A Castlemaine organisation is in the midst of delivering a program aimed at reconnecting young people in particular with the natural environment and Indigenous culture.
Mirawara received more than $94,000 through the state government's Pick My Project program to run free and subsidised outdoor activities - such as rock climbing, bushwalking and cultural tours and walks - targeted at young people.
"We're finding young people are really disconnected from nature," Mirawara founder Emmanuelle Dubuc said.
Ms Dubuc said the Earth Core activities created a sense of community and brought back the joy of nature.
"[Participants] become more playful, they're more creative, more social," she said.
A significant focus of the Earth Core program is Indigenous culture and connection to country.
Rebecca Phillips is Mirawara's cultural advisor and guides walks on which she educates participants about the Dja Dja Wurrung community's heritage and continuing cultural practices.
"It's important for us to have our story heard and our connection expressed, as a way of sharing our culture and a way of experiencing the landscape," Ms Phillips said.
She said people wanted to learn more about those who had managed the land for thousands of years.
For Dja Dja Wurrung people, Ms Phillips said, the walks were important because they were still living their culture, whereas for Indigenous people from elsewhere it was important they understood the country they were on.
Ms Dubuc, originally from Canada, said she incorporated an Indigenous perspective in Mirawara's activities as she believed Australians had missed a "massive opportunity" to learn from traditional owners.
With the Pick My Project funding, Earth Core will run into early next year.
Ms Dubuc said she was now looking to other funding opportunities to continue operating the program into the future in a way that is affordable and accessible to everyone.
Future events include rock-climbing and cultural tours at Boort with Aunty Marilyne Nicholls.
For more information, visit the Mirawara website.
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