RCE Greater Western Sydney-2014

1. Project Title: 
Our Place - Greater Western Sydney
2. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
Select your options: 
3. Project partner contact information : 
Office of Environment and Heritage
Partner and Funding body
Main Contact: 
Ms Karen Paroissien
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

Our Place – Greater Western Sydney

Stage 1: Community sustainability educators; Stage 2: Community member engagement

The Our Place Stage 1: Community educators project conducted focus groups with educators in each of the sub regions within Greater Western Sydney to identity how to support educators to engage community in looking after their local places. A report was developed and the recommendations were taken up by the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Government. These included providing skills training for the diversely located community educators. Community educators assisted and were linked with community members in Stage 2.

The Our Place Stage 2: Community member engagement project met its aims of recruiting community members to engage in community forums to identify the places that matter to them and the needs they have in relation to looking after their local places. Community members identified immediate local places, regional places and global place connections that mattered to them. They interestingly focussed on what community members in general need to do to look after these places and what the places themselves need in order to be cared for. Education for all ages and at all levels was identified as the one common and abiding need across all groups in terms of looking after local places. The development of collaborative projects enabled community members to enact their specific needs in relation to looking after their local places and the large number of projects initially proposed is evident of the range of needs.

7. Provide references and reference materials : 
6. Project status
Outcome: A place-based model for State wide implementation

I. The provision of resources, education and support for the development of small community based projects
II. The evaluation of community-based projects for short term, medium term and long term outcomes
III. The evaluation of the model itself will need to be carried out once it has been implemented across a number of regions

Key impacts arising from Our Place were that Western Sydney community educators were provided with access to local and regional professional learning opportunities including project management workshops by OEH as per the findings. The provision of resources, education and support for the development of small community collaborative projects was a key impact in building grass roots community engagement in looking after local places with linkages, ripples and further projects and collaborations sill emerging (Please see supporting documents – Linkages mind map that demonstrates this). The Our Place GWS model is currently being externally evaluated as a new regional framework for community sustainability and environmental education partnerships.

The "ripples" and linkages that flow from this Our Place work highlights the effectiveness of a structured community engagement program. The following links are further details about the various projects that have flowed from this project:
1. Bee Aware of your Native Bees : http://www.uws.edu.au/rcegws/rce/biodiversity_and_river_health/bee_aware
2. Fish@UWS Riverfarm: http://www.uws.edu.au/newscentre/news_centre/more_news_stories/uws_to_support_hawkesbury_river_native_fish_habitat
3. UWS SELP program http://www.uws.edu.au/selp
4. 'Connections' Documenting Mamre House outcomes -
5. Cumberland Bird Observers Club UWS Priority Conservation Wetland Monitoring - as above 78 sightings for the year and recorded in the CBOC database.
6. Love your Lagoons - Originally scoped with CBOC - unsuccessful in a Hawkesbury application with council but taken to SW Sydney and delivered across 3 LGAs.

8. Tagging