Landcare NSW Unveils Ambitious 5-Year Strategic Plan

Landcare NSW has launched its Strategic Business Plan for 2022-2027, charting an ambitious roadmap to drive the Landcare movement in New South Wales towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

The plan, available for review on the Landcare NSW website, focuses on four pivotal pillars:

  • member-centredness,
  • community-led action,
  • sustainable landscapes,
  • and effective partnerships.

Among its standout objectives is the goal to propel the Landcare movement to a staggering 1 million participants by 2040. This audacious target is rooted in strategies aimed at providing stability, bolstering memberships, increasing engagement, and affirming the organisation’s credentials as a trusted partner in natural resource management.

Turlough Guerin, CEO of Landcare NSW, commented on the plan’s release, stating, “The goals we’ve set are both challenging and entirely achievable. At the heart of this vision is the trust we build within our teams, our network of coordinators, the State Advisory Council, the Board, and our partners. Recognising the irreplaceable value of grassroots volunteers remains central to our ethos.”

The plan also underscores a commitment to exceed obligations to the current Landcare Program, concluding in July 2023. There’s a strong advocacy push for an enhanced state-based care program funded by the NSW Government for 2023-2027. This commitment further solidifies Landcare NSW’s dedication to its mission and the communities it serves.

Another highlight of the plan is the ‘Digitalisation Project’. This initiative will examine Landcare NSW’s current digital assets, assess the needs of its grassroots members, and co-design approaches to streamline on-ground tasks like data collection and reporting. The overarching objective is to simplify processes, allowing members to focus on their passion for the environment.

Landcare NSW is also spearheading the ‘Natural Capital Supply Chain’ project. This venture seeks to create a reliable seed library and tree nursery, ensuring Landcare groups and partners have consistent access to quality seeds and plants.

Furthermore, the organisation recognises the importance of culture. A dedicated ‘Culture Change Project’ aims to cultivate an atmosphere where people say, “I want to be part of that.” The vision is to foster a culture of collaboration, trust, and inclusivity, ensuring that all – from volunteers to executive volunteers and Team leaders – feel valued, included, and rewarded.

As Landcare NSW strides into the future, its emphasis on leadership development, collaboration with government agencies, and a unified national voice in environmental management and agricultural production positions the organisation as a beacon in environmental stewardship and a model of government and NGO collaboration.

For more information on the Landcare NSW 5-Year Strategic Plan and its numerous initiatives, please visit the official website at

Landcare NSW: Championing Sydney’s Environmental Resilience and Liveability

In the dynamic landscape of Sydney, a notable shift is underway. Landcare NSW is at the heart of this transition, a grassroots organisation driven by its commitment to bolster community well-being and environmental resilience.

With a series of programs, projects, community and government initiatives, and a deep sense of responsibility, Landcare NSW is weaving a tapestry of change aimed at making Sydney both more sustainable and liveable. But we are not restricted to improving Sydney – our footprint covers 60% of the State’s land area.

Our grassroots community at Landcare will be critical to ensure we are creating an environment that enables all communities of our State to be safer and better equipped to deal with the emerging and increasing risks from extreme weather, including heatwaves, fires, droughts and severe weather.

Landcare NSW is a beacon of positive change in New South Wales, advocating for community and environmental wellbeing. The organisation works tirelessly to enhance the natural landscape and empower local communities. Every region in Sydney has its own set of environmental needs. Landcare NSW acknowledges this diversity and has launched a series of localised projects.

From soil enrichment to maintaining native ecosystems, these ventures are tailor-made to address specific landscape challenges, ensuring areas are strengthened against potential adversities. This article delves into some of our disaster preparedness efforts, highlighting the significant strides made towards a greener, more resilient future for the State.

Disaster Risk Preparedness Project: Fortifying New South Wales Against Unforeseen Challenges

The increasing incidences of fires, droughts, and heatwaves in NSW are undeniable challenges. Recognising this, Landcare NSW is rolling its sleeves, working diligently to bolster community resilience. By offering educational sessions and resources, communities are better equipped with knowledge on fire-resistant plants, innovative water-saving techniques, and much more. The aim? A community that’s aware and proactive in facing nature’s challenges head-on.

Landcare NSW is pioneering the Disaster Risk Preparedness Project in collaboration with the NSW Reconstruction Authority (formerly known as Resilience NSW). This initiative underscores the pressing need for communities across New South Wales to be equipped and ready in the face of natural calamities.

At the heart of the project is a multi-pronged strategy. Firstly, it aims to educate and raise awareness among communities about the potential risks associated with natural disasters, be it fires, floods, or landslips. Through tailored workshops, information sessions, and hands-on training, residents have the tools and knowledge to respond swiftly and effectively.

Secondly, the project focuses on creating a blueprint for localities to follow when disaster strikes. This involves mapping out evacuation routes, establishing communication lines, and ensuring that essential services remain accessible.

The combined expertise of Landcare NSW, known for its grassroots community engagements, and the NSW Reconstruction Authority, with its vast experience in disaster management, ensures that the Disaster Risk Preparedness Project is not just about reacting to disasters but proactively preparing the State to face, mitigate, and recover from them.

Creating Canopies Project: A Collaborative Vision for a Greener Sydney

Sydney’s urban corridors are witnessing a surge in canopy areas. Landcare NSW is ensuring multifaceted benefits for the city by actively promoting and increasing tree coverage. More trees equate to reduced effects of urban heat, providing residents with cooler surroundings during peak summer. Additionally, trees play a pivotal role in improving air quality, adding both aesthetic charm and functional advantages. This initiative is geared towards making Sydney a haven for its residents, merging nature’s touch with urban sprawl.

The Creating Canopies Project represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Landcare NSW, Greater Sydney Landcare, and the NSW Department of Planning. Recognising the multifaceted benefits of increased urban greenery, this partnership is committed to enhancing Sydney’s canopy coverage and surroundings. At its core, the project aims to introduce more trees into the urban landscape. This mitigates the effects of urban heat and improves air quality and adds to the aesthetic appeal and mental well-being of Sydney’s residents. Beyond just planting, the initiative ensures that the right species are chosen for specific locales to maximise ecological balance and resilience.

By pooling the expertise of community-driven organisations like Landcare NSW and Greater Sydney Landcare with the regulatory and planning proficiency of the NSW Department of Planning, the Creating Canopies Project is set to make a lasting impact. The joint endeavour promises a more sustainable, liveable, and green Sydney, benefiting the environment and its people.

Natural Capital Supply Chain Project: Meeting Future Demands Head-On

One of the standout commitments in Landcare NSW’s current Strategic Plan is the Natural Capital Supply Chain Project, commonly called the Nursery Project. With foresight into the evolving environmental and economic needs of New South Wales, this project is meticulously designed to address the anticipated surge in demand for reliable sources of seeds, tube stock, and trees. As the economy and various sectors increasingly recognise the value of natural capital, the demand for these foundational elements becomes paramount.

With its extensive expertise and commitment, Landcare NSW is poised to become a linchpin in this emerging market. By ensuring the sourcing of these materials is appropriate and dependable, the organisation is creating a robust supply chain that can effectively cater to the multifaceted demands of natural capital markets. Furthermore, this initiative seamlessly aligns with Landcare NSW’s broader commitment to a Landcare Led Resilience Program, which we aspire to establish in the short term. This overarching program aims to fortify the natural environment and the communities within, ensuring long-term sustainability and resilience in the face of natural disaster challenges. By marrying strategic foresight with on-ground actions, Landcare NSW is solidifying its role as a environmental and community wellbeing leader.

A Strong Alliance with the NSW Government

The recent endorsement from the NSW Government, evident in the September 2023 NSW Budget Announcement, is a significant milestone for Landcare NSW. By funding its principal program from 2023 to 2027, the NSW Government and Parliament have displayed their confidence in Landcare NSW’s vision: A million Landarers by 2040. This partnership represents monetary support and a shared vision for a greener and resilient Sydney and the State. Landcare NSW is deeply grateful for its unwavering support from the NSW Government and Parliament. It also highlights the NSW Government’s trust in our capability and potential to be a highly trusted service delivery partner to ensure the future health and wellbeing of our environment and communities.

“In every patch of land we nurture, in every community we empower, there’s a promise of a brighter, stronger New South Wales. Together, we’re not just planting trees but sowing the seeds for a better tomorrow.”

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare: Strengthening Ties for a Resilient Future

The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare stands as a testament to the vital role that bipartisan support and collaboration play in fostering sustainable and resilient communities. This group, comprising members from across the political spectrum, signifies the importance of Landcare’s mission beyond politics—it’s about the shared vision of a thriving New South Wales.

This initiative has been instrumental in building bridges within Parliament, fostering dialogue, and promoting understanding of pressing environmental challenges and potential solutions. By acting as a conduit between Landcare NSW and the broader legislative body, the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare helps ensure a consistent and informed approach to environmental policy-making. Their endorsement and support provide Landcare NSW with amplified reach, enabling more communities across the State to benefit from well-resourced and impactful projects. With the backing of this influential parliamentary group, Landcare is not only gaining momentum but also ensuring that the mission to create resilient communities is deeply integrated into the State’s overarching vision for the future.

A Strong Future

While the impact of Landcare NSW is evident in the greater Sydney region, its commitment stretches far beyond the city’s limits. Landcare NSW recognises the ecological and communal nuances of the entire State, from the coastal areas to the riverine plains, from bustling regional hubs to serene rural pockets.

Our programs and projects span diverse terrains, focusing on each region’s unique challenges and opportunities. Our aspirations are high, as we envision a future where the synergy of community, a supporting government, and nature sets a global benchmark for environmental stewardship and resilience. At the heart of these initiatives is the core belief that every community deserves a thriving, sustainable environment, irrespective of its size or location. Landcare NSW ensures a holistic approach by addressing state-wide concerns, underscoring its commitment to the entire New South Wales community.

Landcare NSW stands at a pivotal juncture, bridging the aspirations of communities with tangible environmental solutions. The unwavering support from the NSW Government and Parliament further strengthens us on this journey.


– Dr Turlough Guerin, CEO, Landcare NSW


Biodiversity conservation on private land in NSW is imperative in preserving unique ecosystems, flora, and fauna that may not be inhabited in public conservation areas. Protecting biodiversity on private lands also plays a vital role in maintaining ecological balance, improving land productivity, and enhancing water quality, all of which directly benefit both the landowners and the broader community.

As urbanisation and industrial activities continue to expand, private lands have become increasingly crucial refuges for many species, helping to reduce habitat fragmentation and support long-term environmental sustainability. Our partnership with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) is vital.

Private Land Conservation Matters (PLCM) is Stage 2 of Landcare NSW’s partnership program with the BCT, building on the success and lessons learned from the 2020-22 Project, including increased awareness of the BCT’s roles and responsibilities amongst the Landcare community, and relationships developed between regional Landcare networks and regional BCT Managers.

Highlights from the first partnership were:

• 2635 people directly engaged through face-to-face and online events,
• 78 field days held on a range of conservation management topics, hosted on private landholders’ properties,
• 149 networking events were held on landholder properties across the state, and
• 390 communication products developed, including short videos, brochures, and newsletters highlighting private land conservation in regional communities.

The recently appointed program manager, Suzanne Pritchard, has focused on understanding the depth and breadth of Stage 1 achievements across the state and preparing for the new round of regionally co-designed work plans.

The $1.4 million, 18-month project is a contracted arrangement with the BCT, which will see LNSW working closely with regional coordinators to meet the 100 events, 2000 Landholders engaged target through the delivery of field days and networking activities, reaching out to the conservation community.

This project is an opportunity to forge a strong relationship with the BCT, which supports the Landcare community to deliver exceptional events and continue building bridges between private landowners, Landcare NSW, and the BCT.

To date, conversations between regional BCT and regional Landcare have proposed regional forums to bring the conservation community together after the COVID cloistering, regional workshops on locally relevant topics, local property-based events, and engagement of project officers to deliver the regional programs.

Ultimately, the project provides additional resources to deliver on-ground enhanced biodiversity outcomes, focusing on private land but relevant to all land tenures and all landcarers.


– Suzanne Pritchard, Project Manager, Landcare NSW

Landcare NSW experiences what Lithgow and Forbes Landcare Regions have to offer

Landcare NSW staff recently got out on the road to visit the Lithgow and Oberon Landcare Association (LOLA), the Wiradjuri Rangers out of Bogan Gate and the River Dreaming Aboriginal Corporation, based in Forbes.

LOLA’s Steve Fleischmann and Trish Kidd welcomed us for breakfast at the Tin Shed before taking us to see some of their great local works, including the lovely Lake Pillans Wetlands, almost destroyed by bushfires but rescued and maintained by the local Landcare community.

The scope of the work that LOLA has achieved at Lake Pillans is breathtaking and a must-see if you’re in the vicinity.

The next stop on our journey was Forbes, where we connected with Peter White of the Wiradjuri Cultural and Environmental Rangers, who was down from Bogan Gate for the day. Peter shared some details of the Ranger’s recent grant application (a clever solution to the vexed carp problem in our rivers – but we can’t give too much detail away here!)

Finally, we met Brett Smith, Director of River Dreaming Aboriginal Corporation. Brett is the driving force behind River Dreaming’s latest venture – River Dreaming Tours.

These tours include a guided canoe trip down the Lachlan River where participants learn about ‘looking after country’ from the original experts, like proud Wiradjuri men Russell Spencer, aka ‘the yellowbelly man’, an expert fisher and state finalist for NSW Senior Volunteer of the year in 2013 and Larry Towney, a former Senior Aboriginal Lands Services Officer with the Central West Local Land Services who has a real passion for drones!

The canoe trip down river comes ashore in the afternoon, in time for some well-earned rest before a sumptuous sit-down dinner by the firelight, catered by well-credentialled local outfit Eat Your Greens – no baked beans and mess tins on this expedition! Under the dazzling night sky, there’s something for the stargazers too; as Dark Skies Downunder, Trevor Leaman takes you on a journey to explore how our ‘world’s first astronomers’ intimate understanding of the night sky guided them in managing country.

A truly captivating experience.

It was a wonderful opportunity for us to get out and about in the world of Landcare and see firsthand the amazing work being done by our groups.

Please get in touch and tell us about your group and maybe invite us out for a visit – we’d love to meet you and learn more about your projects.

– Mark Lawrence, Membership & Business Support, Landcare NSW

From Pledges to Practices: How Landcare NSW Prioritises Genuine Commitment to Biodiversity

In an era dominated by sustainability jargon and many Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) pledges, it’s essential to discern between mere words and measurable action.

One organisation has been consistently leading by example – Landcare NSW.

Biodiversity Month, September 2023, was an opportune time to reflect on what genuine commitment to our environment looks like. While many tout their strategies and upcoming initiatives, Landcare NSW has been methodically working on the ground, ensuring the State of NSW’s 30 by 2030 commitments (aligned with international biodiversity benchmarks) are not merely aspirations but achievable targets.

We are not an organisation that rests on laurels (of any sort) or makes exaggerated promises. We are about demonstrable results. As such, we focus more on outcomes than on process. NSW’s rich biodiversity doesn’t benefit from future projections but from immediate and deliberate action – an ethos Landcare NSW embraces daily.

The relevance of NSW’s 30 by 2030 commitments extends beyond environmental benchmarks. It signifies a commitment to the legacy we leave for future generations, indicating that in NSW, we don’t just anticipate change – we initiate it.

However, the magnitude of such an endeavour requires collaboration.

True commitment to our environment isn’t measured by the promises we make but by our actions. Every tree planted every habitat restored, is a testament to NSW’s unwavering dedication to a sustainable future.

The Path Forward

For investors who recognise that genuine worth isn’t solely in financial metrics but in facilitating a sustainable legacy, consider this: Landcare NSW stands as a beacon of real environmental and community stewardship.

I challenge all ESG proponents to scrutinise their contributions: Are they merely declarations or avenues of genuine progress? The tangible results of Landcare NSW speak for themselves.

For those committed to a balanced and biodiverse NSW, now is the moment for action. We invite investors to align with an organisation whose primary focus is impactful, lasting change, not mere rhetoric.


– Dr Turlough Guerin, CEO, Landcare NSW

NOTICE of the 2023 Landcare NSW Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting is an important event for Landcare NSW. Both the Chair’s Report and the audited Financial Report will be accessible to members prior to the meeting through the Governance link on the Landcare NSW website.

The business that will be conducted during the Annual General Meeting will be outlined in an agenda to follow.

The details regarding the Annual General Meeting are:
Date: Friday 10 November 2023
Time: 8:30am-9:30am
Location: Online via Zoom (link will be shared prior to meeting with those who register attendance)
Register your intent to attend:

Reducing the Cost of Living: The Landcare NSW Way: A Community Journey to Sustainability and Savings

As soaring energy bills, grocery prices, and the general cost of living become pressing concerns, many seek ways to alleviate these financial pressures.

What if we told you that being part of Landcare NSW can enrich your life and provide a vehicle to help reduce your living expenses?

As the cost of living continues to rise, we all search for sustainable ways to make our incomes stretch that little bit further.

What if you could do that while also contributing to a healthier planet and a more vibrant community?

That is the magic of being a part of Landcare.

Landcare has traditionally been associated with sustainable agriculture, horticulture, NRM, and environmental and biodiversity management. However, there are numerous examples of Landcare groups and individuals engaging in broader sustainability activities that not only save money but also fit well within the Landcare ethos.

Below are several activities, projects, and programs to consider running through your Landcare group.

Food Costs:

  • Fruit And Vegetable Growing: It is interesting how many people took up fruit and vegetable gardening during COVID-19. Growing and composting your food waste can save significant money, especially if you learn how to preserve excess produce.
  • Community Gardens: Participation in communal gardening initiatives helps you to grow your own fruits and vegetables, save money on shopping, and can be a great community-building exercise and learning experience. Coordinating and swapping with others can help you avoid an oversupply of certain veggies and lets you concentrate on growing what you are good at.
  • Food Swaps: Food swaps are exploding across the country. These are great ways to get rid of your excess produce while picking up those things you cannot or do not grow yourself, creating an opportunity for socialising and providing an opportunity for those without increasing space or ability to bring homemade jams, chutneys, and cakes to swap.
  • Bulk Buying: Group purchases of food, seeds, fertilisers, or other garden supplies can be more cost-effective.


Energy and Water:

  • Energy-Saving Workshops: Your Landcare group or network can arrange face-to-face or video workshops to learn tips and techniques for reducing energy and water consumption, water harvesting at home or renewable energy options, and lowering bills.
  • Through your Landcare group or network, you can coordinate the various subsidies the State government provides for replacing energy and water-inefficient devices and electrifying your home.


Tool and Implement Sharing:

  • Tool Libraries: Setting up tool libraries for gardening and home maintenance tools may be more accessible in rural centres and cities, but it is an excellent way to save everywhere. Many examples of Landcare groups also share items such as Yeomans ploughs, wildlife camera traps, minor bird traps and rabbit warren rippers.


Local Procurement:

  • Shopping Local: Using local businesses and contractors keeps more money in the local community and helps local economies, resulting in more local jobs.


Health and Wellbeing:

  • Outdoor Activities: Participating in Landcare activities is good for the planet and could help you save money on gym memberships and healthcare in the long term. A 2021 study published by Landcare Australia showed an avoided healthcare cost of over $400 per Landcare participant per year.


Children, Family and Community Building:

  • Kids’ Activities: Many Landcare groups offer educational outings and activities that are not only free but can be a low-cost way to entertain the family.
  • Children’s Education: The activities and workshops can be educational for children, providing valuable life lessons and potentially reducing the need for other, costlier extracurricular activities.
  • Networking: The community aspect can also open doors professionally, offering opportunities for job placements, partnerships, or collaborations.


From the rich soils of our community gardens to the knowledge shared in our workshops, the benefits of Landcare membership permeate far beyond environmental stewardship. As outlined above, being an active Landcare member can help ease your cost-of-living pressures in diverse and impactful ways.


Whether it is through slashing your grocery bills by growing your food, learning valuable DIY skills to save on home maintenance, or harnessing the power of community for bulk purchases and shared resources, Landcare offers a treasure trove of financial advantages.


The most important benefit: By participating in Landcare initiatives, you are part of something far more significant than individual cost-saving. You are investing in a future where local communities and environments flourish, which is a priceless return on investment.


Join us in making a difference—for your budget, community, and the Earth.


In Landcare, every member is not just a participant but a crucial contributor to a greener, healthier, and more financially sustainable future for us all.


We would love to hear from Landcare groups about your initiatives that help your members save money, especially in “non-traditional” areas of Landcare activity. We can then share your ideas and examples with other groups across the State.


New Governance System for Landcare NSW

Landcare NSW has announced a new governance structure which will come into effect from 1 July 2022 resulting in an enhanced democratic and transparent system for the organisation. 

The new structure provides a renewed commitment to governance that continues to place the grassroots Landcarers it represents at the heart of all Landcare NSW does with clear lines of accountability and transparency. 

Over a 20-month period, Landcare NSW consulted widely across the State and has modernised its governance arrangements by approving a new constitution at a Special General Meeting in November of last year.  

Landcare NSW Chair Stephanie Cameron said: “By staying true to the intent behind forming Landcare NSW in 2007, we have confirmed the purpose of Landcare NSW is to act as a ‘resource advocate’ for local Landcare Groups. 

“Throughout, we have struck a balance between good governance at the State level and providing local Landcare Groups the flexibility they need to deliver bespoke on-ground works,” said Ms Cameron. 

Key features: 

  • Landcare NSW will be incorporated as a company-limited-by-guarantee and implement a new Constitution effective 1 July 2022
  •  An independent skills-based Board will be created with a seat reserved for an Aboriginal representative
  • A Governance Charter will be enshrined
  • Robust nominations and democratic elections processes will be implemented
  • Eleven Regional Bodies with boundaries aligned to those of NSW Local Land Services regional boundaries are being established
  • A State Advisory Council will be formed to facilitate information-sharing and coordination between the Regional Bodies (and the grassroots Landcare groups and Networks/Districts they represent) and the Landcare NSW Board
  • Terminology used to describe the structure of Landcare in NSW will be clarified to make it more understandable to members and stakeholders.

Landcare NSW Chair Stephanie Cameron said, “I would like to express my appreciation to our Landcarers for joining us on this journey. I believe by reviewing and updating our governance system so it is fit for purpose we will have strengthened Landcare NSW to prepare well for the future.” 

Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin said, “The new governance structure and processes will bring renewed organisational clarity to Landcare NSW. Our team has already commenced the work to support the transition and our first Board elections. I very much look forward to engaging with our Board of Directors and State Advisory Council representatives.” 

The new system is coming into effect from 1 July 2022 and there are arrangements district networks and regional bodies will need to undertake to make the transition as smooth as possible. Further information specific to the needs of groups will be sent out in the weeks that follow.   

For further information contact:

Jodie Lovell
Landcare NSW Communications


A new $290,000 program to build community resilience will be delivered at Bellingen High School thanks to funding from the NSW Government’s Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.

Landcare NSW, Gotcha4Life and Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) have partnered to deliver the program with the aim of zero suicides by looking at all elements of resilience in communities where people are mentally and physically fit, connected to country, to nature and to each other.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the recovery process in the wake of a natural disaster requires collaboration between communities, organisations and Government.

“The NSW Government’s Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund was designed to support social and emotional wellbeing, and I’m delighted that this new alliance between SLSNSW, Landcare NSW and Gotcha4Life will do exactly that,” Ms Cooke said.

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the $290,000 program would focus on younger people who experienced significant disruptions during the Black Summer bush fires.

“One day each week, a class at Bellingen High School will take place outside where the students help with habitat restoration, spend time with nature and connect with one another,” Mrs Pavey said.

Chair of Landcare NSW Stephanie Cameron said whilst this project is targeted to bush fire recovery regions, the aim is to create connected and resilient communities.

“A resilient community is one that can withstand and bounce back from natural disasters. With changing climates, more extreme droughts, bush fires and adverse weather events, we need to support resilience now more than ever,” Ms Cameron said.

“Resilience isn’t just about surviving fire. Resilience is the ability to face all types of adversity and have the tools to look after ourselves and those around us. This project aims to do exactly that to support Bellingen High School and the wider community.”

The majority of the project is working with Bellingen High School on a pilot which sees students educated outside, in nature, using the available resources to teach across the curriculum.

Founder of Gotcha4Life Gus Worland said this partnership would be a game-changer.

“This partnership aims to tackle a myriad of issues that contribute to poor mental health, poor educational outcomes and communities that are not resilient. By strengthening connections to community and to country and by embedding the curriculum in nature, this partnership will lead to support communities with the ability to withstand the challenges that we all face due to the environmental changes,” Mr Worland said.

“Our vision at Gotcha4Life is to take action to end suicide by delivering community-based mental fitness programs that give people the tools to deal with challenges at every age and stage of life. To encourage people to be open, honest and supportive in their relationships and comfortable expressing themselves when they are not OK. To give people the skills to speak more openly about their feelings and experiences, encouraging people to identify someone in their life they can talk to when things get tough.

“The vision of this partnership is that no one worries alone and teaches people about how to build and maintain healthy well-being and feel more connected to their community and country.

“The past couple of years have been devastating for so many rural and regional communities so we’re working together to help provide support where it is needed most.”

Bellingen High School Acting Principal Tim Laverty said the benefits of this program will be far-reaching for the students.

“We need our students to become empowered, energised and contributors to the community. This  program will give our children the tools to work on their resilience, to improve educational outcomes, the health of our environment and promote reconciliation,” Mr Laverty said.

SLSNSW Chief Operating Officer Daniel Gaffney said SLSNSW was excited to join forces with Landcare NSW and Gotcha4Life.

“Our organisation plays a powerful role in protecting life, whether it be by saving people on our beaches or through saving them from poor mental health by building resilience and fostering healthy, connected communities. In addition to running traditional First Aid courses, we also run Mental Health First Aid courses to ensure we are all looking after the mental health of ourselves, friends and family,” Mr Gaffney said.

Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin, Project Manager Mel Tyas and North Coast Aborginal Landcare Officer Michael Kennedy.

In addition to the program being delivered in schools, other elements of the project include:

  • Gotcha4Life will runs a series of workshops in the community and the local school, with representatives from Landcare and SLSNSW;
  • All workshops will start with a Welcome to Country to provide a connection to the local Aboriginal People and to Country;
  • The local Landcare group will partner with the school to provide on-site education, including propagation, planting, weeding, growing vegetables nest box building etc. This will give the students an opportunity to get their hands in the dirt and benefit from the bacteria that raises serotonin levels; and
  • SLSNSW will also provide mental health first aid training to those who want to learn more.

Funding for this pilot program has been provided by Resilience NSW through the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.

To find out more about the project, contact Melanie Tyas, Landcare NSW on

About Landcare NSW
Landcare NSW’s 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.

About Gotcha4Life
Gotcha4Life is a not-for-profit foundation taking action to end suicide by delivering community-based mental fitness programs that give people the tools to deal with challenges at every age and stage of life. Our programs run in schools, sporting clubs, community groups and corporations with the purpose of giving people the skills to speak more openly about their feelings and experience. To encourage people to identify someone in their life they can talk to when things get tough, and teach people how to build and maintain their mental fitness. We offer a range of programs suited to teenagers, teachers, parents, as well as people in the wider community. The ultimate purpose? To equip people with the skills needed to maintain a better level of mental fitness so that they don’t reach the point of suicide. We’re all about early intervention to teach people how to connect, who to connect with and why it’s important to connect. We want everyone to have a Gotcha4Life Mate – a go-to person you can rely on and talk to about anything when times are tough, so no one has to worry alone. Gotcha4Life was established as a not-for-profit foundation by media personality Gus Worland in 2017.

While the role of the surf lifesaver is to be a first responder, Surf Life Saving also plays a powerful role in protecting life, whether it be by saving people on our beaches or through saving them from poor mental health by building resilience and fostering healthy, connected communities. In addition to running traditional First Aid courses, SLSNSW also runs Mental Health First Aid courses in areas that are not covered by RAMHP. SLSNSW clubs are also used as emergency evacuation points during natural disasters and for workshops held by Landcare NSW, Gotcha4Life and other community organisations.

Why the Coalition and what does it aim to achieve?
Our Vision: zero suicide in the towns where the program is rolled out. The vision and beliefs of the organisations involved are closely aligned. Building emotional, physical, social, and community muscle – to protect against poor mental fitness – is the glue that binds the partnership. Investing in this relationship and harnessing the extensive networks across the partners means thousands of people in NSW will be able to access and benefit from the connections this partnership brings.


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 NSW Chair Stephanie Cameron opened the conference.

“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’.

Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin asking the big questions!

“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.

For a full list of finalists and award winners for the 2021 NSW Landcare awards visit,

Grand champions of the NSW National Award categories will now go on to represent the whole NSW Landcare Community at the 2022 National Landcare Awards in Sydney.