Dhani Gilbert could be described as a lot of things, but the first that comes to mind is passionate.
She’s a passionate Wiradjuri woman, a passionate climate activist, and passionate about the volunteer work she does through Landcare ACT.
“I come from Wiradjuri country in Central NSW and caring for country had always been a big part of things growing up,” Dhani said.
“I have been able to care for country through different initiatives like cultural mosaic burning and weeding.
“I have always been surrounded by it and I want to be able to share that with other people.”
Dhani was recognised by the volunteer organisation in the 2019 Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award for her passion, including her work as a community outreach officer at Mulligans Flat.
She is now working with organisation ambassadors to help organise an inaugural Landcare Youth Summit at Parliament House, hoping to connect young people with her passion for climate and land.
“Part of it came about from wanting to be able to engage people in Landcare and give them resources to lead their own group,” she said.
“Young people are actually really interested in looking after our natural environment, they just need the resources to be able to do that.
“But also, this is a great opportunity for students to get involved and ask the panellists and participants questions.”
Due to COVID-19, the event was postponed from earlier in the year and will now take place virtually on 1 December.
However, you might wonder when the 18-year-old has time between her double degree in a Science and Environment and Sustainability at the Australian National University and a Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage through Charles Sturt University.
She said finding the time for something you’re passionate about is easy and hopes her interest in science communication helps to break down the barrier between the subject and young people.
“People are seeking opportunities to engage but sometimes the opportunities seem like they are a bit outside of our reach,” she said.
“Sometimes in spaces young people don’t feel comfortable because they’re dominated by older people or people we can’t relate to and I think that’s one of the best parts about Landcare.
“It makes it appealing to young people and shows them they can get involved too.”
Dhani said caring for our natural land was the only way forward in light of current natural catastrophes and climate change.
“I think Landcare is really important because it plays a role in helping to protect our natural environment,” she said.
“Caring for land is going to be a big part in ensuring in future generations can deal with challenges faced due to the climate crisis.”