The 2022 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference was held on Thursday 17th March and for the first time it was an entirely online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The existing three-day program was condensed into a single day of inspiring, informative and innovative presentations and discussions attended by over 250 attendees from across the state.
“Despite the challenges we have faced in the lead up to this conference, we were able to all come together. If we have learnt one thing in the last two years, it has been resilience and adaptability,” Landcare NSW Chair Ms Stephanie Cameron said.
“Landcare is needed now more than ever. It was so inspiring to see Landcarers from flood affected areas online and sharing their knowledge. Our thoughts and well wishes go out to those who have been and are still being impacted by the devastating floods.”
Hosted by War on Waste’s Craig Reucassal, the event was engaging from the very beginning with an incredible keynote address from Dr Chadden Hunter, producer of the wildlife series Planet Earth.
The day featured concurrent sessions around the theme of the conference: Rethink – Engaging Community; Recharge – Regenerative Agriculture/Land Management; Renew – Biodiversity/Regeneration.
The conference concluded with Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin and NSW Landcare Program Assistant Manager Deb Tkachenko asking the big questions of the over 250 delegates online with their interactive presentation, ‘Rethinking Landcare – Ask the big questions and get answers’.
“Thank you to everyone who presented at the conference and shared their knowledge, learnings and insights,” said Ms Cameron.
The conference was followed by a free, online awards ceremony for the prestigious 2021 NSW Landcare Awards where the winners for each of the eight Landcare Award categories were announced.
Acting Local Land Services Board Chair, Allison Harker said, “The quality of the nominations from all across the state were outstanding and after an extensive judging process we have been able to pick our finalists and ultimately the Grand Champions for the eight award categories.”
“The nominees should be proud of their achievements, particularly in the wake of cumulative natural disasters and tough seasonal conditions.
“These nominees have shown tremendous resilience in the face of adversity and these awards are an excellent opportunity for us to say thank you to them and the wider Landcare community,” said Ms Harker.
Mr Brian Hilton has been awarded the 2022 Gerald Carnie Memorial Award at the NSW Landcare Awards online ceremony as part of the NSW Landcare and LLS Conference in recognition of his local and regional contribution to Landcare over 40 years.
Brian has been a dedicated Landcare volunteer for over four decades and has inspired countless people during this time through his work in restoring the coastal dunes and headland environments in his hometown of Redhead, NSW.
Brian established Redhead Bluff Landcare where he has coordinated several major projects such as the very successful Redhead Coastal Corridor project, to connect vegetation and restore migratory routes for native fauna. Brian’s restoration work is also combatting the spread of invasive weeds such as Bitou Bush, Turkey Rhubarb, Lantana and Coastal Morning Glory, and treating the underlying causes of coastal erosion. Brian remains one of Lake Macquarie’s most active Landcare volunteers to this day.
Landcare NSW CEO, Turlough Guerin said, “Brian’s dedication to the Landcare movement demonstrates the ‘fire in the belly’ he has for Landcare.
“He was instrumental in the growth of his local Landcare group, helped to build Landcare in his region and plant the seed with future generations.”
A strong believer in the power of engaging and educating young people about the importance of caring for our earth, Brian has hosted many school and Scout/Girl Guide groups at his Landcare site, teaching the next generation about our coastal environment.
“In educating the community about invasive weeds, native plants and the importance of habitat connectivity, Brian’s reach goes far beyond the on-groundwork that is carried out at his Redhead Bluff Landcare site.
“His efforts have resulted in a strong and sustainable Landcare community in NSW and this award is well-earned recognition for his contribution over many years,” said Turlough.
The Gerald Carnie Memorial Award for Keeping the Landcare Flame Alive was established by Landcare NSW to recognise Gerald’s special individual contribution to the Landcare movement.
The award is proudly supported by the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL) as the official partner and sponsor. Newly elected Chair of the PFL, Mr Gurmesh Singh, Member for Coffs Harbour presented the award.
“I have seen Landcare’s efforts firsthand in my electorate and I am very impressed at the results you are achieving. On behalf of all my colleagues in the PFL, your work is valued and very much appreciated.”
In June 2011, Gerald Carnie, a committed Landcarer from the Parkes area, died suddenly at the age of 46, leaving his wife Lorraine and sons, Ryan and Jarrod, grieving and the Landcare community shocked.
Lorraine Carnie, wife of the late Gerald Carnie said this award is a fitting tribute to a great man: “Gerald had the Landcare fire in his belly. He not only talked about Landcare, but he put his words into action.
“Gerald’s work in Landcare was the embodiment of this conviction, what he stood for, what he wanted to achieve and what he did achieve, and the Gerald Carnie Memorial Award is a testament to him and others like him,” Lorraine said.
The Gerald Carnie Memorial Award is awarded every two years in conjunction with the State Landcare Awards.
The award is given to an individual in recognition of their contribution to the development of ‘the philosophy of Landcare’. The recipient champions the development of Landcare to support a change in attitudes, which translates to a more cohesive and resilient community that acts to achieve a healthier environment and/or more productive and sustainable farms.
Turlough said “The quality of all those who were nominated for this award is extraordinary. Our movement is full of unsung heroes who inspire their neighbours to get involved in Landcare and do something positive for our landscapes and communities. I acknowledge them all and thank them for their work.”
Applicants are judged on the impact they have had at the local and regional or state scale to ensure that Landcare can prosper.
The other finalists for the Award for 2022 are:
Deb Tkachenko was one of the first professional Landcare Coordinators in NSW employed through the pilot Dunecare in the late 80s and has worked with Landcare at a local, regional and state level in NSW for the past 30 years. Deb has been volunteering with the North Coast Regional Landcare Network for a number of years and has been a consistent force in assisting North Coast Regional Landcare to take on a more consolidated role. She is currently on the network executive and a member of the steering committee for the North Coast Regional Landcare Coordinator. Deb inspires everyone around her with her ability to build relationships and positive collaborations including work colleagues, volunteers and fellow committee members.
Louise Turner is passionate about the Western Region of NSW, where she has lived and worked for the past 24 years. She has been involved in Landcare not only at a local level, but also at the regional, state and National levels. She is actively involved in her local community where she encourages and inspires people around her with her work in protecting native animals and rehabilitating their habitat to controlling and/or eradicating pest animals and plants. Her passion shows through the work on her own property with restoration of habitat, soil rehydration work and the three seed nurseries she has built with her husband Zane.
For further information contact:
Jodie Lovell, Communications Officer
0439 316 151
Bill Pigott, an active Landcarer in Berry and former Chair of Berry Landcare has been awarded Honorary Life Membership at the 2021 Landcare NSW Annual General Meeting in recognition of his service to Landcare NSW and the Landcare movement.
Landcare NSW Chair Stephanie Cameron praised Bill’s commitment to Landcare on a state, regional and local level.
“Bill is seen as a leader in the Landcare movement, not just at a local level in Berry but also at a state level where he represented South East Landcare as a Landcare NSW Council member for many years.
I would like to thank Bill for his constant support, advocacy and representation on behalf of Landcare in NSW,” said Ms Cameron.
Bill has worked in roles such as coordinator of local Bushcare site, member of the local Catchment Management Authority and local council working groups and committees.
“Bill played an instrumental role in designing the early Musters and was also the inaugural recipient of the Gerald Carnie Memorial Award in 2015,” said Ms Cameron.
Mr Pigott thanked Ms Cameron and the Landcare NSW Council for the award and said he was honoured to join other Life Members.
“I am so honoured to be nominated as an honorary life member and to join such illustrious and inspiring company of pioneers, Landcare stalwarts and heroes. I’m delighted to accept this nomination,” said Mr Pigott.
“Looking back, I am proudest of my role in the early Landcare Musters and a real highlight was the year that my son Peter, one of the early and longstanding Regional Landcare Facilitators, took on the role of facilitating the Muster.
“I appreciate Landcare as a unique community movement and realise the greatest strength is in its diversity, and I particularly appreciate the energy that was derived in those early days from standing up, from turning up, from promoting the values and the visions of the Landcare community in all of their manifestations and expressions. I admire Landcare NSW’s commitment to listen and the courage to hear. The respect and support to nurture and build capacity still remains such an important part of the organisation.
“I am so proud to be a Landcarer and even prouder to be an honorary life member of Landcare NSW,” Mr Pigott said.
Long-time Landcarer, John Hughson, has been awarded Honorary Life Membership at the 2021 Landcare NSW Annual General Meeting in recognition of his service to Landcare NSW and the Landcare movement.
Landcare NSW Chair, Stephanie Cameron praised John’s commitment to Landcare on a state, regional and local level.
“John has been involved with Landcare for over 25 years and has worked to develop, and champion, Landcare at a local, district, and regional level contributing to a legacy of strong, well-established and supported groups in Lake Macquarie and the Hunter,” Ms Cameron said.
As the convenor of the first Landcare NSW Gathering at Myuna Bay on the shores of Lake Macquarie in 2007, John was one of the main drivers behind setting up Landcare NSW as the state peak body for community Landcare in NSW.
Ms Cameron thanked John for his role as a foundation member of Landcare NSW.
“The time and dedication John has brought to the Landcare movement in NSW and Landcare NSW over the years, has helped strengthen the foundation of Landcare NSW.We wouldn’t be where we are today without individuals such as John who had the vision to see what we could achieve as a state-wide movement,” Ms Cameron said.
John went on to represent the Hunter region at the state level on the Landcare NSW Council for over a decade and served on Landcare NSW’s Executive Committee.
John’s many Landcare roles have included two stints as Chair of the Hunter Region Landcare Network, when it first formed, and again after 14 years as Landcare Coordinator with Lake Macquarie City Council.
After more than 25 years, supporting the Landcare movement, and the many champions involved in it, John is now self-employed providing Landcare facilitation and training in conservation and land management.
OzFish in partnership with Landcare NSW has today announced a state-wide citizen science program in a bid to monitor the recovery of waterways since the 2019-2020 Black Summer Bushfires.
Aptly named Waterway Fire Science, the project which is funded by the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program aims to mobilise community groups and recreational fishers to self-monitor the recovery of their local waterways. Volunteers will use a range of water sampling techniques that will contribute to ongoing research efforts and future bushfire recovery programs.
OzFish’s Project Officer for NSW South Coast, Lucas Kas is enthusiastic about the immediate impact citizen scientists can have.
“The more people we can get to roll up their sleeves and get out in the field to collect data, the clearer the picture we will have of the rate of recovery,” said Lucas.
“Understanding the way these systems are recovering is key to minimising the impact fires have in the future. It allows OzFish and our partners to see what activities will increase the resilience and revival of our waterways after fire events.”
“Bushfires are inevitable in Australia, but residents can now get involved in how to help habitat revive,” said Lucas.
OzFish and Landcare NSW are calling upon community members interested in making a positive contribution to their local waterways, to get involved.
Through the partnership, OzFish will provide training on identifying the impacts fire has on riparian vegetation, water quality and riverbank stability, as well as how to measure, monitor, respond to, and commence recovery of impacted waterways.
Landcare NSW Chair, Stephanie Cameron said local Landcare groups, recreational fishers and individuals can access training and increase their skills and knowledge to make a real difference on the ground.
“Training will be provided through a series of both online and in-field workshops across NSW, of which the dates and locations will be announced in early 2022,” said Stephanie.
“Volunteers will also learn how to collect key readings of vegetation, as well as harnessing exciting new technologies like eDNA to confirm the presence of any species in the area.
“At each event all equipment will be provided to allow volunteers to carry out a range of monitoring techniques such as water bug sampling and mapping terrestrial and aquatic fauna using underwater cameras,” said Stephanie.
If you’d like to get involved or hear more about the project, head over to Waterway Fire Science – OzFish Unlimited and click on the Waterway Fire Science page under projects and register your interest now.
This Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery project has been supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.
Jonathon Bleakley – Media Manager | OzFish Unlimited
Jonathonbleakley@ozfish.org.au | 0402171914
OzFish Unlimited is a national fishing conservation charity established to improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries. It is a member-based organisation dedicated to make our fishing grounds healthy, vibrant and more productive. Their active work includes; habitat restoration such as resnagging, riverbank planting, fishways, shellfish reefs and educational and community capacity building programs.
About Landcare NSW
Landcare NSW is the peak body and voice of community Landcare in NSW. Our mission is to care for the land and the environment. The Landcare movement is a community-based approach to managing and protecting our natural resources – creating more productive and sustainable farms, conserving our environment, and building more cohesive and resilient communities. Landcare connects you to on-ground activities where you can volunteer with like-minded individuals who have a passion for caring for country.
Recently, the Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Coordinator used a “Working Together” small grant to fund a cultural immersion day, facilitated by Den Barber from Yarrabin Cultural Connections.
Held in the lower Hunter Valley, the day included visiting and interpreting several Aboriginal sites, a smoking ceremony and a dance performance.
It was a popular and successful event, said Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Coordinator, Madeline Florin with 29 people attending with a waiting list.
“There was plenty of discussion that was both informative and, at times, challenging. All who participated found it valuable with about half the participants taking something away that they could use with their own Landcare group.
“A moment of communal comprehension and understanding was when our group was unexpectedly denied entry to a site we had planned to visit. This was confronting and provided a moment of reflection on the fact that many Aboriginal people are not able to access their Country.
“This opportunity was great in that our Landcarers across Greater Sydney are working with varying degrees of knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture, history and land management techniques and there is a need and thirst amongst the Landcare and Bushcare communities to learn and better understand Aboriginal culture. This will promote more respectful and culturally sensitive engagement from the Landcare and Bushcare community.
Madeleine said each participant learnt a great deal and the day’s impact was personal with different reflections from different participants.
“It made everyone think more deeply about the day and we can all take something unique away from it. The co-presenters of Den and Aboriginal Landcare Coordinator from the Cooks River Alliance, Ciaron Dunn, helped give different perspectives, knowledge and views.
This day was just the beginning of a learning journey and many participants reported that they will go away and continue learning.
The “Working Together” Aboriginal Communities Engagement Program is an initiative made possible by the NSW Landcare Program. A collaboration of Local Land Services NSW and Landcare NSW Inc. supported by the NSW Government.
A key component of the NSW Landcare Program is the facilitation of a community of practice, or, ‘gathering’/workshop, for Program Participants (Host Organisations and Coordinators).
This type of forum has been identified as a key milestone for the Program. The opportunity for hosts and coordinators to come together from across the state to share experiences, learn with each other and from each other and to build personal relationships at both the regional and state scales, is seen as critical to building common understanding and capacity for our Landcarers.
Registrations are well over 100 now, with another 50 or so expected comprising of Landcare Coordinators, host organisation members and Regional Landcare Coordinators descending on Dubbo from 8-10 June.
With a key note address by Robbie Sefton, an inspirational communication specialist and farmer, plus guest trainers that will provide sessions that ‘Build Resilience, Not Burnout’ and ‘Whole Brain Thinking’ there is a lot to stimulate thought.
However, this Gathering is not only about learning and receiving information, the Program Team and Landcare NSW staff also want to hear from the Coordinators, hosts and their regions about what works well, the different ways of doing things and what could work better for Landcare into the future.
There are sessions requiring regional thinking and regionally responses, individual self selected optional trainings and plenty of time to confer and network.
Naturally it wouldn’t be Landcare without a few social opportunities and participants are encouraged to attend events at the Devils Hollow Brewery on the first night and the special Conference Dinner on the Wednesday night. If you would like more information, please contact the NSW Landcare Program Team.
On 30 & 31 March 2021, the Upper Snowy Landcare Network provided a very special opportunity to the local Landcare and school community to walk on the traditional training grounds of Gegedzerick, near Berridale.
Supported by funds from the NSW Landcare Program’s “Working Together” Aboriginal Engagement Program and South East Local Land Services, the event was designed to train local people to recognise Aboriginal objects, artefacts, landscape features and perspectives on land management and traditional Aboriginal culture.
Aboriginal cultural heritage experts Uncle Glen Morris, Graham Moore and local Aboriginal Elder Uncle Snappy were on hand to share their knowledge, provide samples and inject their sharp sense of humour and life experience into a very successful two-day event.
Starting at the local CWA Hall each day, participants were given an insight into the types of Aboriginal objects that can be found in the local landscape, including samples of tools and artefacts for everyone to see and touch. The group then travelled a short distance to the Gegedzerick Travelling Stock Reserve, which is being managed by the Upper Snowy Landcare Network, to utilise their new-found identification skills and knowledge to conduct a “walkover” inspection of the site to identify any potential Aboriginal artefacts.
Under the legislation relating to Aboriginal cultural objects, any artefacts found must be registered and recorded on the NSW Government’s database of Aboriginal objects. A key part of the training during the event involved how to fill in a ‘site-card’ to record the exact location and landscape features surrounding the site and then uploading these to the database.
It is very culturally important that Aboriginal artefacts stay in the location they are found, are protected from disturbance from either farming, conservation, development or other impacts such as soil erosion. Upper Snowy Landcare Network will use the information gathered during this very successful event to further inform future management of the Travelling Stock Reserve.
The Landcare NSW and OzFish partnership to deliver improved fish habitat in NSW has achieved close to one million dollars of habitat restoration work in its first twelve months.
With an initial investment from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts of $200 000, the two groups have attracted an additional $330,000 cash investment and over $500,000 in-kind support into fish habitat restoration work for the state’s inland rivers and coastal waterways.
The partnership focuses on local groups coming together to determine their waterway’s fish habitat needs and to take action to improve it. Under the expert guidance from the OzFish team, groups devised a range of projects including, re-snagging, trash racks, re-planting, fish monitoring, weeding, fencing and clean-ups.
Cassie Price, OzFish’s Director of Habitat Programs said, ‘We know everyone is having a challenging year, but it is amazing what Landcare and OzFish volunteers have achieved together despite the conditions out there on the ground.
“There are now 14,300 more trees along NSW riverbanks that will provide shade and stable water temperatures, insect fall and eventually snags for fish. Sixty more snags in our rivers installed which will provide instant homes, shelter and food for fish, along with 30km of riverbank weeded, cleaned up and restored. Plus a trash rack stopping litter, eight engagement events, and a search for a lost fish in Sydney.”
The real value in the partnership was seen in the mobilisation of five hundred recreational fishers and Landcarers who got involved in a wide variety of new restoration initiatives bringing ideas, energy and enthusiasm to the table and over 2,000 hours of volunteer time to improve their local waterway.
“There is a lot of work that goes into delivering these outcomes. It’s a credit to each of these communities, that they have dedicated groups willing to volunteer for their local rivers and for fish’ she said.
“We are happy to be celebrating the achievements of year one of our partnership, and the work continues,” Cassie said.
Landcare NSW CEO Adrian Zammit agreed, “Landcare NSW is thrilled to see this partnership deliver such amazing results for NSW. The results delivered so far are clear evidence that NRM challenges require close collaboration and partnerships between like-minded organisations.”
The project was made possible with funding support from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts and BCF Boating Camping and Fishing.
Landcare NSW is disappointed the Federal Budget did not include funding for a Land Management and Conservation Stimulus Package but recommends the Federal Government keep the idea on the table.
Landcare NSW welcomes the Budget allocation for projects to improve ocean health, renew visitor infrastructure in world heritage sites and expand recycling infrastructure.
“This Budget focused on tax cuts and infrastructure but there is still a chance for the Government to stimulate the economy by working with the volunteer Landcare community to create jobs in managing the land and environment,” said Landcare NSW CEO Dr Adrian Zammit.
In the lead up to the Budget, along with 70 farming and conservation groups around the country, Landcare NSW asked the Federal Government to fund a national conservation jobs plan.
Dr Adrian Zammit, said: “Our sector stands ready to make a massive contribution to job creation around the country.
“We are confident we can stimulate the economy by creating jobs to restore the environment which has been severely impacted by fires and drought.
“Our land needs people to plant trees, erect fencing, restore riverbanks, remove pests and weeds and create habitat for threatened species,” said Dr Zammit.
“These are the kind of jobs and training young people want.
“Building homes and supporting business is welcome but we need a greater focus on the natural infrastructure that sustains our quality of life and enables wildlife to survive.”
Landcare is a well-established, trusted community movement that has robust systems, sound financial management and experience, enabling it to scale up quickly to deliver land and environment projects.
‘This investment would create social, economic and environmental benefits in the short, medium and long term,’ said Dr Zammit.