A message to the National Landcare Network community regarding COVID-19

From National Landcare Network Chair, Dr Patrick O’Connor

To all members, associates and Stakeholders of the Australian National Landcare movement, we live in extraordinary times. Many areas of our vast nation are still suffering the impacts and aftermath of drought, floods and bushfires.

On top of all this we are now also facing the COVID-19 health crisis and associated business and economic strain.

We have faced, bushfires, drought and floods, and even financial crises before, but we have not in most of our lifetimes faced a health crisis of the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 health crisis is not regionally restricted as other recent environmental challenges are, and is affecting us all either directly or indirectly and will continue to do so in ways we cannot yet foresee.

We must remain informed of government direction in dealing with the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves as individuals, our families, friends and associates and our organisations, and our broader communities.

One of the many great strengths of the Landcare movement is that it is community based, community driven and founded in the genuine caring and empathy of its members for those around them in the face of challenging circumstances and uncertainty.

We have seen these characteristics in our members through the drought, floods and bushfires and will see them again throughout 2020.

There are countless sources of excellent advice available to the general public and I add here only a few suggestions to assist Landcarers to manage Landcare-related issues in the coming months;

  • Grants: Many groups will be in the middle of completing grant-funded projects with State, Federal or other granting agencies. These grants may be for activities which are not currently possible, and many will require reporting and reconciliations which may be difficult to complete due to incomplete actions or data and reporting resource interruptions.Should you find yourself with project and reporting interruptions, we encourage you to contact your granting body to seek the necessary extensions, exemptions, and instructions to address the situation. It is wise to prepare ahead of the deadlines and granting bodies should be preparing for this to occur.
  • Communication: At times like these it is important to communicate effectively and openly with each other, especially staying in touch with those in your networks who are isolated and vulnerable. Who might benefit from your contact and support in these times? What are the best ways to communicate for people you are connected to (many of the most isolated and vulnerable people in our communities are not easily contacted through social media). Communication also helps to maintain our sense of community, belonging and unity of purpose. All of these are important to coping and recovery in our networks and communities.
  • Plan and Prepare for recovery: Opportunities for recovery will come when circumstances change and the next months are a good time for planning and preparing for a positive future.
  • Disruptions: At all times heed official advice and restrictions in place to manage the current circumstances. Project disruptions may be unavoidable, challenges should be discussed and unnecessary risk avoided.
  • Keep things normal: Keep operating as normally as possible within the restrictions on gatherings and as advice changes. Try to do keep doing things normally as much as possible, including Landcare activities, but modify behaviours to fit current circumstances.
  • Sources of information: Use your State or Territory Landcare Peak body to track down key sources of information you will need over the next few months, and visit information sources regularly to make sure to keep up to date. Your Landcare Peak body may be providing regular updates. You can provide feedback and stories for sharing.
  • Do new things, think about ways in which you can do things differently during this time, share those thoughts and ideas with the NLN and others. Can Landcaring become a virtual activity, does this offer an opportunity to engage with groups we don’t usually think of?
  • Reach out, during this time reach out just a little further beyond those you normally talk too, build new relationships, extend your network to the next level.

The National Landcare Network continues to work towards the objectives of the Australian Landcare movement and will be working to keep Landcare strong in these challenging times.

Regards
Patrick O’Connor
Chair – National Landcare Network
Landcare Association of South Australia
NLN Board Delegate

Resources: National Landcare Network Communique – A message to the Australian Landcare movement regarding COVID-19 

On behalf of

Stephanie Cameron
Landcare New South Wales
NLN Board Delegate
Josie Kelman
Landcare Tasmania
NLN Board Delegate
Sue McKinnon
Landcare Northern Territory
NLN Board Delegate
 Keith Bradby
 West Australian Landcare Network
NLN Board Delegate
Maxine Cooper
Landcare Australian Capital Territory
NLN Board Delegate
Geoff Elliot
Queensland Water and Land Carers
NLN Board Delegate
Kaye Rodden
Landcare Victoria Inc.
NLN Board Delegate
Jim Adams
Chief Executive Officer
National Landcare Network

A message from the CEO: Landcare NSW’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Given the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a public health emergency on 30th January 2020, we are taking action to help ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of our Landcare community, partners and supporters.

COVID-19 is having a substantial impact on communities and individuals across the world. Our thoughts go out to those who have been directly impacted by this crisis.

At Landcare NSW, we will be issuing regular internal policy updates to keep our team members informed and safe. We are relying heavily on the advice provided at both the Federal and State level.

We are in the advantageous position of staff being spread throughout a state-wide network, many working remotely, as of today (17 March 2020) we have instructed all our staff, if possible, to work from home. We suggest that all Coordinators work directly with their host organisations to discuss their work arrangements as guided by the Department of Health.

Interstate travel has been stopped until further notice with meetings run via video conferencing.

Due to the fluid nature of this situation we will continue to review our position based on government advice and will notify you if there is any change to this.

At present we are working with stakeholders and partners to address any concerns and contingency measures relating to any projects our network facilitates.

Under the guidance of the State and Federal Department of Health, the most effective way to help prevent the spread of viruses, is to practise good hygiene and social distancing. This is additionally crucial for those who visit or work with vulnerable groups.

Good hygiene includes:
• covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
• disposing of tissues properly
• washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet for at least 30 seconds
• using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
• cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
• if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people

Read more about protective measures against coronavirus on the World Health Organization website.

Social distancing includes:
• staying at home when you are unwell
• avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential
• keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible
• minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people and people with existing health conditions
• If you have returned from an overseas trip you are now required to self-quarantine to avoid future spread of the infection.

Find out more about social distancing and avoiding public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

You should also follow our advice for travellers and advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

Additionally, we advise that if you are planning to, or are holding Landcare activities, you follow the state and federal governments advice listed above and regularly check their websites for updated advice to ensure that everyone emerges from COVID-19 safe and sound.

CEO Report – March 2020

This summer’s events are a reminder of the scale and complexity of the challenges that we face in protecting our environment, our productive and sustainable farms, and the well-being of all our communities.

For Landcare NSW, 2020 has started at a frenetic pace with lots of key activities underway.

Landcare NSW is actively pursuing a number of partnerships and funding arrangements to benefit the Landcare community including a partnership with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT). Landcare NSW received a funding deed for $1.37 million last month which will cover the cost for rolling out a number of educational activities that will bring together people such as landowners and highlight what the BCT is offering to people on the land and in our communities.

Landcare NSW’s partnership with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), that was announced at the Trees in the House event in November, has been formalised with the signing of an MOU for the Greater Sydney Landcare Network to deliver the planting of 100,000 trees in the Greater Sydney region as part of the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s Five Million Trees program.

With all our partnerships, we insist that all partnership programs and projects are co-designed, co-delivered, co-managed and co-governed. All these partnership programs and projects are co-governed by Joint Management Committees made up of leaders and senior executives from the two partner organisations, similar to the one we have with Local Land Services (LLS) for the delivery of the NSW Landcare Program.

Landcare NSW signed an MOU with Saving Our Species in February to promote and raise additional funding for the program with non-government sources. Linda Bell spoke to the Landcare NSW Council at its February Council meeting.

Gotcha4Life and Landcare NSW have also entered a partnership, and an Expression of Interest has gone out to all Landcare regions to seek funding to deliver Mental Fitness Weeks in rural and regional areas across the state in 2020.

Late in 2019, Landcare NSW submitted a business case for $20 million for the delivery of activities related to disaster relief, recovery and preparedness. This was submitted at the beginning of the disaster season, since then the problem has obviously escalated significantly. I believe Landcare should be the go-to vehicle for the delivery of these kinds of services. The Chair, our Government Relations Manager and I had a meeting with Minister Adam Marshall to discuss the business case and the role Landcare can play and these discussions are ongoing.

Corporate partnerships are also an area Landcare NSW is developing and exploring as the interest in corporate volunteering in bushfire affected areas continues to increase.

March Update – NSW Landcare Program 2019 – 2023

The NSW Landcare Program has well and truly established a solid foundation with 72 local Landcare Coordinators and 12 Regional Landcare Coordinators now working to support the networks and groups across the state.

The NSW Landcare Program is a state, regional and local investment in the partnership between Local Land Services and Landcare NSW, empowering people to take action on local problems and deliver outcomes across local and regional issues.

The NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference held in Broken Hill in October 2019, demonstrated the strength of the partnership with government and highlighted the social networks, individual and group efforts that are the lifeblood of the Landcare movement in NSW.

The NSW Landcare Program 2019 – 2023 builds on the previous Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative, and is a collaborative endeavour of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW, supported by the NSW Government and overseen by a Joint Management Committee.

**In May 2020, the program will bring all coordinators and a member of our host organisations to Dubbo with the theme of “Nurturing our Networks”. The event will introduce the program and its components and how volunteer members and coordinators will be supported to work toward delivering on the program outcomes.  An important part of the program will be to demonstrate through data, the critical value Landcare provides in addressing the current environmental challenges.

 A key focus of the gathering is providing the opportunity for networking, peer to peer learning and information to support the coordinators and hosts in the work they do.

To find out who the Local and Regional Landcare Coordinators for your area are click below:

Regional and Local Landcare Coordinators

** UPDATE – As at 18 March 2020, the Joint Management Committee met to discuss the NSW Landcare Program and the perceived risk to bringing everyone in the Landcare Program across the state to meet in May in Dubbo.

Effectively it was felt that due to the uncertainty around infection rates of COVID-19 and other complicating factors, it would be unfair to ask everyone to attend in person from around the State.

We will postpone this event and work toward a new date that is suitable.

We would ask that you immediately cancel any accommodation and travel arrangements.

Landcare NSW supports bushfire affected communities

As reports come in from the devastating bushfires that have impacted so many of our communities, words cannot fully express how saddened our entire Landcare community is for the losses so many of our groups are experiencing.

The statistics are staggering. Nearly 5 million hectares of land being burnt in the state’s bushfires, 800 million animals killed and 2,000 homes lost in NSW – including those of our own Landcarers – the process back to recovery will be long.

In our thoughts during these times are the families and individuals affected, as well as those who are volunteering their time to fight fires, protect homes and help recover injured wildlife.

In the coming months and years as our state begins to recover, we know with certainty that our NSW Landcare community is strong, resilient and resourceful, and we will be there to help rebuild communities and landscapes, and ensure wildlife will recover.

We will do this by working with one another to support all our communities together.

Sincerely,

Adrian Zammit and Steph Cameron
Landcare NSW CEO and Landcare NSW Chair

 

Resources:

Assistance factsheet for bushfire affected landholders

Bushfire Recovery Assistance

Let’s talk – RAMHP

Recovery contact information

Recovery Grants Guidelines – Primary Producers

 

DONATE VOLUNTEER SHARE

 

2019 Christmas Greetings – a message from the CEO

Landcare NSW 2019 Highlights 

 

 

It has been a very exciting and busy year as we continue to support and represent our local Landcare member groups and the wider Landcare community in NSW. 

There are a number of key milestones that Landcare NSW has delivered in 2019 including the funding of the $22.4 million NSW Landcare Program (2019-2023) and the signing of key partnerships with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, OzFish Unlimited and Gotcha4Life, a charity that works to increase mental fitness in rural and regional communities. A new partnership with Saving Our Species which will be signed early in 2020. These new partnerships, and their increased funding for state-wide programs delivered by Landcare NSW through its member groups, show that Landcare NSW is increasingly being recognised as a partner of choice for government and non-government organisations who want to make an impact on environmental protection and farm sustainability. 

Our Annual Report is another way we feature all the important work undertaken by our organisation to support NSW Landcarers in caring for our land, environment and communities. I encourage you to take a look at this year’s report to see in more detail what we have achieved.

While we celebrate our successes, it is vital that we remember that our regional and rural communities are hurting as a result of the drought and bushfires across NSW. Landcare is central to natural disaster response, recovery and resilience building across the state but is limited in the amount it can do without adequate resources. In an effort to help our regional and local Landcare groups do more in times of calamity, Landcare NSW has recently submitted a proposal to the State Government for a $20 million, four-year program that would provide better resources and coordination to Landcare groups in the phases of recovery and preparedness for natural disasters in NSW.

All this output would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication and commitment of the small team at Landcare NSW, and our volunteer Executive Committee and Council. Also, Landcare NSW would not accomplish its mission without the support of its Landcare member groups and the wider Landcare community in NSW. Thank you all for your continued support.

From all of us at Landcare NSW, we wish you a safe and happy Christmas and we look forward to working with you in 2020.

Dr Adrian Zammit | Chief Executive Officer
Landcare NSW Inc.

Landcaring: supporting bees and their importance in our landscapes

November was pollinator month and as fires ravaged much of the NSW and drought takes its ongoing toll on local landscapes, apiarists (or bee keepers) have been busy supporting their bees – wild and domestic – from the stresses of the current conditions.

With honey bees performing about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide and 70 out of the top 100 human food crops — which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition —  pollinated by bees, the importance of supporting and maintaining our small but essential pollinators is crucial.

Taking time to talk to beekeeper and Watershed Landcare member Heidi Ralph we discussed the importance of bees and how communities could help support these essential members of our ecosystems. 

Q & A with Heidi Ralph

What drew you to beekeeping?

I was drawn to beekeeping to do my little bit to save the bees. I have two hives one on my acreage and one in my local township, to ensure the survival of at least one of my colonies. The taste and colour are quite different between the two, due to availability of pollen sources!

How long have you been working in this industry?

I have been a beekeeper for three years now, both my hives are flow hives

Bees have come into the spotlight recently with a focus on their fundamental importance to biodiversity. Why do you think that is?

(I think it’s because) bees are so important to pollinate crops and the backyard gardener who grows their own produce, the honey they make is just a bonus! And of course, Bees are such an important creature in the biodiversity cycle.

In your experience, what are the big challenges that for bee and insect populations and what can we do to help that.

We can help save bees by cutting out insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. We need to educate farmers and Councils to choose environmentally friendly choices when considering weed control and pest control.

Another thing we can do is plant bee friendly plants in our gardens and parks, windbreaks and nature strips. We can also leave water bowls filled with rocks so bees can source water in these harsh drought conditions.

Any tricks or tips to help our Landcare communities help support bees and insects?

More bee groups would also be an advantage in every community but also to spread education and advice and also to share nucleus as well and establish more hives.

Top plants to help with bees?

Some bee loving plants are lavender, tansy, borage, flowering herbs, flowering weeds and thistle and the beloved eucalyptus.

What is your favourite bee and why?

I don’t have a favourite bee, I have Italian bees but I love the natives, and the bumblebees too.

NSW Landcare Case Studies

Case Study: Native Bee Workshop with Weddin Landcare

Case Study: Floral calendars, pollen, nectar and bees with Central Tablelands Landcare

For more information about beekeeping and the importance of pollinators 

Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW

 NSW Apiarists’ Association

Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC)

The Future of the Australian Honeybee Industry by the CSIRO

The conservation value of urban green space habitats for Australian native bee communities from Science Direct

Update on the NSW Landcare Program 2019-2023

The NSW Landcare Program (2019 – 2023) is a $22.4 million investment co-delivered by Landcare NSW and NSW Local Land Services to unlock the potential of the extensive volunteer network and Landcare movement across NSW.

The Program is a continuation of the previous Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative (2015 – 2019).

The Program is comprised of a number of components:

  • Local and Regional Landcare Coordinators;
  • A Community of Practice Component;
  • People Development;
  • Aboriginal Program; and
  • Program Management and Support.

The Regional Landcare Coordinator is a new role with nine of 11 positions already filled. Contracts have gone out to 72 host organisations with 68 Local Landcare Coordinators employed on a part-time basis.The Regional Landcare Coordinators will work with the 68 part time Local Landcare Coordinators who support the 60,000-strong volunteer Landcare network across NSW. Hosted by local organisations such as Landcare groups, Councils and industry organisations, they are a key resource that underpin local and regional communities of practice and the capacity of Landcarers to participate in on ground actions.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit, said the Regional Landcare Coordinators will play an important role in growing the effectiveness of the network of Local Landcare Coordinators.

“We’re seeing the overall health of Landcare groups surge because of the on-ground support that Local Landcare Coordinators are providing. The addition of Regional Landcare Coordinators will play a pivotal role in growing the effectiveness of our statewide Landcare network. They are the drivers of regional resource and knowledge sharing and will coordinate and leverage the strategic goals of Landcare NSW and its member groups,” Dr Zammit said.

The Community of Practice component is about connecting existing groups with networks in ways that magnify peer support outcomes, collation and sharing of knowledge, practices and learnings across a range of topics at a range of scales. It will invest in state and regional scale forums designed to bring Landcarers together to do what they do best… connect as a community.

The Aboriginal Landcare Program component will see the recruitment of an experienced Aboriginal Program Manager in 2020 to deliver on a number of key initiatives identified by Landcare NSW and the Indigenous Working Group that evolved from the last Muster.

The People Development component aims to invest back into the working people of the NSW Landcare Program, to support training, capacity development and other good modern workplace practices. The component will be developed and delivered by the Program Team in consultation with identified goals highlighted in the regional and local priority plans. We envision this kicking off in March 2020.

New partnership to address mental health and build mental fitness in rural communities across NSW

A new partnership between Landcare NSW and Gotcha4Life will soon see the delivery of workshops and training in rural communities across NSW to address mental health and build mental fitness.

The partnership, announced last night in Sydney, will focus on ‘prevention through connection’.

Landcare NSW signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gotcha4Life, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to connecting corporate Australia, government, community and NFP to help reduce instances of poor mental health in Australia. The MoU is for Landcare NSW to assist in the delivery of Gotcha4Life programmes through the extensive Landcare networks across the state to reach a wider audience efficiently and effectively.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit, said: “Landcare NSW is delighted to partner with Gotcha4Life and deliver these worthwhile programs using Landcare’s social capital, connection and networks across NSW. Positive mental health is something that everyone needs to work on, but in these trying times of prolonged drought and bushfires it’s particularly hard.

“Our rural and regional communities are hurting. The state is in the grips of the worst drought on record, and many farmers have not received any income from their farms for several years and the current climatic forecast suggests that there is no prospect of significant, drought-breaking, rain in the near future. For many people in our rural communities, the onset and impacts of a catastrophic bushfire season, is the last straw.

“It is incredibly important to support our rural and regional communities through this time. Across our communities we are seeing a dramatic increase for the need for support and connection and our aim is to empower communities to take effective action, build connection and reduce the incidence of suicide and the heart-breaking impact it has on our communities.

“Landcare is more than a collective movement. It is a community and for many across NSW, it is a family,” said Adrian.

Founder of Gotcha4Life and television and radio personality, Gus Worland said: “Our vision at Gotcha4Life is a world where people are open, honest and supportive in their relationships and comfortable to express themselves when they are not O.K. We envisage a society in which everyone has a Gotcha4Life mate who they can open up to, warts and all and rely on no matter what.

“We’ve set an ambitious aim to reach 500,000 people within the next five years who will be benefiting from mental fitness programs to ensure these friendships can be activated when it really counts. Our partnership with Landcare NSW will be vital to achieve this,” said Gus.

Gotcha4Life funds sustainable educational workshops, training programs and products that build mental fitness in communities across Australia to enable strong, open and binding relationships.

Every year:

  • Over 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt
  • More than eight people die each day in Australia by suicide
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age
  • In 2017, about 75% of people who died by suicide were males and 25% were females

 

For further information contact:

Jodie Lovell, Landcare NSW
Email: jlovell@landcarensw.org.au
Mobile: 0439 316 151

A message from the CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit – the importance of the community of Landcare

Whenever there are disasters one of the first things that people discover is the strength of their community. It highlights the resilience, comradery and hope that community brings even in the most hopeless and challenging of situations. In the time I have spent working within the NSW Landcare community, one of the things that has struck me constantly is that strength.

It is in the simple gestures and moments, whether at workshops, morning teas or simply reaching out to check that your neighbour is going o.k., that are squeezed in between feeding stock or fighting fires. It is in the stories that our local and regional Coordinators share, telling the story of Landcare and how in good times and bad, in the lean years and fruitful ones, Landcarers show up and do the hard work.

Because Landcare is more than a collective movement. It is a community and for many across NSW, it is a family.

So we urge you to reach out to your fellow Landcarers. Whether it’s your local group or even at a regional level, because we need to support one another now more than ever.

But just as importantly, look after yourself. Because the dust will settle and the smoke will clear, and we’ll be beside one another to build and regrow once more.

Please see below for assistance services for communities affected.

Landcare NSW – 0458 168 225

Salvation Army – salvos.org.au/

Lions Clubs –   drought support including fodder – www.needforfeed.org

Drought Angelswww.droughtangels.org.au

Country Women’s Association (CWA) – Disaster Relief Fund – www.cwaofnsw.org.au 

WIRES – 1300 094 737

BlazeAid – 0417 552 116

Mission Australia – www.missionaustralia.com.au/

Anglicare Australia – www.anglicare.asn.au/

Disaster Welfare Assistance Point – DWAPs offer help to bushfire affected people with their immediate needs.

Locations to be found here 

BUSH FIRE RESPONSE – Financial Assistance

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) are now available for eligible people living in bushfires affected LGA’s. The AGDRP is $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children and the Disaster Recovery Allowance provides eligible applicants up to 13 weeks income support. Click here

Additional assistance

The Emergency Fodder Collection Points for bush fire affected landholders at the Glen Innes Showground and Walcha Racecourse, is now open between 8:00am and 4:30pm.

Landholders who need assistance with emergency fodder, water, livestock and domestic animal assessment, should register their request on the Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647. The hotline will be open between 8:00am and 8:00pm weekdays and between 8am and 5pm weekends.

Had water taken for fire-fighting and it affects your livestock?

Local Land Services and NSW DPI will evaluate requests from landholders for replacement of water in dams/storages where water has been removed by fire-fighting authorities for fire-fighting purposes or where infrastructure has been damaged during the emergency creating an animal welfare issue.

Evaluation of eligibility of water replacement will include: significance of impact on animal welfare and significance of impact on other agricultural activities.