After ANGAIR celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, we started to think about what lay ahead for the next 50 years and how we could prepare for the changes ahead.
A lot has changed since those early days. The demography of our area has changed markedly: increased permanent population and younger families; communication with members and the public has gone digital; pressure on the precious resource we are protecting is increasing through tourism and changing lifestyles and climate change. All these are having a significant impact.
As part of our 50th celebrations, the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) now GORA generously funded two facilitated workshops to help us think through what needed to be done to prepare for the future. The first was held in February 2020, the second was scheduled for April that year but COVID put that off till April this year.
Three working groups reported on their deliberations and their ideas and findings are summarised below:
From early days ANGAIR has been known for its strong advocacy role. Much of our biodiversity has been protected by ANGAIR members.
The ANGAIR executive and Committee of Management members should strengthen contacts among policy-makers and field workers in the relevant agencies, building on the strong cooperative working arrangements developed over the years.
We need to enhance internal consistency between our interest groups so that our advocacy role is strengthened.
ANGAIR members should continue to be active environmental advocates within their family, neighbourhoods, friendship groups and social networks.
Sharing our expertise
Within ANGAIR we have a broad range of expertise on matters relating to flora and fauna. We need to make sure that this expertise is available to new members and the broader community. Information on various group activities should be widely available. We need to make sure that ANGAIR’s values or ‘culture’ are communicated to future generations of members.
Access to the Digital Asset Management (DAM) resources will be the basis for action, and communication proposals currently being considered by your committee will spread the word. DAM will be enhanced with new video resources featuring walks and talks which will also be available on our refreshed websites.
Better communications will enable us to spread our acknowledged expertise more widely. ANGAIR needs to refresh the much-loved newsletter with links to other information. Building on the platform of our successful virtual nature show last year, we will produce more live videos of events. An updated database will enable us to improve our direct mail and interaction with members.
Our social media platform has been successful in spreading the word and there are lots of possibilities to expand the role of Facebook.
We need to know more about our members interests and the skills they can assist us with.
Family focused activities
ANGAIR aims to enhance activities focused on families and young people, so that they become familiar with the incredible biodiversity of this very special region where the bush meets the sea while on holidays here or for those who live here permanently. By engaging with the natural environment, families will develop a greater appreciation of the importance of the biodiversity in our region and become actively involved in taking care of it.
Possible activities include developing vibrant school holiday programs which feature bush tucker walks, propagation and a holiday diary where young people can record their experiences. Digitally enhanced walks, using QR codes, could be a useful tool.
ANGAIR will be considering these ideas in developing its strategy for the next 50 years.
[Thanks to Christine Forster who summarised several group reports from the Futures workshops].
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.