These Women (and a Few Good Men!) Plan to Plant 100 Forests by Next Decade

By Marie-Antoinette Issa
on 9 July 2024

Australia’s leading zoological park has a reputation for supporting women in wildlife. With the latest winners of the Taronga Zoo Hatch Program a persuasive reminder of the power every person possesses to drive positive change for wildlife, biodiversity and the environment. Here’s how this year’s first-place recipients – The Groundswell Collective – is spearheading a bold initiative to transform their community through environmental stewardship.

Making a difference … from the ground up

Led by a dedicated team of passionate changemakers, The Groundswell Collective‘s mission is clear. To mobilise local communities to restore nature, accelerate the shift to renewable energy, and advocate for circular economy practices. Central to the efforts of this not-for-profit organisation based in Lake Macquarie is the ambitious goal of planting 100 tiny forests over the next decade. Starting with 30 school-based initiatives within the next five years.

Goal setting and getting

At the heart of The Groundswell Collective’s vision lies a commitment to fostering a thriving, sustainable community. One deeply rooted in nature. By engaging in projects like tiny forest installations, they aim not only to mitigate climate change impacts but also to foster environmental education among children and ensure local food security. Their approach is collaborative, working hand-in-hand with like-minded organisations to amplify their impact and promote lasting change.

Seeking success

For The Groundswell Collective, success is measured by the growth of a sustainable, connected community where environmental stewardship is integral. Their approach emphasises strategic partnerships and community engagement. Ensuring their initiatives are grounded in local needs and supported by diverse stakeholders. Through fostering these connections, they envision a future where their efforts not only thrive locally but also inspire similar movements across Australia.

Help through the Taronga Zoo Hatch Program

Recognised with the Outstanding New Business award at the Lake Mac Business Awards, Groundswell have already attracted significant corporate sponsorship and community support. And, leveraged these resources to pioneer nature-based solutions and advocate for environmental equity.

However, reflecting on their journey, The Groundswell Collective also credit much of their growth to their participation in the Hatch Accelerator Programme by Taronga Conservation Society Australia. This experience proved life changing. Providing them with invaluable mentorship, networking opportunities, and the funding support needed to refine their strategies and expand their impact. Through Hatch, they forged connections that continue to drive their mission forward. And, solidify their position as leaders in sustainable development within Lake Macquarie and beyond.

Looking ahead, The Groundswell Collective plans to build on their momentum by scaling their initiatives to expand their reach. Their development strategy focuses on increasing community involvement, launching new educational programmes, and enhancing biodiversity through their tiny forest projects. By 2029, they aim to have engaged thousands more volunteers and students. Creating a ripple effect of environmental consciousness and action.

Ultimately, The Groundswell Collective exemplifies the power of community-driven action in addressing today’s environmental challenges. With their strategic approach, both planting trees and cultivating a legacy of sustainability for future generations.

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