DHANI Gilbert, 19, has been caring for the land from a young age. Growing up on Ngunnawal country in Canberra, the Wiradjuri woman’s favourite childhood memory is of bush walks with her family around Mount Ainslie.
It’s here where she first learnt to identify native flowers and seeds and it’s here where she learnt the importance of caring for country.
“My parents made connecting to country a constant in everything I did and so, ever since I was a baby, I spent a lot of time out in nature, learning about the land and how to care for it,” Ms Gilbert says.
“I am blessed to have had that because it has influenced where I have gone in life and what I’m doing.”
As winner of the 2021 National Young Landcare Leadership Award, Ms Gilbert intends to use the recognition to help promote caring for country methods passed on by her parents.
“Growing up I was surrounded by caring-for-country practices that were taught to me by my parents and my community, things like cultural burning, seed collection, native-vegetation restoration and weed-eradication work,” Ms Gilbert says.
An aspiring field ecologist, she joined ACT Landcare in 2019.
The national award recognises her work as a community educator at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary and for her participation in promoting Landcare practices such as weed eradication and cultural burning.