The Mt Gambier Timber Industry Club members and guests enjoyed hearing from guest speaker Ms Leilani Dawes at their regular monthly dinner on Monday night.
Leilani came to town to speak about her experiences in the Timber Communities Australia (TCA) Young Ambassadors Initiative last year. This included media training, small group learning through talks with industry experts, attending major industry events in Canberra and Melbourne, and experience in how to prepare and meet with Parliamentarians to advocate for your issues. She also had to deliver a local community project and ran a very successful forestry visit for students from Concordia College in Adelaide.
Leilani has enjoyed living in the Mt Lofty Ranges region all her life and studied Conservation and Biodiversity at Flinders University. She works as a harvesting supervisor based at Meadows with ForestrySA. She feels strongly that the timber industry has responsible practices and is genuinely environmentally sustainable. Leilani finds it rewarding to have the opportunity to invite young people to come and see the forests for themselves.
President Maurie Drewer said that the Mt Gambier Timber Industry Club is keen to support a young person from the Mt Gambier area to participate in the 2017 TCA Young Community Ambassadors’ Initiative starting in October. He expects to call for extra donor contributions from the community to help fund this.
The six-month program for people under 35 equips the Young Ambassadors with the skills to take a lead in raising awareness and promoting understanding locally about timber and the sustainable forestry practices. The other people who graduated last year with Leilani were Michael Dent from Gippsland in Victoria, Matthew Randall from Albany in Western Australia and Roy Head from Sydney in NSW.
According to TCA national coordinator Helen Murray, “It’s a fantastic opportunity for participants to expand their skills, build a national network of leaders and make a meaningful impact locally.”