A community engagement course with a difference has helped build new skills and networks for supporting community-led management of weeds and pests.
The Master Class in Leadership for Community Engagement brought together 23 aspiring community engagement leaders, representing Landcare, government agencies, local councils, industry and community groups.
Instead of following a step-by-step engagement framework, the Master Class encouraged participants to consider how they could advocate for a stronger voice for the community in the planning and delivery of weed and pest management.
The program highlighted the importance of investing in relationships within the community to build trust. For many participants, this was a shift away from the more traditional approach of coming up with a project idea and then ‘engaging’ the community to help ‘deliver it’. It also highlighted that ‘outputs’ such as hectares of control undertaken, number of trees planted, or number of people ‘engaged’ are not always reliable indicators of success for either projects or communities.
The Master Class is the Weeds and Rabbits Project’s major community leadership program. It was facilitated by Professor Ted Alter from Penn State University and Dr Tanya Howard from University of New England.
If you missed out on this opportunity and are keen to build your community engagement skills, read on below for details of an upcoming program.
Image: Some of the members of the Master Class delivery team – Tanya Howard (co-facilitator), Ted Alter (facilitator), Lisa Adams (panellist) and Darren Marshall (presenter).