Over the past few weeks I have been travelling up and down the east coast of Australia, visiting Melbourne, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Warnambool and many places in between. I have to say that it has been a really affirming time for me personally and for the ARRC. I met such great people who are all passionate about their rivers and keen to learn more about how to share that passion with others.
My workshop with the Sunshine Coast Council on ‘connecting and communicating’ was terrific, with staff from the Council open-minded and willing to try something new, even if it involved telling a story with actions and interpretive dance! The following day I spoke to 150 people at the Sunshine Coast Conservation Forum about the power of story. Wendy Cliff, co-convenor of the forum and one of the workshop participants said:
Personally, I would like to thank you for making the journey up here. My underlying passion has always been about engagement and how we can better engage with our community and for me volunteers. I have attended many workshops in this area, but they focused more on what mediums to use, but this was the first time the content (storytelling) was discussed. At your workshop I had an Oprah light bulb moment and thought about all the times I have used facts, figures and dot points and hit brick walls. From now on, stories all the way…. I can’t wait to start practising this and learning more about this space – Wendy Cliff, Sunshine Coast Council.
Following the great time I had in the Sunshine Coast was the inaugural Waterway Twinning Workshop with the Glenelg Hopkins CMA. The GHCMA won the National Riverprize in 2013 and decided to use their ‘twinning’ money, which is designed to share knowledge with others, to develop a mentoring program where people with different river management expertise could mentor others. Lucy Cameron, Adam Bester and myself worked together to develop a program that combined presentations on topics related to river management and mentoring, with field site visits in a number of different locations. We have participants from six different organisations taking on the role of mentor and mentee, with their projects ranging from fish passage, to engaging communities, to MERI reporting. We had a terrific three days and are looking forward to getting together in December for our next session. Here is what Renae Ayres had to say:
I really enjoyed the twining program last week. You are a fabulous facilitator. I have heard so many stories about how wonderful you are. All proven true. I particularly enjoyed the session about using story. So far this week, I’ve applied learnings about the golden circle, the 5 Ps and the story spine. So helpful! My reflection journal is getting a workout – trying to stay in the right mind frame using the 3 stars and a wish – Renae Ayres, Arthur Rylah Institute
We have had such great feedback from these events that we are looking at expanding the ARRC to provide more of these opportunities to others… stay tuned for details!