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Native forests in WA being looked out for by nannas

One local group of concerned nannas is politely but firmly calling on the State Government to end the logging of WA’s native forests.

Nannas for Native Forests has expanded rapidly over the past 18 months, using art to boost their political activism.

Starting with seven members, the group now boasts about 400 members across the Great Southern.

They have a theme song, a “nannafesto”, and a Facebook page with thousands of followers.

The nannas have earned plenty of plaudits from community members of all ages, including John Butler.

The group was established in Margaret River but now has members dotted throughout the region including a core of about 20-30 in the Albany-Denmark area.

Theda Mansholt, the “grand nanna” for Albany-Denmark, said the group was trying to raise awareness and start conversations by recording the destruction caused by logging.

“We’re local women that get together once a week, doing sewing, making leaves, which are a symbol for the protection of the forest,” she said.

Robyn Glenister, Elsa Luhn and Jill Rule.
Camera IconRobyn Glenister, Elsa Luhn and Jill Rule. Credit: Nannas for Native Forests/Nannas for Native Forests

“We’re sewing leaves out of pieces of cloth and the leaves are being used to give out to people to wear them as a symbol of our concerns, so it’s sort of like an opening for a conversation.”

The nannas also participate in peaceful protests with other local groups from around the region.

In January this year, some of the nannas were fined while conducting a peaceful “citizens’ inspection” of the Simcoa silicon smelter site near Bunbury.

“I went to an action in Pemberton recently and some of us have observed the outrageous use of jarrah for charcoal,” she said.

“We went with some other groups and we trespassed into the place and had photos taken and footage of the extent of the plant.

“We did break the law on that occasion and we were fined … we called it a ‘citizens’ inspection’.

“We don’t try to be disruptive in any way but we do want to draw attention to some of these activities that are going on, so the public can be more active.”

Ms Mansholt said the group was also trying to promote their cause by constructively engaging with local and State governments.

“We’re trying to get some momentum in our area to get more women involved to be more active and stand up and stop this logging industry,” she said.

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