WIRES NR, Lions Club International and Green Corps project.
We are fortunate to live in the Northern Rivers region which is home to the greatest bio diversity of wildlife in NSW. Unfortunately it is also a region of high unemployment for our local youth. While the immediate voluntary work of WIRES is concerned with the rescue and care of native animals as well as informing the public about these animals, our liaison with other organisation's also links us to environmental, scientific and social projects, particularly to youth projects. Fortunately this WIRES branch has many members with other professional backgrounds to support these community projects.
With a Lions Club Northern NSW Community Trust's $10 000 grant donation from Lions International we were able to extend our youth involvement & mentoring to include 19-20 yr old job seekers who sought to enhance their employment prospects through a six month Green Corps program. This Green Corps Team worked on the construction of the wildlife enclosures funded by Lions and on a Wildlife Monitoring Project at Rosebank which provided WIRES with valuable scientific information.
The young job seekers acquired WIRES training in Rescue and Immediate Care; in addition the Participants undertook nationally accredited training in Certificate II Conservation and Land Management. Course work and on the job training included; OH&S, St Johns Senior First Aid, Communication in the Workplace, Working Effectively in the Workplace, Seed Collection, Flora Recognition, Fauna Recognition, Plant Propagation, Treating Weeds, Chemical Use and Safety. The young people also engaged in career planning and life goal setting workshops to assist them in developing clear direction for their working future.
It was not all work and no play for these young people though; by joining the Green Corps Team the participants met new colleagues who no doubt will remain long-term friends. There are many techniques used in workplaces to encourage team development, these participants were treated to some awesome bush treks, beach days, regular swims in local waterhole's and the obligatory French cricket at lunchtime. So while they were busy learning to communicate effectively in the workplace, they were also forging strong respectful bonds with each other.
WIRES Northern Rivers was pleased to attend the Green Corps team Graduation at Rummery Park on Friday 4th May with Lions Club International representatives.
This event was enormously significant as it demonstrated how the Lions Club Northern NSW Community Trust's $10 000 grant to WIRES linked directly to supporting community and youth projects, ultimately making a profound impact on the lives of five young Green Corps graduates. When WIRES initially applied for the Lions Grant, the full extent of these links and positive outcomes was not envisaged.
The Lions donation gave these young adults the opportunity to be involved in WIRES voluntary work, where new skills were developed, self esteem was raised and a work ethic was instilled.
At the conclusion of their six month program, these young Green Corps graduates (initially 10 young people, with 5 finally graduating) have an invigorated and positive outlook on life, armed with a folder full of credentials backed by practical experiences. They spoke earnestly at their graduation about their experiences. All the people in the audience were moved by their speeches. Three have already secured employment
while the others are actively pursuing employment leads with renewed enthusiasm.
In essence, not only has the Lions donation funded aviaries, enclosures and an emergency response and public information trailer, but it has linked to the Wildlife Monitoring Project at Rosebank, involving youth through Green Corps and New Train. The project also has direct links to Lismore City Council and National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Undertaking future projects involving Youth and the Environment is an
area we see as having great potential and positive outcomes.
WIRES Nr would like to thank Lions for their support and perhaps we can embark upon similar partnership ventures in the future.