TAFE NSW helps residents keen to assist the Black Summer bushfire recovery

Batemans Bay environmentalist Anna Jarrett thanks TAFE NSW for giving her the hands on, practical skills and knowledge to make a difference in her community post-bushfires.
Batemans Bay environmentalist Anna Jarrett thanks TAFE NSW for giving her the hands on, practical skills and knowledge to make a difference in her community post-bushfires.

A Batemans Bay schoolteacher who experienced the impact of the 2019/20 bushfires first hand had a passion ignited for bush regeneration and giving back to her community.

Anna Jarrett saw the devastating Black Summer bushfires and became fiercely determined to do something to help, vowing to give "100 per cent of her being" to the rebuilding effort.

Ms Jarret turned to TAFE NSW to expand her knowledge of the environment and is now completing a Certificate III in Horticulture at the Moruya campus.

"As I watched the local area being burned, I could only think about the loss of biodiversity, from trees that were over 100 years old to the loss of homes for birds, frogs, kangaroos and all the other animals that are part of our community and environment," Ms Jarrett said.

"It really hit home to me that a lot of people would not get the opportunity to see it again in their lifetime.

"This is not a 'green' issue but a community issue and it was a really profound experience for the whole community in appreciating what we have here."

The Black Summer bushfires affected about 80 per cent of the Eurobodalla shire, equalling 271,000 hectares, and destroyed about 500 homes.

Shortly after the fires, Ms Jarrett, who had previously been a discovery guide and shorebird educator with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, joined Landcare as a community volunteer.

She enrolled in two TAFE Courses, a Certificate of Attainment in Bush Regeneration with TAFE Digital and a Farm Fence Construction short course with TAFE NSW at Moruya.

These were part of a suite of fee-free courses offered to South Coast residents, to help with the bushfire recovery efforts.

"I didn't know what to do or say after the fires hit and I had to dig deep into my heart and ask - where to from here?" Ms Jarrett said.

"I decided to work at the grassroots level and TAFE NSW seemed the best starting point to get the hands-on skills and knowledge I needed."

Ms Jarrett hopes to use her TAFE NSW qualifications in the future to create community conservation, wellbeing and education programs which upskill young people to build community gardens, create native habitats and care for country.

TAFE NSW Moruya head teacher of horticulture Gabriele Harding said the industry was growing and TAFE NSW graduates were increasingly attractive to employers.

"Certainly there's a growing demand in the horticulture industry and I get contacted regularly by employers looking for great graduates," Ms Harding said.

"In the regions, those jobs are often in fields like parks and gardens or landscape management.

"The Certificate III in Horticulture is a generalist course and offers something for everyone, regardless of what strain or stream of horticulture they want to go into."

This story Bushfires ignite passion for environmental regeneration first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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