This Mallacoota Youth Wilderness Coast Project seeks to increase and enrich the understanding, interest and connection that young people have to the unique SE Victorian coastline through on-ground land management activities and mentorships.

The project takes a unique approach by combining and linking land management activities (bushfire recovery, weed auditing and control and marine litter removal) with the recreational activities that young people already engage in at key sites (surfing, fishing, beach activities).

The projects will balance fun activities with active land management, through mentorships with respected, existing local community groups and individuals and will be especially important to maintain community spirit as locals continue to heal following the recent bushfires.

Young people along the Wilderness Coast live and play amongst a unique coastal environment. Their lives and school work are largely grounded in coastal recreational activities, as there are fewer other opportunities for entertainment or activity as in more central, populated areas.
Knowledge sharing recruitment and contingency planning are very important for community land management. The aim of this project is to take a youth-led approach, while increasing knowledge and intergenerational connections of the natural environment and our involvement with land and water. It aims to encourage, enliven and foster the next generation to become further involved in Landcare and CoastCare activities in this remote and important region. It is an opportunity for knowledge to be exchanged from current coast carers and land managers, while at the same time, providing social activities that will help to maintain community spirit and heal a community still hurting from the recent bushfires.

There is a strong network of community groups within Mallacoota that are focused on supporting and enhancing the natural environment, such as Friends of Mallacoota Inc. Engagement between existing community members that have experience in coastal and land management activities and established relationships with young members of the community, will help to build and support young people in furthering their knowledge of this area; as well as encouraging ‘whole community’ engagement in regular activities. It is envisaged that by hosting the initial activities in this proposal within easy to reach
sites around Mallacoota, that young people will also involve their family members and friends, in and around the scheduled events, increasing the overall attention to coastal requirements.

Our plans have received strong interest and in-principal support from existing community groups in the region, including Friends of Mallacoota, Tangaroa Blue, Environment Recovery Project (Uni NSW), Surf Lifesaving Club (Mallacoota), Mallacoota Boardriders’ Association, Mallacoota P-12 College and SES Mallacoota.