Youth dedicated to helping the environment

They're young, passionate and not afraid to get their hands dirty - meet the fresh new faces of environmental care in the Illawarra.

Megan Rowlatt, Renae Riviere and Jess Monteith are part of Illawarra Youth Landcare, a group of under 35s dedicated to regenerating and managing damaged bushland across the region.

Ms Rowlatt started the group in 2009 to give young nature lovers the opportunity to work alongside people their own age.

"There is a stereotype that land and bushcare groups are only for the older generations, but we're here to prove that wrong," she said.

In a bid to boost membership shortly after the group launched, Ms Rowlatt successfully applied for a $12,000 federal government grant to establish an Illawarra Youth Landcare website and create a series of "start-up" videos - that she found were missing when she first got involved in environmental work in 2008.

"I figured anyone new to landcare might be wondering what's involved, what skills are needed and what is expected of you, just like I was when I started.

"As a group we created videos covering basic equipment and safety, digging and pulling out weeds, removing vines and scramblers, and dealing with woody weeds."

Ms Rowlatt said the videos have been viewed more than 600 times in the 12 months since they were uploaded and membership had jumped to 80 since the website launched. The group now plans to share its youth landcare model with other regional volunteers.

Ms Rowlatt said she was hoping to secure $40,000 to fund the project through the Community Landcare Grants, which opened for applications on January 24.

If successful in securing the funds, Ms Rowlatt said she wanted to take about 30 young volunteers to different regions along the coast to work with other landcare members, to focus on agricultural landcare.

"I'm really hoping we can get our city kids out into regional areas along the coast and introduce them to environmental issues that farmers and land managers are facing," Ms Rowlatt said.

"The group did a two-day project with farmers on the Far South Coast in June last year and I would love to build on the success of that project."

For more information on the federal government's Community Landcare Grants, visit

 Jess Monteith, Renae Riviere and Megan Rowlatt. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO

Jess Monteith, Renae Riviere and Megan Rowlatt. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO


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