Associate Professor Sonia Graham is a researcher at the University of Wollongong. For 15 years she has been studying how and why land managers and government agencies work together to manage weeds, and examining the benefits and costs of doing so.
It was to an enthusiastic audience that Sonia presented her informative talk on the social benefits of weeding and bush regeneration. While many OFF members participate in local bush care projects, we do so for many reasons. Learning about plants and the environment are key factors, but the social impacts are no less important. We all love our bushland, but intimate knowledge of weeds sometimes tends to spoil a walk to the shops, or a visit to our favourite national park. In areas devastated by natural disasters, there is often an overwhelming sense of despair due to loss and inability to know where and how to start the recovery process. Support networks at a personal level to those who are affected, and ongoing assistance to the learning process of bush regeneration techniques are key factors that help ensure ongoing participation. Bushcare is more than a list of priority weeds and how to remove them presented to us by local council authorities. The sharing of knowledge and support resources through the interaction of enthusiastic volunteers provides social cohesion and stronger community engagement. Our bushland areas ultimately benefit from this shared sense of responsibility
Sonia’s talk can be viewed on OFF’s YouTube channel here.