The Friends and Residents of Goulburn Swamplands Landcare (FROGS) joined over 60 volunteer Bushcarers and Landcarers from the Southern Highlands for a Landcare Week champions tour on September 6.
The Landcare Tour was the first in a series of regional events aimed at developing a skilled and capable Landcare community in the South East Local Land Services region with funding through the National Landcare Programme.
Landcare co-ordinator for Goulburn Mary Bonet said Landcare and Bushcare volunteers and staff were provided the opportunity to visit bushland, creek and wetland rehabilitation sites in the Wingecarribee region to see where other groups are working and hear about their challenges and achievements.
“There was also plenty of time for sharing stories of their environmental successes and failures between the groups over a well catered morning tea and lunch,” Ms Bonet said.
“Everyone enjoyed the beautiful Stone Quarry Walk alongside Wingecarribbee River at Berrima and were really impressed with the wonderful revegetation achieved by Berrima Bushcare Group in just eight years.”
President of FROGS landcare Ray Shiel addressed the group
“It is fantastic to see what this group as been able to achieve in such a short time and how what you have done here tcan help inspire other groups to see what is possible,” he said.
The tour included a visit to the Wingecarribee Community Nursery where Team leader from WSC’s Bushcare team Jennifer Slattery outlined development of the nursery over the past 10 years and the group saw first hand some of the thousands of local provenance plants that are grown in the nursery for rehabilitation projects around the various Bushcare sites of the Southern Highlands.
At the nursery at Moss Vale presentations were made on the Southern Highlands Koala Project and Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Conservation Partnership Program which benefit from the very enviable Wingecarribee Shire Councils Environment Levy.
“Joe Stammers presentation on the Southern Highlands Koala Project was a great inclusion to the day,” Ms Bonet said.
“It was very interesting to hear how the high community involvement in the project, particularly in reporting sightings has led to a big increase in known numbers and locations across Southern Highlands and potential for the area to be the most important Koala region in inland NSW.
“There was also a great presentation from Bushlands Project officer for Wingecarribee Shire Councils Conservation Partnerships Program Karen Guymer.
“She provided an overview of the high level of biodiversity found in the Wingecarribee shire and the efforts to care for our native plants and animals on both public and private land through programs including the Bushcare program, Habitat for Wildlife, Land for Wildlife and the Private Land Conservation program.
The Goulburn Landcare crew were very impressed to hear about the Wingecarribbee Shire Councils Environment Levy.
“It is incredible to hear how this small investment from the community, around $48 per year, can bring so many environmental benefits and leverage so much additional funding and volunteer support. It is a multiplication of benefits back to the community if only we could get something like that through our council.” Mr Shiel said.
The day finished with a tour of the Whites Creek rehabilitation project with Moss Vale Landcare Group.
The touring group saw the results of these volunteers and councils’ efforts in reviving the main waterway - Whites Creek, flowing through Moss Vale, over the past 17 years.
The next event will be the Landcare champions awards presentation in Goulburn on November 29 and a bus tour will travel to Goulburn from Moss Vale to visit the environmental rehabilitation work being undertaken by the ‘Friends of Goulburn Swamps’ group at the old Goulburn Brickworks and other Bushcare sites around Goulburn.