ADRA Connections trip helps bushfire-affected communities

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A group of the students and teachers on Kangaroo Island.

For the first time since COVID-19 restricted travel, an ADRA Connections Go Local trip took place from April 12 to 20. The Go Local trip saw seven Year 12 and recently graduated students, and four staff from Prescott College Southern in South Australia, visit Kangaroo Island to help with bushfire recovery efforts.

In December 2019, bushfires ripped through the island, burning nearly 50 per cent of the land. Though the fire was declared safe on February 6, 2020, recovery efforts are still taking place across the island and the community will continue to heal for years to come.

The students spent their time on Kangaroo Island helping local farmers and residents with tasks like replacing burned fencing, weeding and general garden maintenance.

Altogether, the students removed 32,000 blue gum seedlings.

“It’s been good pulling up blue gum seedlings because we have learned that they are an endemic species,” said student Kadmiel Tubo. “By pulling them up, we are helping the environment be able to recover from the bushfires better in the future.”

Over a year has passed since the bushfires ravaged the island, but the impact on the people and the land is still tangible. The resilience of the locals was a key takeaway for the students.

“It’s been inspiring to hear about the people who lost their homes and livestock, and how they have had to overcome the challenges they faced,” said student Dylan Marusic.

By serving people in their own backyard, the Go Local Connections trip left an impact on both residents and students.

“It is crazy how doing something so small can have such a big impact on others,” said South Australia Conference youth director Joel Slade.