Conservationist Caitlin Hockey stands with a beach in the background smiling at camera and wearing a wide brim hat from Becoming U's Inspire U: Stories from the Valley series.

Caitlin Hockey – Nature Lover, Conservationist, Survivor

Caitlin has travelled the world and all around Australia, but her connection to the unique biodiversity, forests, beaches, and landscapes of the Nambucca Valley energises her to make a difference.

Attending Bowraville Central School and growing up surrounded by pristine, wild beauty and adventuring in the best playground, Caitlin feels shaped by the Valley. She’s drawn on these passions and founded Bush Grazing, an initiative giving nature connection and feasting experiences that support local farmers and producers.

The bushfires that tore through the Valley a few years ago devastated the region’s environment and wildlife, including Caitlin’s family’s 100-acre property and affected many of her friends and loved ones. She was overseas at the time and came back home thinking that her family might not survive.

After so much loss and destruction, Caitlin says that it’s critical for the community to “step it up” now and empower future generations to protect and nourish what we are lucky to have.

“I guess the Nambucca Valley has shaped who I am today. I feel a very strong connection to the land here.

“After seeing the world and all around Australia, I can really appreciate that this is such a unique place in terms of its biodiversity, its incredible forests, beaches and native landscapes.”

“When I finished high school, I had a pretty strong desire to keep up my horse riding endeavours. I ended up working for an equestrian professional and dressage rider down in the Hunter Valley.

“This guy was pretty tough. I heard that he couldn’t keep any of his grooms on for more than a week. I lasted one year, but after that, I was pretty dusted with the equestrian scene on that professional level.”

Caitlin has some excellent advice for young people exploring the pathways they want to take.

“If you don’t know what you want to do, find something in your day that is the most inspiring for you.

“I think you just need to action your inspiration.”

You can now watch Caitlin’s story, other stories from local heroes, and the full feature documentary film, Inspire U: Stories from the Valley on our Inspire U project page. We’ll be adding new stories regularly, so come back soon.

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Author: Simone Atallah

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