Champions and Change Makers

Champions and Change Makers: ninja skills for environmental impact

Conservation SA has received funding from the Myer Foundation's Capacity Building stream to develop a training program, 'Champions and Change Makers: ninja skills for environmental impact' to support those working to protect and expand Adelaide's urban biodiversity.

Why develop a training program?

Conservation SA invested heavily in reassessing how to achieve success on environmental issues. Seeking to challenge conventional thinking, Conservation SA’s leadership role in the ‘Nature of SA: thinking differently about biodiversity conservation in SA’ is a sector-wide project has specifically identified ‘Building Capability’ as one of 5 key sector needs.  Partnering with multiple eNGO’s, SA government departments (DEWNR, PIRSA) and assisted by the Australian Resilience Institute and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) this project has created space for reflection and innovation. In particular sector capability emphasizing Common Cause thinking, theory of change, and community- based social change has been identified as a gap. Mentoring and succession planning, and acknowledgement of the personal challenges working in the sector has been identified in the early stages of the ‘Nature of SA’ project as a limiting factor of sector effectiveness. A second stream of the project, ‘Shifting the Narrative’ identified the need to regain community focus on biodiversity issues. In particular, engaging with people at their level through urban biodiversity has specifically been identified as how most South Australians engage with nature, and is a key pathway to changing community attitudes to nature.

What will be included in the training program?

A course program ‘Champions and Changemakers: ninja skills for environmental impact’ will be developed over 12 months for an annual intake of applicants from the urban biodiversity conservation sector, which will give participants additional skills and capacity required to achieve more biodiversity outcomes. These skills are often not part of science-based university courses, and are often not clearly recognised within the sector. Skills such as negotiation, conflict resolution, effective values-based communication, critical thinking, creative and systems thinking, campaigning skills, and an introduction to emergent thinking offering new approaches and solutions to the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss will be critical in addressing the current challenges. The personal element will also be addressed with a section on managing grief and loss (related to biodiversity loss), burnout, and building informal support systems across the sector. A module specifically focused on exposure to urban biodiversity creation through concepts such as eco-cities, and shadow plans (aimed at restoring key ecological functions developed for the Adelaide urban areas by Urban Ecology Australia) will be a central element of the course.

Who can join the training program?

This course will be open to anyone within the sector, including: government, non-government, university, and commercial workers.

Help us design the course: Sector Capacity Building - Skills Assessment Survey

To ensure we develop a program that meets the needs of our local environment sector (for both government and non-government workers), we invite you to take part in our skills assessment survey.  Click here to begin.

Fore more information, call Conservation SA on 08 8223 5155

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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155,, or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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