The Western Landcare Youth Network had its first meeting for 2018 On Friday February 23rd with an amazing group of young students gathering together to form the newest cohort in the agricultural mentoring program. The program, an initiative of Western Landcare NSW with partnership from Local Land Services, is running for its second year after its successful launch in 2017. 23 local students from Broken Hill High School and Willyama High School have registered in this year’s program which will see the students meet on a monthly basis to participate in workshops and training across a variety of areas of agriculture and natural resource management. With a strong focus on connection to the land, the program aims to act as a launching pad for young people to build a passion for the land and find meaningful career paths to pursue.

For their first session the Youth Network participants were taken through 1080 and canid pest ejector training with LLS Biosecurity Officer Grant Davis. The training covered the methodology for pest management across the western region and explored the use of baiting as one tool for targeting pest species.

Students were joined in their training by several local landholders with a major aspect of the program being to connect the students with landholders and bridge the generational gap between those currently on the land and its future caretakers.

While the group were a little shy at first it didn’t take long before everyone was comfortable and relaxed with a lot of laughter throughout the day. It was great to receive feedback after the launch from teachers who said the students were excited about the program and were genuinely engaged with one student commenting “this is going to make my year”.

Not just about having fun there will be a lot of learning and a bit of hard work yet to come with the participants being involved in Clean Up Australia Day and with many more workshops and training opportunities throughout the year.