Torquay’s history knows no boundaries as local historians join forces to create an online museum to showcase the Torquay and surrounding districts development over the years. Read more
The forum generated various ideas for the next steps that could be taken towards realising our future aspirations as coast carers. These ideas could be grouped into four key themes.
In the conversations we have from now onwards, we need to:
- continue to talk about the BIG questions that we hold and find ways of communicating the key messages simply – with each other and with others (e.g. Why is our work important? What does it matter?)
- create opportunities for more conversations between our community and the various agencies involved in coast care
- look for opportunities where people are gathering to talk about related topics (e.g. fire management) and draw links to our purpose and activities, and
- reframe the language we use when communicating with others (e.g. refer to ‘vegetation’ as ‘habitat’ – see Birds Australia publications for good examples of simple, accessible language).
We also need to use the stories we share as a foundation to:
- create an ‘interpretive story’ for visitors to experience on the soon-to-be-built Surf Coast Walk
- set a mission that everyone shares the stories (i.e. what we do and why) with as many people as we can and then invite them to join us in taking action
- capture and share the great stories that we all know about (and start to actively collect these stories in words, photos and video), and
- use our broader network to create its own online space that is accessible and simple, and allows local groups to upload and share stories, photos, event details, questions and video.
In the work we do together, we can start to:
- fund and prioritise ongoing monitoring programs to inform our learning and outcomes
- make our activities more visible to other people, starting with working bees and other activities on the Great Ocean Road (Note: during the forum, Coast Action/Coastcare provided a sign template that groups could use to promote their activities)
- start to research and document (e.g. in a story) the extent to which we are ‘winning or losing’ the battle to save key ecosystem species/the war against environmental weed species, and
- begin looking to the philanthropic sector as a possible funding source for our projects (e.g. www.ourcommunity.com.au).
By networking more we could:
- find a central point of contact that works across all the agencies (e.g. Coast Action/Coastcare)
- update our own lists of all current volunteer groups, starting with centralised information sources (e.g. Surf Coast Shire, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee), and
- make the effort to do more ‘volunteer exchanges’ when doing on-ground works.
If we focus on implementing some or all of these ideas as we talk, share, work together and network, we will move forward together and achieve more on-ground success in caring for the coast!
During the forum, the group was asked this question:
If we had a magic wand that we could wave to make our work together everything we hoped for, what tangible things would we see?
The following responses provide a glimpse into our goals and hopes for the future as coast carers:
- We have more volunteers, especially younger people joining us.
- Community participation in our on-ground activities is filled with people from all parts of the coast, of all ages and cultures, and with a gender balance.
- We have better links with land managers and agencies, and they are providing more help with our working bees.
- We have more funding for on-ground works – and we are accessing new funding sources.
- Funding agencies recognise the need for longer-term funding of our projects, which is enabling both certainty and monitoring of these projects into the future.
- We have found ways to generate money from tourism to put into our on-ground works.
- Applying for grant funding is now simple and accessible for all groups – only the essential information is needed to complete the submissions.
- Our efforts have resulted in improved communication between all agencies, land managers and groups.
- Our education efforts have raised awareness of the fact that we all share many goals, which has resulted in greatly strengthening communication.
- We have evolved our communication to a point where each player has full knowledge of what each other is doing. As a result, groups are building on each other’s work, sharing skills and resources.
- Succession planning and management has become a reality, and all groups are working together to plan ahead and share ideas.
- The ongoing ‘politics’ continues… despite this, our work continues to get stronger with a healthy focus on catchment boundaries (instead of political lines on a map).
- One single regional agency (or point of contact) has been established.
- Our successful work has been widely acknowledged and promoted throughout the community.
- It has become the norm for companies and larger organisations to provide staff on paid time-out to assist with on-ground works (e.g. Rip Curl Planet Days).
- Growth in the employment of our people and groups has happened!
- We are seeing richer biodiversity through the removal of weeds.
- More and more people now know the difference between weeds and indigenous plant species.
- Our community of volunteers and groups is using online tools in unique and effective ways. We use these tools to coordinate, share knowledge, and recruit and attract new people.