Saturday, May 17, 2014

How can I get involved in the World Parks Congress? (Guest post)

The World Parks Congress 2014 is being held in Sydney this year from 12-19 November. The Congress is a landmark global forum on parks and protected areas held once every 10 years.  This time the theme is Parks, Planet, People: inspiring solutions

The Congress program consists of eight concurrent streams, one of which is Improving Health and Wellbeing: Healthy Parks Healthy People. This stream is being led by Parks Victoria and US National Park Service.

We are thrilled to be working with David to spread the Healthy Parks Healthy People message across Australia and around the world. And in particular the message that parks are places for everyone - access for all. 

We are going to be reaching out to a whole range of people to showcase the TrailRiders and their benefits, as well as encouraging practical action to see them made available in other places around Australia and the world.
There are several ways that interested people can get involved in the Congress, either by coming along as a delegate, being involved as a volunteer or getting involved online.

Find out how you can get involved This is so exciting and we look forward to seeing you all there!

Kathryn Campbell
Manager Healthy Parks Healthy People
Parks Victoria

Sunday, May 4, 2014

World domination - introducing the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Posts here are about Victoria or sometimes other parts of Australia. This time though the news is global. The IUCN, the largest conservation organisation in the world, is holding its ten yearly Congress in Sydney in November.

The Congress is split into eight streams, one of which is Improving health and well-being - Healthy Parks, Healthy People that Parks Victoria are organising along with the US Parks Service. PV are, as we see through the TrailRider lens, Australian leaders in terms of Access in parks and now they, and their tagline Healthy Parks Healthy People, will be on the world stage.

Kathryn, Bill and me at re-Public in Castlemaine as seen
by Ros

Last week Bill Jackson (CEO) and Kathryn Campbell, who is co-ordinating the stream, came for lunch in Castlemaine to plan how Ros and I and the TrailRider would be involved in events in Sydney. There will be a TrailRider, maybe several, shipped to Sydney. There will be presentations with TrailRider(s) on stage, conference sessions, a Pop Up Park with sherpa-rangers from around the world ("sherpas in kilts?" was my response)....

It was a great pleasure to meet Bill in person and hear his history (was vice chair of IUCN) and the strength of his passion. Meeting Kathryn, who has such a huge job, and whose life it turns out intersects with mine in extraordinary ways was a pleasure.

Lastly though, I feel honoured and excited to be involved in this venture.

For the Facies among you here is your chance to spread the love:
Like the IUCN Congress page
Like Parks Victoria

Friday, May 2, 2014

Meet the Graduates

Two TrailRiders and 10 green-shirted sherpas - from the left:
 Kriss, Richard, Gilda, Chris, Joanne, Graeme, Kim, Rodney,
Letitia and Claire. Tammy at the end is a ranger.
As you will know the first ever sherpa training session took place at the Grampians last month. Read more in this post

This is my chance to tell you more about them - to see the kind of folk that have considered doing this and for to figure out if you too might don a green shirt one day.

All told there were 10 graduates, people who would now be registered officially as Parks Victoria volunteers and trained to push (or pull)

To confuse things Ros and I both wanted green shirts. Katherine Dyson on the left co-ordinates the volunteers and Tammy at the other end is a Grampians ranger. Naomi rode the second chair.

Kriss says "I am a really keen rock climber and the amazing environment of the Grampians/Gariwerd is the reason that my wife and I chose to move here a few years ago. The TrailRider gives me a unique opportunity to share this amazing place and the experience it offers with more people"

Gilda and Graeme are married Gilda is RuralAccess coordinator for Central Grampians, loves walking in the area and is very happy to share this experience as a Sherpa. Graeme has worked on rebuilding tracks in the Grampians and has extensive knowledge of the area, including fauna and flora.

Rodney and Joanne are also married.  Joanne became involved with the TrailRider in 2011 when Rodney and she went to the Grampians with Ros, Dave and their family and were part of an epic trip to Boronia Peak. They live at Burnbank (50km north west of Ballarat). Rodney is a mechanical engineer. Interests - Anything mechanic always had a desire to assist aged and disabled persons(both personally and  in employment capacity)- to share in the magical place where we live.   The TrailRiders are such a great innovative way to do this.

Claire loves being in the great out doors and experiencing beautiful places ... It gives her a sense of peace and perspective. It will be amazing to be part of a team to enable others to experience this too.
al, grape growing, wine growing / making, walking, motorcycling, sailing and snowboarding (!) 

Chris says "I am a retiree and a member of a bushwalking club and would be delighted to share my love of the outdoors with people who are unable to do so without assistance"

Kim lives next to the Grampians, Pomonal, and has

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Go Mitchell!

Mitchell being strapped in
This is an unusual post because it is a flashback to TrailRider history.  September 2011 - before this blog even existed. Gilda, who I re-met at the SVP launch, had these photos tucked away.

I'll let Gilda tell the story "About 35 people attended the launch including people with mobility issues, families and service providers. People who would normally not be able to enjoy the bush had the opportunity to have that experience using the TrailRider. 

The best thing that happened on the day was a family who just happened to be visiting the area with their 11 year old son who uses a wheelchair, came over to have a chat about this ‘strange wheelchair’.  What a great opportunity to take a young boy out for a 1 klm walk around the park.  His Mum and big brother and some “sherpa’s” loaded him into the TrailRider and off we went.  

"Look Ma, we can do steps"
The memory of this young fellow laughing with joy as we went over steps, up hills, over a bridge with a creek, and then spotting some kangaroo’s and deer was priceless.  His mother commented that she hadn’t seen him have such fun and laugh so much…. ever"

Of all the many TrailRider moments I have witnessed this was the most joyful, the most heart-warming.

To see a family that thought they would never hike together again realise that they could. A 12 year old rider makes the sherpa's job easier too.

Have they been back I wonder?