Work With Nature, With Us

Words by
Sally Wilson
Images by
Daniel Shipp
| April 15, 2016

Right now The Planthunter editor Georgina Reid is sitting under an old pine tree in the Blue Mountains, working. I’m in Melbourne, writing this story. To my left is a Hoya with variegated sweetheart leaves, and a Peperomia acuminata in a plastic pot, hanging from a ladder. To my right is a prayer plant, a miniature ivy, a maximum Epipremnum standing two metres tall, and cuttings of Rhipsalis and Senecio. Behind me is a wall of Monstera and Philodendron and more Rhipsalis, more Hoyas, more plants that grow like the volume knob on a stereo and then need repotting. Suffice to say Georgina and I both work well in nature and this month, The Nature Conservancy is asking you to Work with Nature too.

We’ve signed up at The Planthunter, so why not join us?

From 18 – 24 April 2016 The Nature Conservancy Australia is encouraging individuals and companies to take their business outdoors for an hour or so, in the Work with Nature campaign. This means jumping online to register your green desk location, and following it up by working from that spot for at least one hour during the campaign. An hour spent wheeling and dealing in the great outdoors, when you might have otherwise been stuck at your desk?

Work suddenly seems so fundamentally pleasant, done in close proximity with nature.

The Nature Conservancy is an organisation with a long and dedicated history of working to conserve our global environment. It was founded in the United States in 1951 and has since undertaken activities in 69 countries, making it one of the world leaders in conservation action. Since 2002 it has supported conservation efforts across Australia, working with traditional owners in arid lands in Western Australia, restoring waters along the southern coast, and protecting the habitats of native species across more than 127 million hectares.

It’s this type of cooperative work for the environment that we admire, support and encourage at The Planthunter, and there are a bunch of other individuals and businesses who feel the same way.

Heath Gledhill is a Studio Director at ASPECT Studios in Melbourne, and he’s one of many pivotal supporters of the Work with Nature campaign. ASPECT Studios is a heavy-hitter in the landscape architecture and urban design world, so Heath’s interest in working with nature is an easy fit. ‘I’m a landscape architect, which means nature is part of my everyday personal and professional life. Growing up on the Victorian coast, I developed an appreciation for wild, natural spaces and I fortunately I’ve been able to continue this into my professional life through my involvement in major projects to restore our coastline and other projects which give back,’ he says.

Work with Nature is exactly the type of motto that I want to instil in my team at ASPECT Studios. The opportunity to showcase to the broader community what working with and being involved with nature can do for employees’ lives is a great way to benefit not only an individual but an organisation.’

Your involvement with the Work with Nature campaign can echo on a personal, community and environmental level too. I know I do some of my best work walking outside, taking in the neighbourhood and its ever-changing natural scenery. Today, for instance, I stepped out into Collingwood for a lunchtime walk amidst autumn-flowering gums. I watched a blue morning glory vine strangle a telegraph pole and 20 metres of overhead wires, admired the proud and sincere front yard plantings of residential gardens… And got some serious project conceptualising done.

An office does not need to be within four walls and a roof, an office can be anywhere, anytime,’ as Heath says. Even better if it comes with an inspiring view.

By spending more time in nature, we can strengthen our own wellbeing and attitudes towards the protection of our environment. That’s the simple message behind The Nature Conservancy’s campaign. ‘Between home, the office and driving in-between, it can be hard to make the time to get outside and enjoy our great green spaces,” says organisation’s Australian Director Rich Gilmore. ‘With factors like climate change affecting our environment, there’s never been a better time for Australians to make a small pledge towards conserving our future. Organisations and employees will reap the rewards of working with nature, which can be beneficial to both physical and mental health.’

So why not step outside and work in nature as part of The Nature Conservancy’s campaign? It could be an hour in a park with a to-do list. It could be a morning meeting, coffee in hand, as you stroll along the Yarra or the Harbour. In Melbourne, there will be an all-day event at City Square on Thursday, 21 April, if you want to pop by and send some emails in the fresh air.

I’ll be #greendesking in the Royal Botanic Gardens for a few hours on the Thursday if you need me. Making nature part of your everyday routine is really that poignant and easy.

The Nature Conservancy’s campaign ‘Work with Nature’ runs from 18-24 April 2016.