Meet Archibug – They’re Healthy. They’re Sustainable. So Why Don’t Humans Eat More Bugs?

Action4Agriculture has recently received National Career’s Institute funding to pilot a best practice model for workforce development.

The target group is young people aged 15 to 24 who may fall through the cracks without the necessary support systems.

This will see us working with three groups of young people

  1. Young people still in school
  2. Young people who have left school
  3. Young people attending schools for specific purposes

If you are not familiar with the concept of schools for specific purposes let me introduce you to the Youth off the Streets (YOTS) model a passion project of Father Chris Riley.

We have been working with YOTS for a number of years and what a joy it is

This year Eden College at Macquarie Fields put their hands up to participate in The Archibull Prize. They recorded their learning journey on Wakelet

Equally working with the state governments version of YOTS like Penrith Valley Learning Centre who won The Archibull Prize in 2020 we are always just blown away by how deeply these young people think

Students who attend these schools often come from a childhood of adverse experiences, sometimes horrendous adverse experiences. These wonderful schools have very special teachers with the skills to turn their lives around and give them hope they can break the cycle of disadvantage and create a bright future for themselves.

Lets have a look at how Eden College took a deep dive into The Archibull Prize Challenge 

The Big Idea

After conducting a vote, our class decided that we would research the UN’s SDG 2: Zero Hunger. We came to this decision after reflecting on the variety of ways different countries are impacted by hunger.

After looking into what ‘food insecurity’ means and understanding how different countries eat, we discovered the enormous amount of food wasted and discovered that humans waste 1/3 of all food produced! AND that there is enough food produced to feed everyone in the world but that due to wastage, people are food insecure. This was the main inspiration for our project.

With minimising food waste as our goal, we decided to look into alternate food sources that were both environmentally sustainable and would allow for greater food security internationally. We found out that billions of people are currently consuming insects as part of their diet. Despite our initial hesitation, we pursued this idea to understand that not only are these insects nutritious, they are cheap to farm and do not require as much energy, space or feed to produce in comparison to our traditional western forms of protein (eg. chicken, beef, pork etc).

We asked the students at Eden College to tells us what success looked like. This is what they said

Success in 2022 first and foremost looked like the completion of this project. Seeing the disappointment in not being able to bring the vision of our social action group to life in 2021 (due to COVID lockdowns) motivated us to do our best this year.

We also measured success by:

  • collaborating on ideas and working well as a group to bring our vision to fruition
  • learning about the UN’s SDGs (specifically zero hunger). We completed various activities and consumed information from the CSIRO, National Geographic and WHO to learn about Indigenous Australian hunting and gathering processes, Cambodian and Thai experiences with food insecurity and how to irradicate it.
  • using this knowledge to come up with viable solutions

We believe as a class that we have achieved major success through this project and have inspired small changes within our school.

We asked them what they found EXCELLENT, UNFORTUNATE, SUPRISING

See what we mean, what a joy it is to work with young people who are ACTIVE and AWARE and have the capacity to help us #CreateABetterWorldTogether

Meet the Eden College’s Archibug

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Young Farming Champions Muster July 2022

Headline Act

The Muster showcases the careers, advocacy and lifetime highlights of our Young Farming Champions and it is usually peppered with stories from our YFC alumni. However, in this Muster it is the newbies – those undertaking Cultivate and still learning the ropes – who shine; taking on leadership positions, talking to the next generation, excelling in their studies and revelling in their agricultural careers. Read on to see how Danielle, Lachlan, Florance and Sam are taking the lead to be confident and trusted change-makers – alongside their YFC alumni mentors and friends.


The Team

With The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas ramping up in schools across the country our YFC have been busy connecting with students. Lake Illawarra High School (The Archibull Prize) recently held an Urban2AG careers day and new YFC Danielle Fordham and Lachlan White shared their agricultural career journeys and joined students in a one-on-one ‘speed dating’ session to answer students’ in-depth questions.

Paddock Pen Pals has kicked off in primary schools participating in Kreative Koalas with Chatswood Primary School and Carlingford West Primary School leading the charge. Paddock Pen Pals gives students the opportunity to engage with YFC across a diverse range of agricultural industries including agronomy, sheep production and fisheries. Thanks to Emily May, Dione Howard, Katherine Bain, Sam Wan, Bryan Van Wyk, Lucy Collingridge, Dylan Male and YFC friend Kate McBride for stepping up to speak with our next generation.

In the Field

New YFC Sam O’Rafferty, who works with Emma Ayliffe at Summit Ag, is enjoying his agricultural career as an irrigation agronomist, helping growers produce crops such as cotton, corn, sunflowers, wheat and canola. Here is Sam in a cotton paddock that is ready to harvest, on a farm at Coleambally in Southern NSW.

Also enjoying his career is our fishing YFC Bryan Van Wyk, who is helping introduce new technology to the prawn industry. “One of the exciting projects we are working on is a new prawn processing invention which makes the most of limited available deck space on board fishing vessels. This never-seen-before multi-layered sorting belt and dip tank configuration will allow more prawns to be processed faster, improve product quality and reduce crew fatigue. It will also fit the longer dip requirements for odourless sulphite-free preservatives, which will improve working environments for crews at sea, remove sulphite allergens for consumers and open new overseas markets. Innovation is something I really enjoy. It’s all about finding better ways to do things and improving your industry and business for the future”

Bryan with chief draftsman Gavin Stone adding final touches to the new technology.

Meg Rice works as a senior policy officer at Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in the rural location of Goondiwindi (QLD) and appreciates how a career in agriculture can take her out of the city environ. “How lucky am I that this is the view from my office window”.

A crop of wheat emerging after recent rain in south western Queensland.

Danila Marini’s day job as a livestock researcher involves disseminating new research about her virtual fencing projects and this month she was happy to speak at her first face-to-face conference in two years at The Australian Association of Animal Sciences 34th biannual conference in Cairns.

“As part of the Animal Production Science Journals special issue for the conference I was invited to prepare a full paper on ‘Comparison of virtually fencing and electrically fencing sheep for pasture management’ as well as give a 10 minute oral presentation on the research at the conference itself. It’s always important to share your research at these types of events and it is a great way to make new connections. I had a great time and it’s always interesting to see the other research that is being undertaken in the agricultural industry.”

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Young Farming Champions Veronika Vicic, Danila Marini, Steph Fowler and Dione Howard all presented at the conference 


Out of the Field

The Australian Association of Animal Sciences conference also saw Dione Howard and Jo Newton band together with Lynne Strong, Larraine Larri and Nicole McDonald to prepare an abstract and presentation on how Action4Agriculture’s school-based programs are helping improve agriculture’s social license.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to present A4A’s research to the scientific community and take questions from a curious audience,” Dione says.

It has been a huge month for conferences and presentations with many YFC in action.

Dylan Male was invited by the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) to be a guest speaker at the ‘Global Goals: Environmental Sustainability Forum’, which was delivered online to primary schools across QLD.

“I spoke to students about the important role that farmers and agricultural scientists have in ensuring we live in a world of zero hunger and overcoming the challenges of climate change. I was able to share my experiences of working in PNG and Solomon Islands to demonstrate the importance of food security in our regional neighbourhood. What I liked most about this experience was seeing just how engaged the students were on these topics, and how willing they are to listen, learn and take action.”

Florance McGufficke attended the 2022 MerinoLink conference in Wagga Wagga.

“We had a range of speakers from industry body representatives, researchers, CEOs, young early- career starters and producers; all experts in their field, educating us about research projects, ewe reproduction, retail and the need for positive promotion of agriculture. There are a large number of passionate and enthusiastic people in agriculture and with the right people in the right places I believe great things will be achieved.”

Franny Earp is currently in the UK for a film summer school held by the UCL anthropology department but before she left she was as busy as ever.

Franny coordinated the Development Studies Association of Australia (DSAA) Conference and invited Dylan Male to participate. He did an excellent job sharing his stories about this PhD journey so far.

Dylan spoke on the topic ‘Survive and Thrive: Stories from Students’.

“During the discussion, we shared stories of our PhD experiences and tried to make light of the challenges we have faced by sharing a story of our ‘funny failures from the field’. This discussion made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my PhD journey, and I would like to thank and congratulate Fran for running such valuable session,” Dylan says.


Emma Ayliffe and Tim Eyes were panellists at a Grain Growers Innovation Generation event talking about farm ownership.

“It was a privilege to be asked to be part of this and my role was to share some alternative lights on how to be a farmer without owning dirt,” Emma says.

Listen to Tim talk about his experience on Generation Ag here

Lucy Collingridge attended the 2022 Robb College Agrimixer earlier this month.

“I spoke to the students about my roles as a Biosecurity Officer and Technical Officer Vertebrate Pests, and the career opportunities within our agricultural industries.”

Away from conference events our YFC spread the good agricultural word in other forums with Lucy catching up with Mate Helping Mate founder John Harper to discuss how she maintains her mental health and keeps an eye out for mates. Listen to the MHM podcast episode, titled ‘Pat a Dog Day’, here.

Sam Wan featured in Landline’s ‘Magic Merinos’ segment as part of the ABC’s 90th Birthday Celebrations ‘Things that Made Australia’.” Read more about Sam and wool here and see the Landline episode here.

Our YFC were also learning with Dione Howard and Katherine Bain attending the acclaimed AWI Breeding Leadership course in Clare, SA, with both ladies raving about the experience:

“I think most leadership courses can get lost in the aspirational ideas and you leave without gaining any real skills but over the week at Breeding Leadership we had lots of discussions around issues like farm succession, communication and governance that, for me, led to some great ideas to bring home to the farm. I left feeling excited for the future of wool both on and off farm,” Katherine says.

“A group of 19 young wool industry members came together to learn about ourselves and how we can best work within and build the farming businesses we’re involved in. The course was facilitated by Pinion Advisory and we were treated to talks and stud tours, from those out there in the industry with learnings and wisdom to share. The future of the industry is bright and I left feeling inspired for what’s to come,” Dione says.

And when not sharing their stories or learning new skills our YFC give back to communities who have supported them.

Lucy Collingridge and Jessica Fearnley continued their long-running commitment to agricultural shows and have been welcomed as the 2022 Rural Achiever representative and Group 11 Delegate, respectively, to the ASC of NSW Next Generation committee, the junior arm of AgShows NSW.

“This is an opportunity for us to give back to rural Australia and develop the future of agriculture. Agricultural shows are not only a great opportunity for our communities to come together but they also provide a platform for youth development through competitions such as Young Judges and Paraders, and they link key industry professionals with youth who want to jump in to our industry,” Lucy says.

James Cleaver 2019 NSW Rural Achiever, Dione Howard 2020 NSW Rural Achiever and 2022 National Ambassador, Minister Dugald Saunders (Agriculture/Western NSW), Lucy Collingridge 2022 NSW Rural Achiever finalist and Jessica Fearnley 2022 NSW Rural Achiever winner

Jess also attended the bicentennial celebration for the RAS, which turned 200 this year, catching up with RAS Council members, youth group members, young women and Rural Achievers.

Prime Cuts

With funding recently received from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation to enable our new program, Young Environmental Champions, we are pleased to announce that new YFC Florance McGufficke has been appointed to the inaugural VFFF Youth Advisory Group – a forum of youth voices that guide and inform VFFF grant-making. Congratulations Florance.

Another new YFC making an early impact is Danielle Fordham who recently received the University of Newcastle Beryl Nashar Prize in Level 1000 Earth Sciences and the Howard Bridgman Prize for First Year Environmental Science. Both awards were in recognition of her 2021 academic performance.

“I was deeply honoured to receive these awards and it encourages me to keep on striving and putting in the work for a better and brighter future for our community and environment. Personally, these academic awards were an unexpected surprise that came from me just giving university a go after many years of thinking I wasn’t good enough. This recognition is not just for me but for my parents and supporters who get me through the challenges and wins. Thank you so much. My motto through life is when in doubt, just give it a go!”


Lifetime Highlights

One of our lifetime highlights comes this month from Lucy Collingridge who is gifting lifetime highlights to others through the donation of blood, something she does as often as she can.

“At first I was nervous as I wasn’t sure what the whole process was like but I jumped in this time last year to give it a go. It’s really rewarding knowing I can spend an hour donating plasma which will be turned in to one of 18 lifesaving products for our most vulnerable. It could be us, or our family and friends that need an infusion one day so it’s definitely a rewarding way to spend an hour of your day. Given that agriculture is one of the most dangerous careers, I see it as another way to support Australian agriculture and our rural communities.”

You are an inspiration, Lucy!

Equally inspirational is another Wool YFC Emma Turner – how could you not be inspired to give blood with  these wonderful young women as role models


And saving our best snippet of Muster news for last, huge congratulations to Dione Howard who announced her engagement last week to a lucky bloke named Joe Fitzgerald. The whole team wishes you both all the best for a healthy and happy life together.

Partnerships for the Goals with Catholic Earthcare

Schools involved in the 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future challenge are well advanced on their SDG journey of discovery and are in the process of designing and delivering their Community Action Project (CAP). To empower students’ further Action4Agriculture connects them with similar sustainability programs, for alone we are smart but together we are brilliant.

Let’s meet Catholic Earthcare, which delivers the sustainability message and SDGs into Catholic schools across Australia.

The Catholic Earthcare Schools program “responds to the ‘cry of the earth’ to safeguard creation and provide a voice for victims of environmental injustice.”

In 2015 Pope Francis sent an appeal to Catholics around the world through Laudato Si’, which was a papal communication calling for environmental care, prayer and action. In 2020 he created a seven year action plan to care for our common home, with goals addressing the response to the cry of the earth, a response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of sustainable lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality and community resilience and empowerment. Earthcare Schools work within this framework, alongside programs for youth, parishes and families.

“Earthcare was an initiative from the Australian Catholic Bishops in 2000 to encourage people to care for the earth,” Earthcare Schools coordinator Gwen Michener says, “Our schools’ program was introduced two years ago and now has 251 schools (both primary and secondary) involved.”

The Earthcare Schools program has a five level certification process:

  • Level 1 – affirming ecological practice
  • Level 2 – ecological dialogue creating change
  • Level 3 – ecological conversion and sustained change
  • Level 4 – deep ecological conversion creating cultural change
  • Level 5 – living an ecological vocation

“Most of our schools are at Level 1 or 2 with some at Level 3. I know there are more schools out there that are at Level 3, but they just haven’t had time [with COVID etc.] to document that,” Gwen says.

While the background and methodology may differ from Kreative Koalas, the activities and outcomes for students are familiar.

Kitchen gardens stand alongside worm farms and composting. Schools have waste free Mondays and Nude Food days and are involved with Clean up Australia Day and National Recycling Week. Environmental audits allow students to design their own action plans.

“For example we have a school whose students decided they wanted to work on biodiversity so they are making birdfeeder hotels, planting native trees and researching bees. They use iNaturalist to take photos and identify species. They participate in projects with outside organisations such as testing for water quality with Melbourne Water. They’ve been involved in the Kids Teaching Kids Environmental Conference and last term they held a sustainability expo for parents and community members. And because they are in the Dandenong Ranges they participated in the Great Australian Platypus Search using eDNA, which has given them a sense of ownership for their local environment,” Gwen says.

Earthcare Schools is a student-led national movement that harmonises with other sustainability programs across Australia and Gwen sees Kreative Koalas as an ideal fit for delivering Earthcare goals through collaboration. “We recognise work that schools have done in other sustainability programs and Kreative Koalas achieves what we are looking for. Our point of difference is having the Catholic theology embedded into our program and asking why, from a religious point of view, we should care for the environment.”

#creatingabetterworldtogether #YouthVoices #SDGs

Young people in wool seeing the advantages of walking through life long learning door of opportunity.

At Action4Agriculture we grow Young Farming Champions to be confident leaders and trusted voices for agriculture. Part of that process is to encourage them to seek leadership opportunities relevant to their specific fields of expertise. For our “woollies” that often means participation in AWI’s esteemed “Breeding Leadership” program.

Breeding Leadership is a national program for young people in all facets of the wool industry and aims to develop the leadership and professional skills of young people involved in the wool industry.”

The five-day program included sessions on personal leadership, strategic planning, corporate governance as well as skills such as time management and delegation. It also allow for networking with other young wool professionals across the country, giving greater insight into challenges facing the industry and opportunities for improvement.

The 2022 Breeding Leadership cohort in action

YFC Sam Wan attended Breeding Leadership in 2014 and the experience has remained a pivotal moment in her career as a wool broker.

“The highlight for me was networking with a diverse range of people, primarily woolgrowers around the same age. It gave me more perspective on issues they were facing like succession planning. I knew as a broker what the responsibilities and service provided were but the course really instilled a focus that what I do on the brokering side does go back to families and their ability to reinvest into their businesses. I certainly learnt more about myself in the individual development segments and this had me actively seeking out further opportunities to connect more within the wool industry.”

The 2022 instalment of Breeding Leadership was recently held in Clare, SA and among the 19 participants were YFC Dione Howard and Katherine Bain.

AWI CEO, John Roberts, addressed the group and was impressed by the keen interest in all levels of the industry displayed by those present.

“These young people are the future of our industry and are so important. I really enjoyed meeting the Breeding Leadership 2022 cohort and can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Both Katherine and Dione were impressed:

“It was an amazing week in Clare networking with a great group of people who are all so passionate about wool. The course itself was insightful and practical. I think most leadership courses can get lost in the aspirational ideas and you leave without gaining any real skills. Over the week we had lots of discussions around issues like farm succession, communication and governance that, for me, led to some great ideas to bring home to the farm. I left feeling excited for the future of wool both on and off farm.” Katherine Bain

Photo source – Did you see the story on Katherine Bain and Sam Wan in latest Graziher magazine – then get your copy 

“YFCs and wool industry enthusiasts have raved about this course over the years, and I can see why. A group of 19 young wool industry members came together to learn about ourselves and how we can best work within and build the farming businesses we’re involved in. The course was facilitated by Pinion Advisory and we were treated to talks and stud tours, from those out there in the industry with learnings and wisdom to share. The future of the industry is bright and I left feeling inspired for what’s to come.” Dione Howard

Sam Wan is a committed life-long learner from the Wool Auctioneer Floor, to learning the ropes in the shearing shed to promoting the fibre in Grazhier magazine 

AWI collects statistics to measure the effectiveness of Breeding for Leadership with participants repeatedly giving the course 4.9 out of 5 for its value to their business and a 4.8 for new skills acquired. All sessions report a greater than 90% satisfaction rate with sessions on personal leadership and succession planning ranking the highest.

“Often people remark to AWI employees that Breeding Leadership kicked started them into doing more in and for the industry and that gives us great pride,” George Lehmann, AWI Project Coordinator, says.

Woolly YFCs aged between 25 and 35 are encouraged to apply for Breeding Leadership when applications open later this year. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the website for more information.

Bomaderry Public School students and their Koala spreading joy

Bomaderry Public School share an update on their Kreative Koalas journey …….

Bomaderry Public School proudly presented their Kreative Koala during NAIDOC Week 2022, to Aunty Allison their much loved and well respected long standing Aboriginal Education Officer for her contribution and thanks for all that she does and has done for their students and staff. The Stage 2 SRC class representatives and deputy principal Heidi Bridge also made a presentation during the NAIDOC assembly.

A brief background was given about the history and reason for the koala being at BPS. Stage 2 SRC reps completed the decoupage on the koala and during this time they spoke about protecting the beautiful environment that they live in and climate change and using water wisely. The 2021 NAIDOC poster was recycled and used for the decoupage. The artworks were called Caring for Country by Maggi-Jean Douglas and displayed communities, animals, bush, mountains, rivers, and coastal areas. All things that are surrounding BPS and are important features of our local environment.


The koala was well received by our school community, Aboriginal Elders, and visitors. The students were responsive to the reasons and background about how he arrived at BPS. Aunty Alison was very excited about receiving the Koala who now sits proudly on a trolley surrounded by gum leaves. He will reside in her office and continue to spread joy and reminders to protect our environment.



A special shoutout to St Vincent De Paul for funding Bomaderry Public School’s Kreative Koalas experience

Impact Reports – An opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary people you work with doing extraordinary things

At Action4Agriculture we work with some truly wonderful people. One of those is our journalist Mandy McKeesick. She is such a pleasure to brief and the outcomes always bring great joy.Mandy is the author of our Impact Reports and yesterday we made our 2021 report live. 

We celebrated the students and teachers we work with who are changing the world.

We celebrated the young people in agriculture we work with who are changing the world.

We celebrated our funding partners and our supporting partners who enable them to create a world we are all proud to be part of.

Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future

The research shows they are the demographic who are aware and active. They also have the capacity to bring the rest of us along with them.

Extraordinary things are happening in our schools –

Just a couple of examples – read our Impact Report to celebrate the many others

Watch this extract from an international presentation given by our founder Lynne Strong and teacher Kristen Jones

Banksia Awards finalists Hamilton Public School’s entry for the 2021 Kreative Koalas Competition


Visit their website here    

And the magnificent team at Penrith Valley Learning Centre – so looking forward to celebrating their win in person

2022 is the year the team at Action4Agriculture get the opportunity to deliver best practice.

And we welcome funding and supporting partners who, like us, know success requires investing in a marathon not a sprint

Alone we are smart, together we can be brilliant

Action4Agriculture is a member of Climate Action Network Australia (CANA). As an organisation we feel privileged to be supporting young people from K to 12, higher education and early career to take action on things that matter to them. Organisations like CANA bring people TOGETHER to advocate for change.

Joining the CANA community will support the young people we work with to work with others who share their commitment to create a better world together

During NAIDOC week CANA has been celebrating the incredible work of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member organisations that we are privileged to have in our network.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are at the forefront of addressing climate change and protecting people and country from the impacts of climate inaction.

The following is a list of organisations doing wonderful stuff that you can support:

Indigenous People’s Organisation

The Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation-Australia (IPO) is a national coalition of 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations, community organisations and individual members across Australia. The IPO was established to promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples at the national, regional, and international levels and to facilitate constructive and collaborative participation of Indigenous peoples at the United Nations. Following a series of talks to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2021, the esteemed IPO Climate and Environment committee developed the Heal Country, Heal Climate: Priorities for Climate and Environment Report, shared with the Australian Government delegation at the Glasgow climate conference in November. The report, supported by voices across Australia, highlighted the need to prioritise the perspectives of Indigenous peoples when it comes to climate solutions.


First Nations team at Getup!

The First Nations team at Getup! lead campaigns to end fracking in the Northern Territory, increase democratic participation, and create new federal laws protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage. Land Rights and Climate Justice are central to all our campaigns, and all First Nations work at GetUp is led by a team of campaigners from the Widjabul Wia-bul, Garrwa, Gooreng Gooreng, Wiradjuri, Noongar, Gubbi Gubbi, Kulkalgal, and Yanyuwa nations. There is no Justice without First Nations Justice.


Original Power

Original Power is a community-focused, Aboriginal organisation that builds the collective power of Aboriginal people to genuinely achieve self-determination within their communities and on their Country.


Seed Mob

Seed is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network. They aim to build a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Their vision is for a just and sustainable future with strong cultures and communities, powered by renewable energy. Seed Mob have done exceptional work bringing into the national climate debate the voices, passion and power of Indigenous youth.


Gudanji For Country

Gudanji for Country represents the Traditional Owners of the Gundanji Nation who are campaigning to protect their country from fracking. The organisation’s CEO Rikki Dank, a proud and courageous Gudanji/Wakaja woman from Borroloola, was outspoken during COP26 in Glasgow last year and has campaigned for years to prevent fracking for unconventional gas on her Country.


Colly Gamilaraay Indigenous Corporation

Colly Gamilaraay is a not-for-profit organisation whose objectives are to assist in the relief of poverty, destitution, distress, suffering, and misfortune, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through the process of supporting social and economic development. The corporation achieves this by promoting community development and acting as a resource for the community and stakeholders in the areas of education, health, sport, culture, environment, employment and welfare to rural and isolated communities  The corporation achieves this by promoting community development and acting as a resource for the community and stakeholders in the areas of education, health, sport, culture, environment, employment and welfare to rural and isolated communities.


This year’s NAIDOC theme is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!. Our network commits to strengthening relationships, engaging and working respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to uphold climate justice. We invite all CANA members to endorse and implement the Network’s Solidarity Commitments.


For those of us that are non-Indigenous, let’s ensure we Get Up, Stand Up and Show Up in meaningful ways to support the work of First Nations communities in our movement.


Visit the NAIDOC website to find out what celebrations and events are happening in your local area today.

Become a Citizen Scientist with PlantingSeeds and Kreative Koalas

Schools involved in the 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future challenge are well advanced on their SDG journey of discovery and are in the process of designing and delivering their Community Action Project (CAP). To empower students’ further Action4Agriculture connects them with influencers in our communities who work with us to create change and offer opportunities to engage with special projects. One such opportunity is with PlantingSeeds who can train everyday Aussies to be citizen scientists.

Let’s find out more.

PlantingSeeds is an environmental protection and sustainable education initiative under the passionate direction of Dr Judy Friedlander. Judy grew up exploring nature in the backyard of her Sydney home, discovering tadpoles and frogs in waterways and spotting koalas in the trees of Pittwater – in the days when this was a common sight. Throughout her journalistic career Judy championed the environment and then translated this to tertiary study with a Masters and PhD before founding PlantingSeeds in 2015.

PlantingSeeds offers a range of programs designed to engage and educate, all backed by science, research and evidence.

“Our key initiative is called the B&B Highway, which stands for bed and breakfasts for bees, birds and biodiversity. So, we’re literally talking about the need to help our wildlife with what they eat and where they sleep. We focus on plants and pollinators because they’re species that people can relate to and that are in the urban environment; and also because we have an alarming decline in our pollinator numbers,” Judy says.

The B&B Highway is both educational and practical and has established nearly 100 hubs for regenerative corridors. This involves planting native plants and establishing constructed habitat such as a nesting box or native stingless beehive. The educational aspects involve teachers and students learning about biodiversity, plants and pollinators and connecting them to biodiversity web databanks such as iNaturalist, which hosts the B&B Highway.

iNaturalist is an example of citizen science where anyone with a smart device can contribute to the identification and, ultimately, protection of fauna and flora. Judy is keen for more people to become citizen scientists and invites schools and students to be part of the B&B BioBlitz (also hosted on iNaturalist)  during National Biodiversity Month in September.

“Citizen Science is very easy and really important because this data can help scientists and experts learn more about patterns and how we can help species. We will also be running workshops for teachers prior to BioBlitz to teach them about citizen science and how to do it,” Judy says.

During BioBlitz, an Australia-wide event, students will have the opportunity to gather information about their local biodiversity and enter a photography competition with smart phones up for grabs.

“We’re excited that our organisation is proactive in bringing citizen science to Australians with this program, which is supported by NSW Department of Education, CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia, Australian Citizen Science Association, Environmental and Zoo Education Centres, Landcare and Action4Agriculture,” Judy says.

Download the Bioblitz flyer here 

Learn more about Citizen science: crowd sourcing and crowd-pleasing STEM
activities for schools here

Read more about Judy, PlantingSeeds and citizen science here

If your school and students would like to be more involved and become citizen scientists send an email to

Plant a tree – save a threatened species, with Kreative Koalas and TheBEATS

Schools involved in the 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future challenge are well advanced on their SDG journey of discovery and are in the process of designing and delivering their Community Action Project (CAP). To empower students’ further Action4Agriculture connects them with influencers in our communities who work with us to create change and offer opportunities to engage with special projects. One such special project is TheBEATS. Let’s find out more.

Tommy Viljoen, in his natural state, is a bushman. He grew up on a farm in Africa and although his career directed him to accounting and then cybersecurity, the natural world was always close to his heart. Later in life he spent three months travelling outback Australia.

“It was absolutely beautiful but there were parts that surprised me. You think ‘this is remote Australia, I should be able to see all the Australian species’ but the main things I saw were goats. I wondered how this could be,” he says.

His surprise and questioning became the motivation to form, an evolutionary return to his roots.

Tom Carroll theBEATS co-founder with Tommy Viljoen theBEATS founder holding quolls at Aussie Ark

TheBEATS is a charity that beats the drum for Biodiversity, Endangered And Threatened Species and it needs our Kreative Koala kids.

“We want do education from the bottom-up and work with people who are going to make a difference in the future, and who will be most impacted by climate change. Those people are our kids. Along with getting rid of feral predators we want to inspire our kids to help us return habitat that is so important for threatened and endangered species, and ultimately ourselves. Children influence their parents who, in turn, influence communities,” Tommy says.

In order to inspire young people to be part of regenerating habitat is launching a challenge pilot program called Trees for Nature. It calls on students to research an endangered or threatened species in their local area (helpful hint: check out this interactive website developed by the University of Queensland), and then submit an artwork (maybe a Kreative Koala!). For every artwork submitted a tree will be planted in one of two theBEATS projects.

The two projects are situated in the Clarence River area of northern NSW. The first provides additional food resources for koalas, while the second provides safe passage through road developments for threatened coastal emus {insert emu crossing photo}. Six specific tree species (red gum, tallowwood, small fruity grey gum, swamp mahogany, white mahogany and grey ironbark) are being planted.

Jane Beattie, a high school teacher and nature lover has teamed up with Barbara Linley who owns two parcels of land on the mid-North Coast of NSW between McLaren and Broome Head, very close to Yuraygir National Park. With a team of committed folk and the help of Envite they have just planted out 1000 trees for koalas near Tullymorgan.  

“We will allocate one of these trees to every child who submits an artwork and provide them with information about the tree and why it is important. They, in turn, can see that action is being taken due to their efforts,” Tommy says.

TheBEATS is looking for two Kreative Koalas schools to be part of the inaugural Trees for Nature challenge.

“Our scientists and nature lovers tell us one of the most important things we can do at this time for our endangered creatures, is to stop habitat loss and regenerate it wherever we can. We want to get people, and especially kids, to make the connection between habitat and biodiversity protection, and to recognise how important that is,” Tommy says. “

If your school wants to restore nature one tree at a time and return habitat to our threatened and endangered species, now is the time to act.

Want to know more about TheBEATS? Contact:


  • Tommy Viljoen at
  • Louise Denver


Introducing our 2022 Young Farming Champions

Action4Agriculture is pleased to introduce 10 passionate agriculturists (including our first international contingent) who have joined the 2022 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program and kicked off their learning with a Goal Setting and Time Management Workshop delivered by Josh Farr.

Our 2022 cohort are:

Katharine Charles from Boorooma, NSW, supported by Riverina Local Land Services

Sam O’Rafferty from Coleambally, NSW, supported by Riverina Local Land Services and Murray Darling Basin Authority

Kate Webster from Gundagai, NSW, supported by Riverina Local Land Services

Lachlan White from Aberdeen, NSW, sponsored by Hunter Local Land Services

Danielle Fordham from Shortland, NSW, sponsored by Hunter Local Land Services

Florance McGufficke from Cooma, NSW, supported by AWI

Ani Dilanchian from Sydney, NSW, sponsored by Corteva

Morgan Bell from New Zealand, sponsored by Corteva

Katie Barnett from Kentucky, NSW, as an Action4Agriculture intern

Reynolds Tang-Smith from Perth, WA, as an Action4Agriculture intern


The 2022 cohort will each be partnered with a Young Farming Champion alumni buddy and a workplace mentor as they participate in workshops held by our Ecosystem of Expertise; workshops supported by the three pillars of leadership development, confident communicators and trusted voices.

The new cohort and established YFC recently completed a “Wants, Needs and Motivations” survey to identify areas of concern to be addressed in the workshops. Rated as very important by survey participants was the desire to increase professional self-confidence, to reduce stress, fear, worry and fear, and to set and realise personal and professional goals. As an organisation that prides itself on providing what our young people need, future workshops can be adapted to accommodate the survey results.

We are happy for the continued support of our valued partners.

Robert Kaan, MD Corteva Agriscience  Australia/NZ/Japan/Korea, explains why continued involvement with the YFC program is important:

“Corteva is supportive of the work done by the Action4Agriculture team, which is unique and highly aligned to the values of Corteva Agriscience (CTVA) in three very meaningful ways: young female leadership development, agricultural education and the development of workforce pipelines.

“The YFC are a strong and effective young leader’s network that develops key capabilities such as communication, presentation, and positive messaging around agriculture.  Our young female Australian and New Zealand CTVA employees have derived real benefit from the participation and from the support they receive in this program. In addition the YFC program supports agricultural education by creating awareness in grades K to 12 and progresses to support educators and industry to build a workforce pipeline by creating greater access to agricultural opportunities for students at post-secondary level and in both rural and urban areas.”