Agriculture Victoria is keen to encourage more young people to connect with their local community and natural environment through invasive pest and weed management.
Grants of up to $15,000 are available to support projects that will increase youth interest, engagement and skills in invasive species management in Victoria.
Invasive Species Project Officer Lauren Hull said young people are under-represented in community efforts to manage pests and weeds.
“Looking after our environment is an intergenerational challenge, and it’s important that young people are part of the conversation on how we reduce the impact of pests and weeds in our landscape.”
The grant program is open to community groups, education providers and local councils, with a focus on projects that connect with young people and develop their skills, and therefore deliver broader benefits for local communities.
“We know that increasing young people’s participation in community environmental projects has significant benefits and can bring fantastic new ideas to the invasive species challenge,” Ms Hull said.
“But there are also barriers to young people getting involved such as a lack of awareness of the problem or of how they can make a difference.
“Bringing a youth-focus to community projects allows knowledge to be shared across generations, and helps young people develop the confidence to be part of the solution.”
Victorian Landcarer and Corangamite farmer Kaye Rodden said boosting youth involvement was an opportunity to strengthen community-led approaches to invasive species management.
“The younger members of our community have so much to offer, they are energetic innovators and we need to find ways to make it attractive for them to be part of community-led projects such as this one focused on managing invasive species,” Ms Rodden said.
“A healthy, pest free landscape needs a strong resilient community, and this relies on people of all ages being engaged and involved.”
Applications for the grants program close 30 September 2019.