Leading women – Holt resident, Jennifer Bardsley starts micro-forest initiative

In March 2021, after hearing a radio interview about Canberra micro-forests springing up in the inner north, Jennifer Bardsley started the Holt Micro-forest initiative. Supported by a number of other keen residents they’ve been visiting potential sites, creating social media accounts and writing grant applications. They will run a crowdfunding campaign in June 2021.

The Climate Factory chats with Jennifer about her busy family life and why she wants to create a micro-forest.

TCF: What’s your day job?
I am currently on maternity leave with our 7 month old baby. I also have a 10 year old and 8 year old son. Family keeps me pretty busy!  When I’m not on leave, I am a public servant working in Information Technology.

TCF: What’s a ‘typical’ day look like for you?
At the moment night and day merge into a blur, we are still up through the night quite a lot with bub. Generally the morning focus is getting the children ready for school, followed by school drop-off, housework, walking the dog, school pick-up, afternoon sport activities, dinner and bed routines. In between that I try to spend some time with family and on writing, books and the micro-forest initiative.

When you are passionate and persistent, so many things are possible.

JENNIFER BARDSLEY



TCF: Why are you passionate about volunteering to create a micro-forest in your suburb?
My family and I love being outdoors. We love being surrounded by nature. It brings such a sense of fun, adventure, happiness and peace. It’s good for our mental and physical health. We are also worried about global warming and threats to biodiversity. We want to play our part in combating climate change and nurturing the natural world around us. 


TCF: What’s a surprising fact about you?
Two of my other passions are writing and martial arts. I have recently published my first children’s book ‘A land of muddy puddles’ and I am assistant instructor at a local Tae Kwon Do club.

TCF: Do you have any words of advice about being a leader? And if people are hesitant to have a go at being a ‘leader’ what would you say to them?
Be the change you want to see in the world. When you’re passionate and persistent, so many things are possible! 

If you want to know was is involved in starting a community micro-forest attend The Climate Factory’s 8 step workshop. Find out more.

Public servant and mum by day, micro-forest leader by night.

One of the best things about creating micro-forests is working with community leaders.

Qualities of community leaders

Research shows there’s at least 10 qualities of community leaders. Leaders tend to be smart, empathetic, self-aware and motivated.

I want to shine the spotlight on women I’ve collaborated with recently. They have shown me the importance of building a team and inspired me when I was lacklustre. Together we are creating change at the neighbourhood scale.

Purdie Bowden.

Purdie is one of the volunteer leaders of the Watson micro-forest team. They raised $53,000 to build the Watson micro-forest and nature playground.

Purdie Bowden in blue top with shoulder length hair
Photo supplied.

Purdie’s advice for anyone taking on a leadership role in their community is to:

Do something you care about, and find great people to do it with!

P. BOWDEN, Watson.

The Climate Factory chats with Purdie Bowden.

TCF: What’s your day job? What does a ‘typical’ day look like for you? 

I work at DFAT on the Australian aid program, and was previously a lead negotiator for Australia on the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change. I work part time and have two young kids which keep me busy the rest of the week.

TCF: Why are you passionate about volunteering to create a micro-forest in your suburb?

I’ve always cared deeply about the natural world. Creating a micro-forest and nature play area in my local park was a wonderful opportunity to connect more closely with the community we live in, and build something tangible. When I saw Edwina successfully raise funds and create the Downer Micro-forest, I thought why not do it in Watson.

TCF: What’s a surprising fact about you?

I’m a trained yoga instructor, but haven’t got around to teaching yet.

TCF: Do you have any words of advice about being a leader? And if people are hesitant to have a go at being a micro-forest leader’ what would you say to them? 

Working on something you are passionate about doesn’t feel like work. It’s just fun. And it’s even better if you can partner with people who share your energy and passion. Working with capable and enthusiastic partners on the Watson Micro-forest project gave me the confidence to launch the crowd-funding campaign and take other ‘big’ decisions, and helped me get through the times when I’ve been tired or frustrated. So in summary: do something you care about, and find great people to do it with!

TCF: What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Planting the Watson Micro-forest!


At The Climate Factory we inspire and support people to create a community micro-forest in their neighbourhood. Our methodology can be applied to almost any public landscape project.

Want to be be inspired and find out how how to build a climate-cooling micro-forest or landscape project in a public space? Register for a one hour online event on the 8 steps to create a micro-forest.