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Youth Landcare Photography - Youth-captured Landcare Stories

Youth Photography Project - “Recognising our Environmental Volunteers”

What is it? In 2004, young people were invited to participate in a 10 week project. They learned black and white and digital photography, and then used these new skills to capture the spirit and passion of some of our Shire’s environmental volunteers. The project culminated in a public exhibition celebrating the works and the efforts of the volunteers.

How did it happen? In 2004 the then Mount Alexander Shire Council Landcare Coordinator, Dean Bridgfoot and local photography teacher, Deanna Neville, collaborated on a youth project in partnership with funding from the Commonwealth Government Natural Heritage Trust.  The project invited 8 young people (aged 16-25) to learn black & white darkroom skills, explore the elements of the environment, resulting in an exhibition of their work.

What was the purpose? The project sought to engage young people around the theme of environment and landcare that would help raise the profile of celebrated life-long landcarers in the community and increase the interest of young people in similar activities. There is a wealth of environmental volunteers in the Mount Alexander Shire who have worked tirelessly and with spirit and passion for their cause.

Strengths: By linking each young person with one or two longtime active landcarers either through their own community connections or via the Landcare Coordinator, a new connection was made between younger and older, and around landcare action, which according to research, is not widely taken up by young people around this age-group.

Opportunities: The exhibition was well attended, particularly by the photographers’ friends and families, increasing their awareness of who the activists are that chips away tirelessly at local landcare activities. The photos were framed in large, heavy timber frames, making it somewhat difficult to re-house elsewhere, however, local council has placed some of the images on internal walls and have spoken of displaying them in more permanent public places.

Participants:

Lilly Falconer - Lilly is 16 and lives in Castlemaine. The Landcare Photography Project was Lilly’s first shot at photography. She discovered the project through Castlemaine Secondary College where she goes to school. Lilly teamed up with a friend from CSC, Jaime Appleby, to profile two of Castlemaine’s many Landcare enthusiasts, Rachel Legg and Ern Perkins.
“(The project) will affect the people selected for the project dramatically and through them hopefully reach the youth of Castlemaine and the Shire”.

Jaime Appleby - Jaime is a 16 year old who resides in Kyneton. She heard about the Photography Project at her school in Castlemaine where she has recently completed Year 11 (she hopes). Jaime studied photography at CSC and figured this would be a great opportunity to apply her skills.
“I want to be involved in something that would be informing, involving and helpful to the community and environment … This would be a unique experience and opportunity to get a meaningful message across about an important and worthwhile topic”.

Orien Goulding - Orien is 20 years old. He was born in South Australia and lived in Strathalbyn for 14 years. After this he moved to Victoria and went to Castlemaine Secondary College. He is very interested in martial arts and has studied Capoiera and Aikido.  This course has provided an opportunity to combine his interests in photography and land care.
“I think it’s important that the community learns about the environmental hazards we are facing. I believe we live in a beautiful part of Australia which includes many different areas such as farms, regrowth, bush, forest, cities, small towns and important waterways”.

Jade Krol - Jade is a 17 year old who has just completed her VCE at Highview in Maryborough. She wishes to move to Melbourne next year and study Interior Decoration and Design at RMIT. She took up this photography course because her passion for the hobby is extremely strong and she wanted to improve her understanding of photography processing. She thoroughly enjoyed beign a part of the project.
“The feeling I get when I walk through the bush of Mount Alexander Shire is peacefulness, freedom and clarity. Overall, I think that our shire is a beautiful place”.

Kalia Laycock-Walsh - Kalia is 15 and goes to Castlemaine Secondary College. She often takes photos on holidays and at family gatherings as well as in the bush around her house. Kalia competed a darkroom course previously through the Castlemaine Community House.
“Despite the gorse and farming I still love the scraggly bush of Mount Alexander Shire and the rocky outcrops of Dog Rocks at Leanganook. I also like the struggling creeks that wind their way through Castlemaine”.

Jayde Parkman - Jayde is currently attending Castlemaine Secondary College. She has lived in Castlemaine all her life and over the last couple of years has developed a strong interest in photography. Jayde has studied photography at school for the past two years and is continuing with photography, as part of her Year 12 studies. Jayde hopes to include photography as part of her career.
“Photographs can say so much. It’s the best way to capture the reality of situations, when we are shown visually the importance of improving the environment, the passion and what can be achieved, it is more likely to make an impression and inspire the community to participate”.

Nicole Clutterbuck - Nicole is a 14 year old student at Castlemaine Secondary College. She has entered a few photography competitions and has won a couple of prizes. Nicole’s mother Debbie is also interested in photography and was taught by Deanna in the darkroom as well. Nicole’s sister Leah is involved in the photography project as well.



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