Powerful stories of land rescue

Landcarers have long been ‘rescuing the land’ and while doing so, telling tales tall and true. The formal Landcare movement is now over 30 years old. A new citizen storytelling website invites carers for the land to share their stories of what it’s like to tend to tired earth, conserve a stand of trees or look into a creature’s eyes as they rescue it from harm’s way. UNSW researcher Gretchen Miller reports.

The Rescue project calls for 500 word stories of restoration, protection and rehabilitation of riverbanks, tracts of bush, eroded beaches, waterways, gardens, farmland and native animals. The site gives a unique insight into Australian lives around the country, and what drives us to keep doing this work on the places we love, in the face of drought and landscape change.

“Some years the soil is kind to us, crumbling and forming easily under fingers to accommodate each tree. These years we finish by early afternoon and strut back to the cottages for wine and cheese, cocky with success.” says Kate Read from Capertee, NSW, who planted habitat for the Regent Honeyeater.

Rescue is also my UNSW PhD research project looking at the power of story telling in conveying information. A former ABC RN storyteller, I’ve learned that stories have tremendous power.

The images painted by stories stick in our minds long after the words have been read or spoken. They delight, captivate, teach and inspire us – and are such a fabulous way to make a point or raise an issue.

I encourage anyone who cares about the land, or the creatures living on it, to write for the Rescue project.

“Over time the frogs became welcome at my neighbours’ on both sides, who also created spaces for them. They became the focus of our friendship for the years to come. In restoring their landscape we also discovered a place where time slowed, the beauty that comes from a healthy landscape and a sanctuary for ourselves.” writes Kate Clarke, who grew neighbourhood relationships alonside her frog sanctuary.

Feature image by Susie Sarah from her story “My Emotional Rescue”. Guest post by PhD researcher Gretchen Miller. Learn more about the project and read inspiring stories at the Rescue Project.