9 young people graduated from the final Green Army project in the Bathurst region today at Skillset’s Flannery Centre. This was the fifth and final project over a 2 year period for the area and a large crowd gathered to mark the occasion. Mayor Graeme Hangar thanked all participants on behalf of the community for the great work they have completed and Skillset Environment Manager Ashley Bland thanked Council for being a supportive and proactive Host.
The Green Army team, led by Skillset in partnership with Campbell Page and Bathurst Regional Council (Project Host) helped to protect, restore and connect Bathurst Woodlands. The project was held on 17 sites to target native vegetation restoration. The Green Army Team assisted with site assessments, targeted weed control, fence removal, seed collection, planting of local native vegetation, walking track maintenance and erosion control.
Over the five projects, Skillset hosted 42 local young participants, of whom many are now gainfully employed. The project also reaped great environmental outcomes including nearly 8,000 planted trees and shrubs, 103ha of weed treatment and the removal of nearly 8 tonnes of debris. In addition, the team gained skills in fencing, track construction, gully restoration, erosion control, seed collection and propagation, field days and events, monitoring and evaluation, and more.
The Green Army is a hands-on, practical environmental action program that supports local environmental and heritage conservation projects across Australia. It is an initiative for young Australians aged 17–24 years who are interested in protecting their local environment.
Skillset and Campbell Page partnered to become one of five Service Providers delivering the Green Army Programme for the Australian Government. Together with our training partner TAFE Western we manage projects across New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
Student learning at Kandos High and Public Schools will be enhanced by a new garden with a focus on environmental, sustainability and cultural heritage education.
Funded by a Kepco grant to the school, Skillset Environment Land Works were engaged to design the landscape and manage the project logistics and construction of the Kandos Connective Educational Garden.
Land Works Coordinator, landscape architect and ex Kandos High student, Thomas Staff, designed the garden to be a physical barrier between the two schools that looks and acts like a connected holistic landscape. An educational walk through has twelve stops which students can engage with interactive signage via an iPad or smart phone. Each stop has a variety of information and illustration describing various content. The twelve stops educate students about: rainforest ecosystems, woodland ecosystems, grassland ecosystems, canopy cover and climate change, carbon sequestration, water saving, growing food, vegetation linkages and corridors, indigenous heritage, bioswales, water sensitive urban design, and recycling.
The gardens main features will be aesthetically pleasing, adding colour and texture to a concrete dominated landscape. Functionally the garden has several usable spaces including an indigenous yarning circle outdoor classroom, synthetic lawn with shade cloth, raised sensory garden bed, eco-shelter that functions as a study pod, stage and shaded area, and eight grass squares that students can relax on.
Initial consultation and design was completed in November 2016. Draft designs were presented to both principals and the P&C. The final design master plan was accepted by the schools early December 2017 and site preparation/demolition was completed before Christmas.
Construction began in the second week of January 2017 and engaged local contractors and suppliers. The aim was to source local materials and resources so money was kept in the local community. The majority of construction and installation was complete by the end of January before students returned to school. Plantings were delayed until March to ensure that plants had the best chance to survive and grow.
As part of their holistic approach to the project and demonstrating their commitment to sustainable communities through both environmental and employment outcomes, Land Works employed and trained three year 11 Kandos High students to help complete the landscape preparation and garden construction. This opportunity provided the students with valuable experience and skills they can use in their future careers. They expressed their pride in helping build a wonderful garden in their school.
James Hoetink and Gianluca Della Libera are two of the Year 11 boys who were employed and trained by Land Works to help build the Kandos Connective Educational Garden
The school is planning to encourage neighbouring schools to use their educational landscapes. The school has also engaged Skillset Environment Land Works to run two educational workshops with students to develop the content for the twelve educational signs. An opening is being planned for the end of March once signs and plants have been installed. Skillset Environment is proud to have been chosen to work on this project and thanks the schools for the opportunity to create this garden for future generations of Kandos students.
On Wednesday Dec 21 in Bathurst a team of young people graduated from the Green Army program having completed the third phase of the Bathurst Green Army project “Protecting, Restoring and Connecting Bathurst Woodlands”. They now have new skills in environmental and conservation fields which will assist them to move onto further training or employment. The graduating Bathurst team were joined by the Oberon and Lithgow teams for the graduation – so many young people learning work and life skills while contributing to our future by undertaking environmental works. What a brilliant outcome!
The Green Army team, led by Skillset in partnership with Campbell Page and Bathurst Regional Council, worked to protect and improve the habitat quality of remnant native vegetation in the highly cleared landscape of the Bathurst Local Government Area. This will help improve resilience and connectivity so that our local plants and animals have a more secure future. The project team have worked over 17 sites around Bathurst, undertaking activities including site assessments, targeted weed control, fence removal, planting of local native trees, walking track maintenance and erosion control.
Project host Bathurst Regional Council saw the Green Army program as an ideal opportunity to both support employment opportunities for young people and support a range of community groups and government agencies in their efforts to conserve the natural environment of the Bathurst Region. Thank you to Bathurst Regional Council for your vision with this project and contributing to our local communities by undertaking this work in partnership with Skillset, Campbell Page, TAFE Western and the Green Army.
Thirteen energy saving ideas for Central West communities will be pitched to a team of energy experts next year as part of a campaign to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses and communities in the state’s Central West, Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said. The community led competition, Spark Tank, was established to kick start innovative home-grown energy solutions in Central West NSW. The NSW Government is supporting the Bathurst based community organisation, Skillset, to deliver the Spark Tank campaign. “The 13 semi-finalists have demonstrated ideas with great potential to boost energy productivity for homes, businesses and communities,” Mr Toole said. “Reducing energy costs is vital to the long-term sustainability of communities and industries across Central West NSW.” The semi-finalists will pitch their project ideas to a group of energy experts at a Gala Night on Thursday 16 March 2017 in a bid to be one of three projects to secure start-up funding as well as ongoing support to bring their ideas to life. Senior Manager of Skillset Environment Ashley Bland said he and his team would now help the semi-finalists to incubate their ideas and build new networks. “We look forward to helping the semi-finalists continue to explore their concepts, innovate and give legs to their ideas,” Mr Bland said. “We’re excited that three of these project ideas will ultimately win Spark Tank and receive support for their energy efficiency projects from a $50,000 innovator funding pool as well as mentoring worth $25,000 and other support provided by Spark Tank sponsors. “These winners can turn their ideas into realities and Central West NSW can look forward to three great local energy efficiency projects.” For more information follow the link: http://www.sparktank.com.au/
Image: Paul Toole MP with Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo and Skillset Strategic Projects Manager Sandra Gray at yesterday’s Spark Tank Announcement