The Environmental Community of Woodfordia

by Jade McGarry

The plant a tree for five dollars initiative is one aspect of the Woodford Folk Festival’s environmental emphasis. Photo by Meg Williams-Dell @dead_milk_photography

The roots of the Woodfordian ideology are grounded in its connection to country, visible by the promotion of environmental consciousness and sustainability throughout the festival.

Involving the patrons with this ethos through activities like the ‘Bio-Quest Walk’ and interactive exploration like the ‘Questa Game’, assists the festival to share knowledge about environment and sustainability.

‘Questa Game’ is a mobile app that enables players to interact with the natural world and engage in a learning environment suited for all ages. It’s used throughout the ‘Bio-Quest Walk’ to discover and explore the wildlife around the grounds.

The app also has a ‘Woodfordia Clan’ component which again increases the sense of community among patrons and volunteers to share what they find in and around the festival.

Peter Macqueen, the department head of Butterflies at Woodford and avid member of the ‘tree huggers’ is attending the festival for the fourth consecutive year and explains how he values patron participation.

“The community involvement with things like the ‘Bio-Quest walk’ and tree planting activities really emphasize the festival’s connection to country,” Mr Macqueen says.

Woodford’s 500 year plan is a vision that aims to gift future generations a clean slate; an organisation unencumbered with financial, social or environmental debt.

“The 500 year plan enables us to believe, beyond a lifetime, that there is a plan, which really makes it worthwhile,” he says.

Woodford’s diverse ecosystem brings environmental activists and researchers from across the world, to participate in the raising awareness about sustainability.

Executive director of the Climate Foundation, and Woodford speaker, Brian Von Herzen is attending his third festival, and admires the transition for punters and volunteers between being an audience member and becoming active participants.

“Being at Woodford, and speaking to the patrons is like coming home; people are sympathetic to environmental wealth and capital,” Mr Von Herzen says.

“We are building an environmentally conscious community to take care of the earth, if we don’t take care of mother nature, she wont be able to take care of us.”

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