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Green army mobilised on KI

News release
24 June 2015

A group of enthusiastic young people has enlisted in a project to improve their employability while also assisting with a number of Kangaroo Island natural resources programs.

The project entitled ‘Enhancing Kangaroo Island ecosystems from coast to coast’ is the first of the Australian Government’s Green Army (GA) projects to be conducted on KI and is sponsored by the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board . Workskil Australia is the service deliverer, responsible for recruiting and managing the GA members and employing team leader, Claudia Heldt, to supervise day-to-day activities.

Kangaroo Island GA members are participating in a range of activities, including collecting seeds, propagating plants, re-vegetation, weed control, maintaining walking and fire trails, carrying out koala, glossy black-cockatoo and shorebird surveys, beach rubbish clean-ups and feral cat trapping around little penguin colonies.

Through participating in these activities, members will gain skills and hands-on experience to supplement their formal training. They will also undertake units from the Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management and have already completed introductory units in first aid, occupational health and safety and environmentally sustainable work practices.

Each member received a set of personal protective gear, including a hi-vis shirt and work boots that are losing their shine now that the team has begun field work. So far the GA has located and counted koalas, removed weeds from Emu Bay and Parndana and helped monitor glossy black-cockatoo activity at Cygnet River.

GA members are enthusiastic about being part of the project, especially because of the opportunity to complete units of the Conservation and Land Management certificate.

Tyron Fejo who moved to the island to play football, hopes to be a ranger with the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife service and believes this project will help him achieve his goal.

Sarah Van Roosmalen’s motivation to join was to try something new. ‘I’m in it for the learning and to meet people I wouldn’t normally meet’, she said.

Jess Kearns has always wanted to work outdoors with animals and plants and hopes that this experience will give her more opportunities to do so.

Anthony Anderson feels the project will give him ‘more of an idea of what’s available and working towards the certificate should lead to better job opportunities’. Having completed his first month of the project, Anthony said that he had already gained a better understanding of the work that goes into protecting the environment.

River Buick who recently joined the team said that he’d always been interested in environmental work and that it is ‘a good opportunity to find out more —it’s a pathway into the future’.

GA team leader, Claudia, feels that the project’s benefits not only include increasing members’ knowledge and skills but it also assists them to become job focused.

‘As well, it increases their awareness of the island’s environmental issues and projects while giving good environmental outcomes for the KI landscape. There are wins all round,’ she said.