Home Institution

Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action


For this Independent Study Project, I have examined the roles of activism and citizen science under the East Gippsland Regional Forestry Act. I conducted the study in the hopes of understanding better how activists have contributed to the overall conservation of the forests of East Gippsland. As the government has recently extended the twenty year agreement for another year, I wanted to determine if the real stakeholders of the conservation movement were taken into account. I sought the perspectives of people involved in the either the administration, implementation or opposition to the RFA. This ended up being eight people in and around the East Gippsland area. I interviewed them to gage their perspectives on activism and the RFA. I conducted these interviews either over the phone or face to face on my weeklong journey out to the East Gippsland. I made sure to respect the wishes anyone who wished to be kept anonymous. While out in Orbost I took part in a surveying camp wherein I conducted a survey of a logging coup looking for traces of threatened animals. I also observed the group as a whole as part of participant observation.

My results showed that there was definitely a large role for activists in the conservation of the forests, yet some interviewees disputed how necessary or important that role really is. Through my participant observation, I saw firsthand the important and thorough work that environmental organizations have done in the conservation of forests. These findings may be used to encourage activism in these communities or to call for a change in the policy that makes it so the activists are the forest’s only line of defense against destruction.


Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Education | Environmental Policy | Environmental Studies | Forest Management | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change | Sustainability


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