Caring for the Environment

Bush Heritage Australia

Overview of Year Two

Earthwatch Australia

The year kicked off with the Australian Government releasing the latest State of the Environment Report, providing a comprehensive assessment of the overall outlook for the country’s environment and the potential impacts on the wellbeing of all Australians.  With the report highlighting the deterioration of the environment and the amplification of the threats the environment is facing, it is little wonder that when VFFF speaks to young people, so many express concern for the future of the environment.

In the second year of granting in the Caring for the Environment focus area, VFFF continued to seek opportunities to support young people to turn these concerns into action, by participating in and leading environmental projects. VFFF remained focused on the following outcomes:

  • young people gain new environmental knowledge, skills and networks
  • advancement of youth driven approaches to environmental challenges.
This focus was demonstrated by two new partnerships approved over the course of the year, the first to Earthwatch Australia for the new Agents of Change for the Environment (ACE) Program and the second to WWF-Australia as part of their Innovate to Regenerate program. 

The Earthwatch Australia program is seeking to fill a gap in what is available to young people who are no longer in formal education yet are still eager to build their environmental knowledge and take practical action. In contrast, the WWF-Australia project will enable the WWF team to scour their networks across rural and regional Australia and identify innovative ideas aligned to VFFF’s strategy and provide initial incubation and funding support to enable these ideas to be fully explored.

VFFF knows that young people are eager to take action to care for Australia’s precious environment but often lack the resources and encouragement to do so. Both Earthwatch Australia and WWF-Australia share this belief and with VFFF’s support are committed to developing projects that empower young people to be part of the solution.

Grants Snapshot






of total funding


for program funding


to regional areas



Earthwatch Australia, $1,120,000 over three years
Agents of Change for the Environment (ACE)
To develop and deliver a new program to support young people to become agents of change for the environment, through building their knowledge of environmental sustainability in conjunction with developing their leadership skills.

WWF-Australia, $384,000 over 18 months

Innovate to Regenerate

Towards identifying, incubating and providing initial funding for two to three innovative solutions that are aligned to VFFF’s strategy which are being developed by WWF’s partner network.


Bush Heritage Australia

Seeding the Future $252,158 (total $754,819)

Bush Heritage Australia

Highlight: Earthwatch

This year Earthwatch Australia celebrated 40 years of empowering people to save the natural world. The organisation’s model is based on delivering national citizen science and sustainability education programs that directly engage individuals, communities, corporations and Traditional Custodians in nature-based solutions. By increasing data collection and providing hands-on conservation and education experiences, knowledgeable and enthusiastic environmental stewards from all walks of life are developed.

Through the delivery of a suite of programs across Australia, Earthwatch Australia identified a gap in what is available to young people who are no longer in formal education and yet still express a desire to build their environmental knowledge and take practical action in their communities. This gap is even wider for young people who are experiencing marginalisation due to their geographic location and/or economic circumstances.

Earthwatch Australia

With the support of VFFF, Earthwatch Australia is developing a new program, Agents of Change for the Environment (ACE) to address this gap and empower young people to pursue their passion for the environment by developing their knowledge and undertaking on-the-ground citizen science and environmental action projects in their own community. In the year ahead, Earthwatch Australia will be focusing on working with local environmental partners in the Newcastle and Hunter region, on the south-east coast of NSW and in Far North Queensland as part of the first stage of the program’s roll-out.

A grant of $1,120,000 over three years, will provide Earthwatch Australia with the resources to not only develop and deliver the program, but also explore how they can leverage the content across their suite of other program offerings to maximise impact as well as the sustainability of the overall organisation. 


"There are very few environment programs for our identified cohort of young adults outside of the Tertiary education sector that leave real and lasting impact. We are so pleased to partner with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation to bring this new program to life and provide equal opportunity for young Aussies in regional communities to gain the transferable skills, knowledge and networks to lead evidence-based environmental projects and strengthen youth-led community mobilisation and behaviour change."



Acknowledgement of Country

The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work, and extends this acknowledgement to all Traditional Custodians of nations where we fund organisations and activities. We pay respect to Elders past and present, and to the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.