Australia. Through their network they provide educational platforms and community connections that encourage their young agrarians and next generation to farm for the future. As an active stakeholder driving the regenerative agriculture movement in NSW and Australia, YFC support the use and adoption of regenerative, holistic and sustainable agricultural practices. 

VIC: Tess Grieves

As the Regional Landcare Coordinator for North Central, Tess has supported over 160 Landcare groups and networks for five years. Tess’s ability to foster partnerships and secure funding initiatives has provided multiple benefits for Victoria’s environmental volunteers. She has been instrumental in the creation of new Networks and the first Intrepid Landcare Group in the Mount Alexander region. Tess also leads the annual ‘Chicks in the Sticks’ rural women’s events, and works tirelessly to bring visibility to women in NRM and increase Aboriginal Cultural Awareness amongst local Landcare staff and volunteers.

TAS: Yanti Winoto-Lewin

Yanti is a 24-year-old ecologist from Tasmania. She started the group Friends of Franklin (FoFF) forest in June 2020 while in her final year of a plant science/geography degree at the University of Tasmania. She cares deeply about connecting communities to natural places, fostering respect for our environment and protecting Tasmania’s unique ecosystems. Her activities have brought a sense of pride for community members who have a new natural place to visit close to home. Many now visit regularly.

SA: Sharif Noorzai

Sharif is an 18-year-old student from Salisbury East High School and a member of the SA Youth Environment Council (YEC), as well as a mentor and support for other students in his school’s student leadership group, and the SA Youth Parliament. In 2018, Sharif began a garden project at his school to reinvigorate a patch of garden overrun by weeds. The garden project has been running ever since and continues to grow, thanks to a sustainability group Sharif formed with other students to maintain and promote the garden.

WA: Jayson Sekhon

Jayson Sekhon, Community Landcare Officer with Western Australia’s South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL), works with schools, corporate and community groups to deliver environmental rehabilitation community projects in reserves across the City of Melville, City of Canning and crown land. In 2020 Jason was responsible for the City of Melville’s ‘Blue Gum Lake Rehabilitation Project’ where he was tasked to carefully select and plant over 40,000 native riparian sedge seedlings on the Blue Gum Lakebed. His coordination of numerous community groups and capacity to demonstrate best planting techniques have yielded greater survivability of seedlings with the area hosting more wildlife than before.

QLD: Owen Connor Harris

Inspired by a visit to Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital, Owen has managed to raise over $23,000 for the wildlife hospital. He has also raised funds for Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and Cooberie Park Wildlife Sanctuary. Committed to changing perceptions about children and showing that kids can be dedicated, take initiative and achieve more than adults normally give them credit for, he started a not-for-profit, kids-led, hands-on environmental group, The Cap Coast Eco Warriors.

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