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City of Whittlesea Nature Stewards program now open

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Outdoors Victoria has opened applications for the City of Whittlesea Nature Stewards spring program to introduce nature skills to residents.

The event, from September 17 to December 3, is a 10-week program aimed to equip participants with skills and knowledge to help the natural environment.

Nature Stewards experts guide participants in a range of topics including local ecosystems, plant names and caring for native animals.

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Field trips will also be part of the process, exploring in bushland areas, such as Quarry Hills Parkland, to teach practical techniques and offer quality experience that may lead to future volunteer roles and opportunities.

Nature Stewards participant Ben Marshall said the experience was not what he had expected, as the program took participants on a journey with like-minded people.

“I wasn’t expecting the breadth of backgrounds, age groups and areas of interest for my fellow group members,” he said.

“Everyone had something to add to the discussion and the group leaders were absolutely fantastic. I know that we’ll all see each other again.”

The course navigates through many topics, including Aboriginal natural history, fire strategies, citizen science and water quality, with the helping hand of guest lecturers and teachers who have experience in specific areas.

Mr Marshall said the program benefited the community, taking the next step to be part of the land’s changes.

“I believe that most of us value the natural world and love being part of it. But not many of us take the next step to find out how to better protect our environment, advocate for our world and take action,” he said.

He said he could not wait to watch more people involved in volunteering and meet more Nature Stewards graduates like himself.

“It’s hard to imagine a better return on investment than a program like this one. One curious, trained and passionate Nature Stewards graduate has an impact far greater than their one pair of hands,” Mr Marshall said.

The program is open to anyone over the age of 18, however preference is currently given to residents of the City of Whittlesea.

Applications close on Friday. To apply, visit www.outdoorsvictoria.org.au/nature-stewards.

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