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Byron Shire
February 23, 2024

Goodbye to the Green Army

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Green army at work. Photo supplied.
Green army at work. Photo supplied.

The fifth and final Byron Bay green army team has completed works. Participants highlighted the range of skills, confidence and direction that the program gave them in life. 

Envite Environment supervisor John McVicar said, ’Green Army has given young people hope and direction while also providing benefits to local community groups and our environment. We want to thank all our green army participants for their efforts.’

Participant, Taylor Visco expressing his love for the green army experience said ‘I was very privileged to work with John and the team, we made a big difference  in our local environment.’

The Green Army team has worked with Byron shire council, Suffolk Park dunecare and New Brighton dunecare. Project sites included Marshalls Creek Nature Reserve, many coastal areas in Byron Shire, Ocean Shores sewage treatment plant, Mullumbimby horse paddock and Lennox headland.

‘The Green Army opportunity has been a real joy and great experience for me as it is hands on and heaps of fun!’ said Green Army participant Nickolla Clark.

‘You can see the change for the better in the natural environment, amongst our project sites whilst giving us a sense of accomplishment. We have learnt a lot about our local environment, native plants and how to keep our beautiful landscape intact, thanks to John. I can’t express how awesome and knowledgeable this experience has been for me, I would definitely like to continue this work in the future.’

The green army team enjoys a moment to relax. Photo supplied.
The green army team enjoys a moment to relax after their hard work. Photo supplied.

They have collected seed and propagated over 6500 native plants, they have planted and maintained around 7000 trees and controlled weeds to assist regeneration of coastal and rainforest communities over more than 50 hectares. 

‘The teams have also assisted with track work, erosion management, fencing and public access management,’ said supervisor, John McVicar.

‘This work has made a real difference to our local environment. The green army has been able to assist volunteer community groups with additional labour. These volunteers have shown their appreciation to participants. It has been great to see the benefits to everyone involved.

’The teams have exceeded all their targets and learnt some extremely valuable lessons about team work. They have developed skills which will benefit them in life and work. Green Army participants have had success in moving onto work and study and have gained confidence from their involvement.

Green Army is an Australian government programme for 17 to 24 year olds. Over the past two and a half years Envite Environment has managed over 50 green army projects engaging around 500 young people. Projects have been run in partnership with Landcare groups, local councils, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and other community groups. The program was cut in late 2016 and the last of Envite Environment’s Green Army project has now been completed.

Another vibrant Green Army participant Shoshona Newman said ‘Best job ever! You can get involved with environment and fun at the same time!’ 

John McVicar concluded, ‘Green Army teams have provided much need labour to assist Landcare and other organisations in restoring our natural environment. The Green Army will be missed.’

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