20 March 2024

Inspiring South Coast community advocate honoured for resilience and environmental work

| Claire Sams
Join the conversation
Yoga teacher

Yoga teacher, community advocate and mother Monica Mudge has been recognised with a statewide award. Photos: Callum Birch – Smiling Sun.

A South Coast community advocate has taken home a statewide award, but she doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.

“I was really shocked [to win], because I was in a room full of incredible women doing really phenomenal work,” Monica Mudge said.

“I felt really proud to represent our whole South Coast community and particularly the women that I work with.”

The Treading Lightly founder and yoga teacher was chosen from a record 420 nominations as a finalist in the NSW Community Hero category of the 2024 Women of the Year Awards.

She was recently informed she had won.

READ ALSO Signwriter leaves his Marks with bands, bikes and brush

Ms Mudge, from Mollymook, said she had long focused on the environment and bringing the community together.

“You never do this work in the hope of achieving recognition,” she said.

“From a very young age, I’ve always been really passionate about supporting the natural environment.

“There’s always an element of being a voice for the voiceless.”

Woman smiling

Ms Mudge says she wants to leave “a legacy of active hope” for her community and two daughters through her work.

Ms Mudge is the president of Treading Lightly, an organisation dedicated to environmental care, which she founded in 2016.

Since the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires, she has also increased her environmental advocacy work and is currently a community resilience officer in the disaster recovery sector.

“My work is working with local communities along the South Coast post-disasters and working with them to explore grief, loss and change as a really important part of being able to recover and prepare for the future,” she said.

“That is all so when we have situations like the bushfires or COVID, we’re not relying so much on outside assistance or resources.”

She also operates a South Coast yoga studio, WYLD Spaces, in Milton.

“My main focus in that space is to bring people into awareness of what they need on a somatic level,” she said.

“Sometimes this world is quite busy and demanding, and we forget to look after ourselves.

“The work I do in the studio enables me to do the work that I do in the community – if you don’t find time to look after yourself, you’re not able to give to your community.”

READ ALSO Get ‘lost in the magic’ of the National Folk Festival 2024

In the coming months, Ms Mudge’s goal is to position her yoga studio as a space where the community can gather, and to seek longer-term funding for Treading Lightly.

“It’s a really important space for our youth – and for our whole community, actually, as lots of not-for-profit organisations use the space and we collaborate to do really wonderful things.”

Ms Mudge also hopes to have an impact on a personal level.

“I have two daughters who are young adults now, and I want to make sure I’ve left a legacy for them that is hopeful,” she said.

“But being hopeful is one thing – I want to have a legacy of active hope, which means actually getting out there and doing something about it rather than wishing things will get better.

“I hope to also leave a legacy for the community, with spaces a community can come to when they need assistance with environmental issues.”

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.