It is National Landcare Week Monday 7 – Sunday 13 August and we inspired by the incredible impact this movement has across West Gippsland.
“This year’s theme of ‘be inspired, be empowered, be a landcarer’ sits perfectly with us as we are proud to support and empower four Landcare networks across West Gippsland and their inspired members,” said West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority CEO Martin Fuller.
“There are currently 1,595 Landcare members in West Gippsland who last year contributed 18,930 volunteer on ground hours, undertook 2,297 hectares of weed control and revegetated 194 hectares to improve waterways and habitat.”
“The Landcare community does so much more than on ground works, they are at the forefront of bringing in new ways of thinking and of tackling emerging issues like climate change.”
Landcarers are working across projects in a wide range of roles across the region – so we put on our boots to meet some and hear their stories.
Jillian Staton is South Gippsland Landcare Network Board Chairperson and on the Board of Tarwin Landcare Group being involved in Landcare for over 10 years.
“Being a Landcarer gives you the tools, motivation and opportunities to actually do something in your own backyard. It’s a great antidote to all the negative publicity we receive every day about the state of our planet. ”
“I get a huge buzz when we organise an event or a project that attracts a lot of participants and seeing and hearing the ‘lightbulb moments’ – when people are spurred into taking action. Also, interacting with our staff. I love their ideas and passion.”
Lisa Wangman spent 20 years as a staff member at Bass Coast Landcare Network before becoming a volunteer two years ago. She is the Education, Training and Communications Manager and facilitates for Phillip Island Landcare Group.
“I always wanted to get involved with Landcare as there is so much that can be done on private land to restore environments while still boosting productivity, and I wanted to help encourage more landholders and community members to get involved.”
“The social connection is a huge benefit and being able to make a difference in people’s lives by increasing their skills and social network while restoring the local landscapes is very rewarding.”
“I love the connections I get to make with people on ground in Landcare, the grass roots nature of working to help with what people want and need upwards, instead of top-down imposed management. This way we can make real and lasting change that is not only adopted by communities but owned, embraced, and shared by them, that then encourages more people to get involved.”
Brian Burleigh has volunteered with Cowwarr Landcare Group for 15 years.
“Landcare is important to me because it promotes the native environment and eliminates idle time,” said Brian.
His favourite project so far has been revegetation works at Swing Bridge Reserve and he believes leading by example is the best way to encourage others to join Landcare.”
Beth Ripper from Avon Landcare and Lakes Entrance Community Landcare first heard about Landcare when she participated in a local leadership program at Strathfield in the mid-nineties.
“The program was focused on protecting the endangered Gippsland Plains Grassy Woodlands and we helped put together a submission for funding a project on the Blackall Creek on the Western edge of Stratford – we called it Blackall Dreaming. This became a project of the Avon Landcare Group.”
“I’m now President of Avon Landcare and Lakes Entrance Community Landcare groups and a board member of the Maffra and Districts Landcare Network and Eastern Gippsland director on the Board of Landcare Victoria Inc. I am one of three Victorian Reps on the National Landcare Network Members Council.”
“Landcare is important to me because it is a community driven organisation that is full of people with amazing knowledge and skills. It provides opportunities for ordinary people to be active in their local communities, particularly in local action to help reverse the impacts climate change. Being outside and working with others is an undervalued health benefit.”
“The best thing about being involved with Landcare is seeing the impact of our work over time. Turning Blackall Creek from a weed infested and eroded steam into a fabulous community and environmental asset is a real highlight. Landscape wide change is awe inspiring!”
Landcare Week is an annual celebration of Landcare to acknowledge the Australians who are actively restoring enhancing and protecting the natural environment in their community.