Master class on leading change in communities

Master Class delivery team members Tanya Howard, Ted Alter, Lisa Adams and Darren MarshallA community engagement course with a difference has helped build new skills and networks for supporting community-led management of weeds and pests.

The Master Class in Leadership for Community Engagement brought together 23 aspiring community engagement leaders, representing Landcare, government agencies, local councils, industry and community groups.

Instead of following a step-by-step engagement framework, the Master Class encouraged participants to consider how they could advocate for a stronger voice for the community in the planning and delivery of weed and pest management.

The program highlighted the importance of investing in relationships within the community to build trust. For many participants, this was a shift away from the more traditional approach of coming up with a project idea and then ‘engaging’ the community to help ‘deliver it’. It also highlighted that ‘outputs’ such as hectares of control undertaken, number of trees planted, or number of people ‘engaged’ are not always reliable indicators of success for either projects or communities.

The Master Class is the Weeds and Rabbits Project’s major community leadership program. It was facilitated by Professor Ted Alter from Penn State University and Dr Tanya Howard from University of New England.

If you missed out on this opportunity and are keen to build your community engagement skills, read on below for details of an upcoming program.

Image: Some of the members of the Master Class delivery team – Tanya Howard (co-facilitator), Ted Alter (facilitator), Lisa Adams (panellist) and Darren Marshall (presenter).

Apply now: Leadership in Rabbit Control course

The rabbit program will strengthen the capacity of volunteers and professionals to lead effective rabbit management.

Do you currently manage a rabbit control program in your community or workplace? Are you keen to learn new skills, be inspired and collaborate with others for better rabbit control?

Boost your rabbit management expertise at the Leadership in Rabbit Control course.

27-29 November 2018, Boho South (near Euroa), Victoria

The Victorian Rabbit Action Network’s (VRAN) Leadership in Rabbit Control Course is open to all Victorians currently involved in the management of rabbits on private or public land.

The free course is delivered over 2.5 days, with a mix of classroom and practical field-based training to boost technical skills and best practice knowledge.

Eligible participants can also apply for a $1,000 Community Action Grant to assist in raising awareness and building capacity in their local community.

Twenty positions are available and applications are invited from all community members, volunteers and professionals interested in leading rabbit management, whether it be through a community or farming group, Landcare, government agency, Catchment Management Authority or another organisation with responsibilities in land management.

Find out more at

Applications close 26 September 2018.

The Leadership in Rabbit Control course is funded by the Commonwealth Government, as part of the Weeds and Rabbits Project. VRAN is a partner of the Weeds and Rabbits Project.

Spreading the word on rabbits

VRAN mentor John Matthews (centre) and Learning Network participants at the Mt Rothwell conservation reserve.
VRAN mentor John Matthews (centre) and Learning Network participants at the Mt Rothwell conservation reserve.

The Leaps and Bounds Learning Network is about boosting the expertise and strengthening the support networks of Victorian community members who manage rabbits.

At its most recent meeting, network members explored rabbit management for large-scale conservation projects, cultural heritage legislation and the recent K5 biological control release. A visit to the Mt Rothwell conservation reserve highlighted the challenge rabbits pose for conservation and cultural heritage, but also the positive impact a small band of dedicated people can have on a landscape.

The Victorian Rabbit Action Network will be starting a new Rabbit Learning Network in 2018. If you or someone you know is interested in joining, contact Heidi Kleinert from Agriculture Victoria: