Landcare Legend

Angela Cook

“I have always had a deep wonder and admiration for the natural world and consider myself blessed to have experienced so much of the Australian landscape and culture.”

Growing up in the suburban Illawarra region, it was the sparkling coastline and the majestic escarpment that always captured my attention and set my spirit alight with wonder and appreciation for the natural world. However, the expanding urbanisation of the region with its all-consuming commercial driven culture led me to venture out, heading northward, I was determined to explore, and seek ‘greener pastures’.

Setting out on what became a 4-year journey travelling the Australian coastline and desert by car. I spent time living from the tropical rainforests of Northern Queensland to the South West grass and woodlands of WA.
Employed in the Hospitality Industry and working various agricultural and horticultural jobs, I enjoyed my travels meeting a wide range of people while gaining skills and understanding only possible through a practical lived experience.

I have always had a deep wonder and admiration for the natural world and consider myself blessed to have experienced so much of the Australian landscape and culture.

Time spent travelling and exploring opened up my world to alternative lifestyles inspired my curiosity about how I could live a lifestyle that was more sustainable and respectful of the environment.

Since returning to the Illawarra, almost 10 years ago, I have been immersed in learning about the local ecosystems and biodiversity that makes this region so environmentally and geographically unique.

I have completed several TAFE qualifications in Conservation Land Management, Natural Area Restoration and volunteered in multiple council habitat restoration and sustainability initiatives. I am currently studying at UOW completing a Bachelor of Science, Land and Heritage Management. A degree structured around the environmental and social sciences, with an appreciation of global Indigenous cultures, human geography and sustainability practice.

I am also a single parent with a 10-year- old son who joins me on various citizen science adventures as well as helping out and having fun in the backyard orchard and vegetable garden. I enjoy being an active member of my son’s school community and can often be found alongside other green thumb mums in the school vegetable garden and canteen.

Sharing and growing fresh produce with children is such an important part of life, being the older generation we can share skills and knowledge and in return the younger generation keep us inspired and refreshed.

Local urban food systems are an aspect of sustainable living that I am also passionate about.
Recognising that in the face of contemporary climate change and with expanding urban landscapes, both locally and globally, the need to create and establish local sustainable food networks in urban environments is of paramount importance.

In my observations when people start growing their own food they become more aware of nature, more grateful and more sharing with community, it’s just so beautiful to see.

My skills and knowledge are growing and I am passionate about sharing the journey of sustainability with younger generations, thus the opportunity to participate in the Young Sustainability Ambassador program is a great stepping stone for my career development and growing my local community network.