Thanks so much for your interest in hosting a connect with nature gathering!

Once you've registered your gathering, an ACF team member will get in touch to confirm details, and if you choose, help you with the creation of an event page and find ACF supporters in your area to invite!

Here are some ideas to get you started, but check out our printable guides for a step-by-step on how to run your nature outing or potluck dinner.

Other ideas we've heard for gatherings include tree-planting, going to see a nature-related film, or a tour of a beekeepers' facility – the choice is yours as host!

If you haven't yet, register the details of your gathering then someone from ACF will be in touch.

How to host a nature outing

Why a nature outing?

So why is this important to do? How does it help us build people power, change the story and fix the system? A good nature outing will:

  • Connect people back to nature and the places and wildlife we’re trying to protect.
  • Strengthen the ACF community by strengthening the relationships that we’ll need to rely on in order to take powerful actions in the future.
  • Provide a social outing that helps connect new people to ACF who may not have been involved in advocacy or your group before.
  • Make connections between ACF’s national campaigns, and the local places that we love.
  • Help you feel good - time in nature is the perfect medicine for restoring mental, physical and spiritual health and wellbeing.

Where should you host your outing?

Nature is near and far — what matters is that you go outside into it. Host your Outing in the forest or the mountains, at the beach or in the bush, at a local park or reserve or the creek down the road. You could also host an Outing at a place you love that’s under threat — like the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Alps, a forest threatened by logging, or some local bush at risk from mining, cattle grazing or a housing development. Or you could host it in a place that the ACF has fought to protect, like a wetland on the Murray River, Stradbroke Island, or an iconic national park.

Culture

It is important to understand how land was cared for before colonisation, and how it’s been damaged since. You can contact your local Indigenous nation or Land Council to see if they host walks and can tell you the ancient stories of the landscape.

You'll need to do a bit more research about the place that you’re visiting, its history pre-colonization and since. Which Aboriginal nation is the place located in? Which animal and plant species live there? How might they have been threatened? Take a couple of notes to share with your group on the day.

Roles

There are a couple of roles that will need to be clear on the outing itself, but the work in the lead up can be divided amongst your group as you see fit.

Outings Leader
This person is responsible on the day for briefing participants, physically leading the group and making decisions that keep participants safe. The Outings Leader should try to help participants get to know each other and build connections. While they are in charge for that day, it is important that they fulfil their responsibility in the most kind, approachable and generous way.

Outings Co-Leader
This person is responsible on the day for supporting the Outings Leader, physically tailing the group, making sure that the pace is appropriate and that all members feel included.

First Aider (where necessary)
Some outings may be more remote and require someone to have basic first aid skills. While there is no legal requirement for community groups to have this, it is advised where possible.

Photographer (where necessary)
Is there someone in your group who can take photos and put them on the ACF Community Slack Channel?

Carpool Organiser (where necessary)
If the location is some distance away from where people live, it’s advised to carpool or catch public transport. If a carpool is necessary, it’s as simple as finding willing drivers, allocating people to cars, and making sure that they have each other’s phone numbers.

How to host a 'wild and local' potluck dinner

Why a potluck?

So why is this important to do? How does it help us build people power, change the story and fix the system? A good potluck dinner will:

  • Provide a fun, welcoming and relaxing space to chill out and spend some leisure time together after all the hard work we’ve put in.
  • Allow volunteers to come together to share stories and feelings, reflect on what we’ve achieved, and feel supported in a safe space.
  • Connect with your local environment and community by sourcing your food locally.
  • Help to build and strengthen the relationships and community that we’ll need to rely on in order to take powerful actions in the future.

Wild and local food

Connect with your environment and community by sourcing your food locally and in keeping with the seasons.

  • You can have a seasonal theme to your potluck – Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn!
  • Guests may have fruit trees with abundant harvests to share.
  • Your local farmers’ market will have food packed with amazing taste and stories too!
  • A participant may know where to forage for wild foods.
  • Telling stories about the food you bring is a great way to create a sense of community and shared culture for your group, as well as acknowledging our connection to nature.

Where should you host your potluck?

Welcoming your ACF community into your home is a beautiful way to bring everyone together, and is always greatly appreciated. But you may not have the space or live in an area that is difficult to get to, in which case, look for another venue that is more central and appropriate, such as a community hall, public library or school/university space. It really depends on how big you want the event to be, versus how intimate. This is up to you and your group.

Roles

These roles might seem obvious, but it’s good to think about these simple things so that the night runs smoothly. It’s best to divide the tasks so that no one feels overwhelmed and everyone can enjoy themselves.

Host/s
This person will organise the venue, create an invite and promote the event. They may also suggest places where guests can find locally-grown, sustainable produce (see guidelines below).

Facilitator
This person is responsible on the night for supporting the Host, and may choose to step into the role of facilitator for moments when the group comes together. They can also help in the lead-up to the event with promotion and venue.

Photographer (where necessary)
Is there someone in your group who can take photos and put them on the ACF Community Slack Channel?