The region’s first youth-led ‘Plantathon’ will be held 10am to 12.30pm on Thursday, September 28 at Gateway Lakes, with the goal of planting hundreds of locally native plants.
“The Plantathon is a community planting event with a youthful twist, featuring music, games, eco pop quizzes, dance-offs, prizes and other elements the young organisers wanted to incorporate”, said Jo Vincent, Wodonga Urban Landcare Network’s facilitator.
Sixteen year-old Devika Rangubhatla admitted she felt a bit ‘icky’ about a previous three-hour school planting activity, but enjoyed it more than expected. “It was very good for bonding – I had really interesting conversations with people from my school I’d barely spoken to before. Now I encourage everyone to get out there, get your boots on and have fun, for yourself and future generations.”
Simone Hogg, Wodonga Council’s Manager Community Development, said the event provides a terrific opportunity for Wodonga’s youth to get involved in their community.
“The Plantathon encourages Wodonga’s younger generations to take a leading role in enhancing our community’s biodiversity and to learn the value in volunteering in community-based efforts that work to better the city in which they live,” she said.
“The council is a proud supporter of this event and will continue to champion any opportunity to foster a sense of engagement and connection amongst the next generation.”
The Plantathon, held in September to celebrate both youth and biodiversity month, was inspired by a Youth Leading Wodonga Planning Day held in late July. “Young people at the planning day brainstormed lots of ideas for a youth-led environmental event before voting for their favourite activity. Planting was the most popular, followed by a local produce market and a rags to rugs event,” said Ms Vincent.
“Our intention with this Plantathon is to engage more youth in environmental volunteering, build their skills in project planning and implementation and do something positive for the environment,” she said.
The Plantathon is a Youth Leading Wodonga project for 12-25 year-olds, coordinated by Wodonga Urban Landcare Network, supported by Wodonga Council and the FReeZA and Friends Group, with joint funding from the Victorian Government through the Environmental Volunteering New Growth Project and the Australian Government under the Murray–Darling Healthy Rivers Program.