Landcare celebrates its champions- and why every kid needs a swamp

First published in Goulburn Post 13/12/2017- "A Huge Landcare celebration in Goulburn" Over 100 Landcarers from around the Wingecarribee, Upper Lachlan and Goulburn/Mulwaree region gathered to celebrate the Landcare champions of the South East region with a tour and lunch in Goulburn on Wednesday November 29.

The event kicked off with an early start at the Historic Waterworks with Deputy chair of Pejar Local Aboriginal Land Council Alfie Walker and giving an acknowledgement of country and relaying the importance of the Goulburn region to Aboriginal communities, particular the significance of the two rivers Wollondilly and Mulwaree and the story of Gurangatch and Mirrigan.

Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk then, with the support of fellow bushcarers John Reynolds and Ashley Mahoney, led the 100 landcarers on a tour through the West Goulburn Bushland Reserve where the group has been working to rehabilitate the significant remnant bushland since 2013. 

The next stop on the tour was to the award winning Goulburn Wetlands led by FROGS president Ray Shiels.

After the tour an Awards Ceremony and lunch took place in the Attic restaurant at the Astor Hotel.

Siwan Lovett from Rivers of Carbon was the emcee for the event and announced the 12 award winners, who received engraved trophies and certificates presented by Cr Kirk and the chair of LachLandcare Emma Thomas. A short video was played on each of the champions.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to recognise the talent, passion, dedication and knowledge of our local Landcare members and community,” Goulburn Landcare coordinator Mary Bonet said. 

Local award winners included Crookwell Grazier and Landcarer – Tom McCormack, a long time Landcare devotee Lynetter Miller from the Tarlo Middlearm Landcare group, The Australian Plants Society- Southern Tablelands Group, Tussock Taming, Feral Fighting Bob Spiller from Gunning Landcare,  The hard working Tarlo Middlearm Landcare group and Gunning Feral Fox groups Jennifer Hefferenan and Lucy Knight. 

Local identity and Roslyn Landcarer Mark Selmes, aka Cranky Koala, was also recognised for his commitment to Landcare and conservation in the region.

“Mark has been recognised for his efforts to further the ideals of Landcare by reaching out to the community and educating kids on the importance of biodiversity and our unique wildlife, and the need to protect the remnants and the mature trees, not just plant seedlings,” Ms Bonet said. 

The crowd were then entertained by guest speaker Sean Dooley, a noted author, conservationist, bird watcher and editor of Australian Birdlife with an address entitled Why Every Kid Needs a Swamp.

This was an entertaining talk about his bird watching obsession and life journey culminating in breaking the Australian bird watching record over 12 months in 2002 and his current role with Birdlife Australia.

“Sean’s talk emaphasised how important local wild spaces are for developing a sense of connection with nature and why we need to continue to foster that love and commitment in future generations, which resonated well with the Landcare community,” Ms Bonet said. 

The event was hosted by LachLandcare Inc on behalf of the Goulburn Landcare Community with funding provided through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme Regional Delivery, which is working towards developing a skilled Landcare community in the South East Local Land Services region.

Link to Goulburn Post Story here (Local Landcarers acknowledged with awards)