Our Place, Our Species

Our Place, Our Species: Connecting with the biodiversity and species of the wild places we love

As regional NSW continues to recover from unprecedented droughts, fires and floods, communities are becoming aware of critical changes in the environment and the interdependence of environmental health and the sustainability of human communities.

In response to this, a partnership between Inspiring Australia NSW and Office for Regional Youth is trialling a pilot program with four NSW Regional Science Hubs to deliver programs designed to build community connections and raise awareness of threatened species issues. These collaborations will be documented as demonstration models for other communities looking to secure the future of Australia’s precious threatened species.

Our Place, Our Species pilot project is being developed in the Dungog region by the Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub (PAWSIH) to engage communities with the why and how of species preservation and the critical value of healthy ecosystems to planetary health and wellbeing. Importantly the project will be developed with direct involvement with local young people and with assistance from science, art and indigenous mentors.

“We see the workshops as a creative meeting place where our future leaders and current elders can meet and talk about the important issues and then find ways for engaging in a larger dialogue with the community. Similarly we hope the community will benefit from increased awareness of local biodiversity issues through fresh ideas and approaches from youth’s perspectives and the diversity of skills and cultural knowledges.”

(Jane Richens, PAWSIH representative, pilot project co-ordinator and artist.)

PAWSIH will be looking at two Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) that are in our region and some of the key indicator species that live in those ecological communities. The EECs are Lower Hunter Spotted Gum Ironbark Forest and the Lower Hunter Valley Dry Rainforest. The species are Eastern and Spotted Tail Quolls; Powerful owls; Wompoo fruit-dove; Grey-headed flying foxes; Squirrel Gliders; Koalas; Stuttering frog; Broad toothed Rat; White-flowered Wax Plant; and flora species critical for their survival.

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Project partners 

Paterson Allyn Williams Science and Ideas Hub (PAWSIH)

Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub (PAWSIH) is located in the Dungog NSW region on Gringai country –  www.pawsciencehub.com.au. PAWSIH has run a dynamic program of over 50 community engagement activities in the areas of science, art and ideas since 2016. 

Our events share science and arts knowledge in creative ways with our community to increase science literacy and knowledge while addressing local issues and challenges. Topics vary widely from native bees to DNA, from astronomy to opals and engineering challenges. We address these issues with a variety of community engagement activities such as workshops, films, Q&As, in-the-field activities and online events. 

We are part of the NSW Regional Science Hub Network and receive support from Inspiring Australia. Our team is made up of community members with interests in science, arts and ideas, science educators and retired scientists and we partner with a range of groups relating to the topics at hand.

PAWSIH events are generally intergenerational, with a number of events designed and presented with a youth focus.

Inspiring Australia NSW

Inspiring Australia NSW delivers a multi-stakeholder strategy as part of the national effort to increase public engagement with science, technology and innovation. Funded by the NSW Government through the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Energy, Science and Resources, its state-wide network of 1000+ committed partners comprises universities, government, community groups, the NSW library network and regional arts sector. Exceptional science engagement experiences delivered by Inspiring Australia NSW’s NSW Regional Science Hubs and led by expert leaders and educators have reached more than 2.5 million audience members. With more than 400 welcoming events and programs delivered each year across NSW, Science Hubs contribute significant value to their local communities, from unique cultural experiences that improve scientific literacy and provide greater access to scientific knowledge to improve wellbeing to strong community connections, vibrant festivals and events and increased awareness of Indigenous cultural knowledge. 


Office for Regional Youth

The Office for Regional Youth was established within the Department of Regional NSW to provide a whole-of-government approach to regional youth issues. The Office for Regional Youth ensures young people’s voices are heard and influence regional youth initiatives.

Office for Regional Youth’s Holiday Break program. The Holiday Break program provides funding for activities for young people across regional NSW, creating opportunities to connect, socialise, learn new skills and have fun during the school holidays. The Office for Regional Youth’s Holiday Break program provides young people across regional NSW with opportunities to connect, socialise, learn new skills and have fun during the school holidays by delivering a range of free and subsidised activities including sport and recreation camps, training courses, creative, artistic or science activities, council-led events and more.