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  Making a differenceCiara Bridgland
 
  Animals in the rainforest (Artwork: Shane Starr and Liam Wrigley)  
 
  Animals in the rainforest (Artwork: Shane Starr and Liam Wrigley)  

For most of my life I’ve grown up in far north Queensland. I originally grew up on a farm in Victoria and then moved to Cairns with my family when I was five. I love living in Cairns and being central to the Wet Tropics. The environment is abundant with life and there are so many beautiful things to see and do. To me the Wet Tropics symbolises pure nature at its best. I am so grateful to have it in my own back yard.

My passion for nature was not realised until I deferred from university in 2006. I found out about Green Corp, a Youth Environmental Training Program, from the Regional Manager of Conservation Volunteers Australia. I applied for a position that gave me one of the best experiences I have ever had.

 
  20 years of World Heritage (Artwork: Jessica Moore  
 
  20 years of World Heritage (Artwork: Jessica Moore)  

Our core project was rehabilitating the Barron River. A lot of our sites were established close to, or aligned with, the World Heritage Area. Our activities involved preparing sites for planting, removing invasive weeds, planting trees and ensuring their survival. All this fantastic work was to create better water quality, improve wildlife habitat, stop erosion and make corridors for animals to move around. Our team worked all along the Barron River from Yungaburra and the Mabi forests to Mareeba, Myola, Lower Freshwater and the river mouth at Machans Beach.

During my six months with Green Corp I was sold on the environment. I had an amazing team leader who inspired me to do what I truly want to do and that is to ‘save the world.’ I have never looked back.

 
  20 years of World Heritage (Artwork: Rhys Jones  
 
  20 years of World Heritage (Artwork: Rhys Jones)  

I was fortunate enough to then be employed by Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) on the Biodiversity Management Team. My job was field work and maintaining planting sites. I loved being outside. I learned a lot about plant species, worked in lots of different locations in the Wet Tropics and rebuilt habitat for endangered and threatened species such as the tree-kangaroo. After working in the field for six months I was promoted to full-time Program Support Officer. I no longer work in the field. Instead, I am supporting and assisting projects to preserve, restore and improve the natural resources in our local region. I even assist in recruiting Green Corp team members. I am honoured and blessed to be living, breathing and working in an area I have come to know and love – the Wet Tropics.

I will continue to make a difference.

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Ciara Bridgland

Ciara grew up on a farm in Victoria and then moved to Cairns with her family when she was five. She has always loved Mother Nature and enjoys the outdoors, meditation, cycling, dancing and people. Ciara is passionate about the environment and understanding change. She has now worked with Conservation Volunteers Australia for 18 months and would like to work in environmental conservation and travel the world.

Shane Starr and Liam Wrigley

Shane and Liam are in Grade 7 at Kuranda District State College. They drew their picture to show the flora and fauna that many people outside the Wet Tropics don’t get to experience.

 
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