In 2019, we are exploring new ways to provide transformative experiences of connection to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

We were overwhelmed by applications for our 2019 grant round; for a grant pool of $20,000, we received over $175,000 in requests for funding. Although sadly this meant we were unable to fund many fantastic applications, we were delighted to see such excitement and energy for this work.

This year, we have a particular focus on learning, and successful applicants will be completing interview-based evaluation to really understand how we could be activating people’s latent love and sense of responsibility for the natural world. If you’re interested in attending our wrap-up workshop in November where our projects will be sharing their learning and insights, email Jill, our Amongst It Coordinator, at jill.woodlands@ncssa.asn.au.

We are also currently reaching out to local indigenous groups and individuals to sponsor one or more projects owned and led by aboriginal people. For more information, contact Jill at the email above.

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Youth Unearthed

Hosted by Youth Inc. at Kuitpo Forest, Youth Unearthed is a 3-day, 2-night experiential learning adventure for young people aged 17 - 24 years old who are giving up on their sense of purpose and value. The adventure will involve a range of practical, hands-on, project-based activities including bushwalking (orienteering), nature-based art, mountain biking (geocaching), community service (with Forestry SA), campfire cooking, bushcraft (shelter building), and other team and personal development activities. At Amongst It, we were excited to see how people at this time of life might respond to an invitation to be in nature during a time of vulnerability and uncertainty and the ways this might inspire a stronger sense of responsibility for and interdependence with the natural world.

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Spotlighting the Suburbs

This project, hosted by the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association, will link with new residents of the Newenham Mount Barker housing sub-division on Flaxley Road. This is an accidental community of people drawn together by the attractive house and land packages. There are currently 47 families living on site, 12 homes under construction and 15 in the design approval process. 150 homes are expected to be completed by the end of the 12-15 year project as one of the lower-density developments around Mount Barker. Spotlighting the Suburbs will bring together this new community, helping them connect to the nature around them through a series of events and activities: night walk, daytime fossick, Newenham Neighbours Wildlife Tally with Questagame, native plant sales and design support eg. bird, butterfly or bee-attracting plants. We were curious to see how connecting to place might also help bring together a new community of people.

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Migrants in Marine Parks

In this program, Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries will be welcoming recent arrivals, refugees, asylum seekers and/or international students to SA’s beautiful beaches and marine parks, which we know can be a scary place for many who have arrived from landlocked countries. Many new arrivals take swimming lessons soon after arriving in Australia; this program will relocate the lessons to their local beach where, when comfortable, they can also transition to using a mask, snorkel and fins. For participants, this will be an opportunity to connect with their local community and with their coast and marine environments, fostering appreciation for our environment and developing understanding about the need to care for it.

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The Nature Strip

Each October, ZestFest—A Festival for Modern Ageing—leads a growing social revolution, actively re-shaping perceptions of ageing and turning stereotypes of being older on their head! ZestFest featured 257 events in 2018 with an estimated audience of over 100,000 people. Curated by Council of the Ageing, the Nature Strip is a beautifully styled and produced 2020 calendar, showcasing unexpected images of nude older people in nature, which will be launched at one of ZestFest’s flagship events. Featuring high quality professional photography, the Nature Strip will reveal hidden treasures in our natural world, juxtaposed with non-explicit images of older people who are getting Amongst It. The proceeds from calendar sales will be directed to support the work of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia—in this way, this calendar is a true expression of love and commitment for SA’s wonderful environment.

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Amongst It at the Beach

Surfing SA wants to help young people get amongst it by building a connection to the natural environment and our responsibility to help protect it. They will create a mobile workshop and learning caravan that they can take to SA beaches to give young people the chance to make their own hand plane (a small hand-held surfboard to assist body surfing) from recycled materials such as pallets and skateboards. To participate, young people will be asked to walk along the beach and collect litter, which they will then be able to exchange for a hand plane they can build and decorate at the caravan. After they build their hand plane, the participants will be encouraged to go straight out and use it. The Amongst It panel was excited to see how this project might invite a younger crowd to make the connection between the activities they enjoy, and the natural spaces that support them.

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Naturehood, Nurturehood

Hosted by Cyprea Sustainability, ‘Naturehood, Nuturehood’ is an emerging community activation organisation that seeks to simultaneously enhance the connections people have with nature and with one another in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide through adult nature micro-adventures and foraging. It aims to re-ignite disruptive skills such as play, spontaneity, curiosity and creatively in the adult community. Using nature as a catalyst for wellbeing and play, this project aims to strengthen suburban resilience stimulate environmental action and awareness.

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Tree Stories

To promote connection with trees and to harness the energy and participation of local residents, the City of Burnside will host the “Tree Stories” project to share and promote residents’ personal stories and feelings about local trees. Through a community survey, a multitude of stories will be collected, in which participants describe their connection to particular trees. From the survey, stories will be selected that are engaging and informative, demonstrating participant diversity and connection with trees on public and private land. A professional photographer will photograph the selected residents with their trees, while a graphic designer will develop engaging posters and social media posts, with striking photos and quotes used together to demonstrate residents’ connections to their trees. These stories will then be shared through social media, promotion at council venues, and on bus shelters across the City of Burnside, encouraging more involvement from local residents to get involved in local activities that protect and preserve the beautiful specimens across the district and combat declining tree coverage.