Future change makers found in Western Landcare with schools programme

On the Western Rangelands the next generation have been busy engaging with the change maker that is Landcare and communities and environments are flourishing due to it.
Focusing on growing knowledge about environmental sustainability, healthy environments, the human impact on the environment and more, the community is helping guide the next generation to a diversity of view and options that help empower young people to make a change.

Landcare and community groups have been investing in school-based programs to ensure that young people are invited to have conversations about how to build a more sustainable world and in a way that’s accessible and understandable.

“Introducing activities such as gardens to schools and communities can help tackle several problems potentially faced in rural towns. School and community gardens in rural towns play an important role in addressing a multitude of issues, including food security, nutrition, education, sense of ownership, community, and the protection of our soils as a valuable natural resource,” says Western Landcare Executive Officer Louise Turner.

“School and community gardens have helped to bring people with like-minded interests together. Early education helps to provide context for understanding seasonality and life cycles while giving people the opportunity to work cooperatively on real tasks.

“Many schools have expressed interest in using gardening activities to incorporate other learning opportunities such as cultural diversity, Aboriginal uses, sustainability issues, plant identification, creating worm farms, habitats of native fauna, and history into their education programs.

“Integrated education into the ethos of Landcare provides students with tools to educate pupils about environmental issues and articulate their vision for a sustainable future. They then go home and start the discussion and understanding of environmental issues with their support network and families and that can only be a good thing,” Louise said.

NSW LANDCARE AND LOCAL LAND SERVICES CONFERENCE A RESOUNDING SUCCESS!

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, www.nswlandcareconference.com.au

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.

LANDCARE COORDINATORS URGED TO ACCESS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BURSARY

Coordinators from across NSW have been busy taking up the Professional Development component of the NSW Landcare Program to better support the Landcare communities and groups they work with.

The bursary allows coordinators to access funds for courses and training opportunities to upskill in their role and is available to all coordinators employed by the NSW Landcare Program.

Based in the Central Tablelands, Watershed Local Landcare Coordinator Claudia Wythes said the bursary allowed her to explore something more substantial to improve her leadership skills to help support her committee and build skills for the future.

“The professional development bursary has enabled me to take a different approach than the usual courses. I didn’t feel a short course or technical course was the best use of the opportunity. After doing some research, I settled on the Advanced Leadership Program, delivered by Women & Leadership Australia – a 12-month development program for senior and executive leaders.

“With 32 Australian and New Zealand participants from a broad cross section of industries, the program is delivered online with a series of group discussion webinars, virtual workshops, executive coaching and ‘leader as coach’ sessions with a partner, as well as an adaptive leadership challenge.

“While the bursary only covered a portion of the cost, this course and the opportunity it has provided has already helped me tackle different issues and challenges that I am working through in my role. I now have a set of new strategies and a different approach and perspective,” Claudia said.

In the North Coast Region, Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare (BRRVL) Local Landcare Coordinator Emma Stone said her professional development opportunity came in the form of recognised qualifications in working safely at heights, safe methods of ladder use and other equipment, awareness of legislation and the policies and procedures to ensure work at heights is undertaken in a safe manner.

“Qualifications such as these ensure that my involvement in providing nest boxes for arboreal dwelling species are conducted in a safe manner in line with current legislation. We have so many of these projects and the opportunity to understand and learn what we can and can’t do is essential.”

“Whilst my training was comprehensive and excellent, the course content was largely tailored towards working at heights in the construction industry as opposed to the context of a natural environment. The bursary also provided me with a day’s mentoring / training event in Bowraville with Nambucca Valley Local Landcare Coordinator Logan Zingus where Logan shared his experience in designing and implementing instream erosion management and structural works.

“Cross collaboration and peer-to-peer training between Landcare groups and volunteers is so important. It builds skills and a supportive network to help deliver projects across a broad geographical area.  And, further strengthens capacity and confidence for staff and volunteers,” Emma said

Emma also took part in Mental Health First Aid Training with Landcare NSW’s partner Gotcha4Life in order to better support her community in these uncertain times

Regional Community of Practice Coordinator, Melanie Tyas, says she strongly encourages Coordinators to utilise the opportunity to provide stronger support for the communities and networks the coordinators support.

“We have a fantastic array of opportunities and connections, and this bursary allows our Landcare community to build their professional profile for now and into the future,” Melanie said.

To find out more contact mtyas@landcarensw.org.au

Cultural immersion for Greater Sydney Landcare – Learning about the history and traditions of our First Nations peoples

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.

Caring for our Cultural Heritage

Hunter Regional Landcare Workshop 2021

Information courtesy of Hunter Region Landcare

In 2021, Hunter Region Landcare began working collaboratively on a number of cultural projects and programs to help them better understand Aboriginal culture in the Hunter region past and present, and to see how they could incorporate this knowledge into their everyday Landcare operations.

By hosting workshops and field days, they found that it would provide them with practical knowledge and skills about places and artefacts of significance that may be find on Landcare sites or farm property. Topics such as how to recognise artefacts such as stone tools by participating in a stone napping activity; what to do if we do find an artefact such as a scar tree, stone tools, middens, etc; the legislation around places and objects of cultural significance were covered with all participants helping grow local knowledge about the significance.

“It was important for us to share, learn, and understand our Aboriginal cultural heritage within the Landcare community, and these workshop provided a way to get started. We had 30 participants in our first workshop field day.”

“Landcarers and farmers that we work with share a genuine interest and passion in caring for our land, rivers, sea and sky, caring for country, so already we have a shared bond with our local Aboriginal community,” says HRLN representative.

The workshop is funded under the “Working Together” Program which aims to increase opportunities to consciously develop stronger connections and partnerships between Landcare groups and Aboriginal Communities.

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.

This story was originally published as a report via the NSW Landcare Program Website – NSW Landcare Gateway. To view click here

Working together the key to the future of Landcare

From the northern rainforests of Gumbaynggirr Country to the open plains and rocky ranges of the Wiljali, stretching across the largest Country in NSW, the Wiradjuri, and up to the alpine landscapes of the Maneroo, the original Landcarers have been working with Country and on country for millennia.

Across NSW, traditional and new Landcarers have been coming together to celebrate, heal and work on local landscapes through funding from the NSW Landcare Program’s Working Together Program.

In the Upper Snowy Landcare region and Maneroo Country, the local Landcare community have been busy building stronger connections with the local Aboriginal community networks.

“We recently held a two-day on-country theory and show and tell workshop which helped bring adults and children together and aimed to develop an understanding of Maneroo country, its people, practices, perspectives, special sites and artefacts,” said Upper Snowy Landcare Network Local Landcare Coordinator, Lauren Van Dyke.

Upper Snowy Landcare Network workshop

“The Upper Snowy Landcare Network recently commenced a lease on a significant part of the Gegezerick Travelling Stock Reserve – a grassy woodland overlooking the Monaro Plains and the little village of Berridale. While we were aware of the Aboriginal significance of this place (with anecdotal stories) we were informed during this workshop of its purpose as a traditional training ground.”

“Led by Aboriginal cultural heritage expert’s Aboriginal elders, Glen Morris, Chris (Snappy) Griffiths and Graham Moore, the knowledge that the Gegegedzerick Hill being a training ground for young indigenous people was welcome news indeed. Especially as on the second day we had more than 40 school children join in from the Trakz Program – an established program consisting of activities and experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Cooma to learn about cultural beliefs and practices on Country.

“The event helped us all begin to understand the land from an Aboriginal perspective and the key information gathered will assist in the future management of the Landcare site. Opportunities to build and strengthen the connection with local people and the local landscape is at the core of what ‘Landcare’ is”, Lauren said.

Upper Snowy Region ‘Working Together’ Workshop

Up in Gumbaynggirr country, North Coast Regional Landcare Network held a three-day event that included developing and exploring cultural knowledge within the region, and ways to move forward in line with the work Traditional Custodians have been undertaking for generations.

North Coast Regional Landcare Coordinator Josh Keating said the event and outcomes were a chance to identify opportunities to initiate and strengthen ties between the local Landcare community and Aboriginal groups and organisations.

North Coast Regional Landcare Network RCoP participants viewing coastal fish traps

“Our event was part of our annual Regional Gathering and we weaved together the theme of Working Together: past, present future throughout the event. It was a opportunity to focus on what work has been done in the past between Landcare groups and Aboriginal communities, what is currently being jointly delivered and what we would like to do in the future.

“It was great to see that there is a common goal by participants across the region to embrace the opportunity to learn how we can better work with Aboriginal communities in our local areas. Additionally, at a regional scale, to learn about people’s connection to their country and take those learnings away and inform how we can work with local Aboriginal groups in our area.

“The North Coast Region follows Landcare NSW’s recognition that Aboriginal communities are the original Landcarers and we are all focused on caring for the land, environment and communities in our region and building a sustainable approach to the future.

“One of our strongest outcomes was the acknowledgement that our work will be strengthened with an application for funding put forward for a Regional Aboriginal Engagement Officer who will help local networks and groups connect with relevant groups, organisations or Traditional Owners.

“Both communities have a great opportunity to engage with one another and share one another’s knowledge and experience for mutual learning. The things that Landcare can offer to Aboriginal communities include capacity building and increasing knowledge of technical skills regarding environmental management. Whereas Aboriginal groups can provide cultural knowledge and locally specific information that helps Landcarers understand how they can better manage their land. This will strengthen all our works in supporting our local environment and communities.

“This is one of the most valuable things about community connection; it is about getting people together to connect and seeing how we can evolve from there,” Josh said.

NSW Landcare Program Community Aboriginal Engagement Officer, Craig Aspinall, said the 2021 theme of ‘Healing Country’ and the wider theme of seeking greater protections for our lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage from harm, highlights how Landcare and Aboriginal community organisations have a joint purpose and can grow together to care for country and the communities that live on the land and waters.

“Across the state NSW Landcare groups and community organisations have been working with Aboriginal community organisations with the shared objective to build knowledge and understanding and work for the betterment of our environment. The Working Together Program is just one way Landcare NSW is supporting and connecting with traditional landholders.

“Continuing to grow together through cultural and environmental understanding will ensure that future generations will have the knowledge and understanding of the connection between the health of our environment and our communities and how it is all intertwined,” Craig said.

 

This initiative is made possible by the NSW Landcare Program.
A collaboration between the Local Land Services and Landcare NSW Inc. supported by the NSW Government.

NSW Landcare Program Gathering, Dubbo 2021

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.

LANDCARE ACKNOWLEDGES LOCAL LAND SERVICES CHAIR RICHARD BULL

Landcare NSW has acknowledged the invaluable contribution retiring NSW Local Land Services Board Chair Richard Bull made to sustainable agriculture and the state’s natural resources sector during his eight years with the organisation. 

Rick became Chair of the Board of Local Land Services (LLS) in 2017 and worked alongside Landcare NSW former Chair Rob Dulhunty and then current Chair Steph Cameron during a period of major expansion and development for Landcare. 

Landcare NSW Chair, Stephanie Cameron thanked Rick for the critical role he has played during his time as Chair of LLS. 

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as Chair of Landcare NSW has been to work alongside Richard Bull to build a harmonious and productive relationship between LLS and Landcare for the benefit of landholders, industry and the Landcare community. Rick brought experience, intelligence and wisdom to every interaction. I valued his wise counsel and guidance and the quiet way he steered a path through sometimes difficult waters to reach a resolution.   

“Rick saw the potential of harnessing the passion and skills of the Landcare community. Under his leadership, we saw a period of renewal, collaboration, trust and joint planning which brought government and the Landcare community together, Ms Cameron said. 

Landcarers across NSW will continue to benefit from the thriving partnership between LLS and Landcare NSW, after the two organisations refreshed and re-signed their Memorandum of Understanding in January earlier this year. 

Rick played a critical role in Co-Chairing the Joint Management Committee that oversees the four-year, $22.4 million NSW Landcare Program which continues to underpin the partnership  

A sheep producer at Holbrook and agricultural consultant, Rick has lived his entire life on the land and has been committed to advancing the state’s agricultural sector throughout his career. He was the inaugural Chair of the Murray LLS Board from 2013. 

He was very familiar with Landcare from his contacts in the Murray region and brought that understanding to the state level,” said Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit. 

He had a genuine commitment to support the growth and development of Landcare.  He understood the importance of the relationship between Government and Landcare at all levels. 

Rick attended every Landcare Council meeting and would listen carefully to each of the reports provided by Councillors. This ensured he got information directly from grassroots representatives. He took time out of his busy schedule to attend Landcare conferences and events where he spent time with the volunteer committee members, Landcare coordinators and volunteers. There is nothing he liked better than getting out of the office and out into the field to talk to people on the ground. 

 The esteem in which Rick is held by the Landcare community is enormous.  We thank him for his contribution and hope he will continue to play a role in our community,” said Dr Zammit.