“Because the majority of Australia's, and the world's population now lives in cities, we have lost the benefits to childhood development, health and community that exposure to nature provides. This means we have also lost some of our understanding about why conserving and protecting nature is important, for our health as a society and for biodiversity conservation. 1900 Footprints is my way of highlighting why as a society, reconnecting with nature is needed now, more than ever.” - Tristan O’Brien.
BioR is a not-for-profit ecological restoration organisation and an Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) listed charity that recreates complex habitats to arrest the decline of threatened species in Australia. Its practices are informed by the latest science, funds provided by donors who wish to offset their own ecological footprints, and restoration works carried out by groups of volunteers who want to reconnect with the natural environment. BioR also guarantees protected sites for at least 100 years, which ensures ecological processes are restored. Tristan has previously volunteered with BioR for a number of years, helping at both operational and on-the-ground levels.
Wollangarra is a not-for-profit organisation and ACNC listed charity that helps young people connect with themselves, their community and the natural world. They are taken out of the comfort of their daily lives into a unique way of living: without electricity, in buildings made from recycled materials, and hiking in small groups.
Tristan worked as Program Manager at Wollangarra in 2016 and was able to witness and facilitate profound experiences for the young people who enter the program. Through these activities these young people grow up understanding that our actions as individuals have an effect on the natural environment. They enter adulthood as stewards of the land and proponents for conservation for the rest of their lives.
I was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia, where I was regularly exposed to nature in nearby parks and on family camping trips. In 2013 I completed a First-Class Honours Bachelor Degree in Science, majoring in ecology and environmental biology from the University of Adelaide. My Honours research project investigated the habitat use of woodland birds following controlled burns. I also completed a Diploma of Languages in Spanish.
Since then I have worked as a field ecologist for the University of Adelaide, Environment Coordinator of a national environmental program for the vegetable industry, Project Officer in biodiversity planning for Adelaide City Council and more recently as Program Manager at Wollangarra Outdoor Education Centre. In 2017 I worked as an Interpretive Guide for natural history in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
These experiences highlighted to me the importance of positive communication and involving people in experiences in nature. I am now committed to highlighting the importance of nature-connection in our day-to-day lives, which not only includes experiencing wild places, but also green urbanism and landscape architecture.
We'd love for you to spread the word about 1900 Footprints with friends, family, colleagues and other ecological warriors and help Tristan raise the funds to reach his target of $19,000.
Donations of any amount are welcome or choose to make a direct impact level donation. $100 will Install a nesting box for a declining bird species and monitor for at least 3 years (60 are needed). $175 to sponsor a life-changing week in the mountains for a disadvantaged young person with Wollangarra!