Local Member Musters

The smart way to disguise a 'meeting'

Local Member Musters

The smart way to disguise a 'meeting'

Making a Difference -


The issue

Southern New England Landcare had been running quarterly meetings of representatives from it's member groups since 1993. In recent years, attendance had waned - people were busy, member groups had lost momentum and the content of meetings had become more bureaucratic.

We needed a way to re-invigorate meetings, so groups could once again reap the benefits of sharing their ideas, networking and learning new skills.

The solution

A brainstorming session among stakeholders came up with a plan to keep the quarterly timing, but change the way meetings were run, and their name. We wanted to attract members and friends to a new location around a new topic of interest each time to create interest and broader attendance. And we wanted to utilise local 'champions'.

We attracted funding from the National Landcare Program Community Grants through Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and New England North West Landcare Network Chairs Inc. Guest speakers would be remunerated, and supper would be a feature at the closure of each muster, to encourage people to stay a while and network.

The impact

We began at Guyra in February with an on-farm look at the innovative Soilkee Rennovator. We also announced the new John Winter-Irving Bequest recipient and heard a report from the last recipient. In May at Walcha, we featured Art in the Landscape with several guest speakers and a 'world cafe' workshop. In August at Armidale, we focussed on Farm Based Tourism with guest speakers and a question and answer forum. And at Uralla in November, we plan to hold a Renewable Energy Forum to enable our communities to gain a better understanding of wind farm developments emerging in our region.

The member musters have been well-received with increasing levels of participation each time and positive feedback about all aspects of the events. We attracted new members, and new partners as a result.


  • Using social media and traditional methods was the best strategy for promotion.
  • Providing quality refreshments is essential for good networking.
  • Keeping this style of event to 2 hours in the evening worked best.

Key facts

  • Guest speakers were paid and catering was provided for participants.
  • Participation increased with each muster, resulting in new members and new partners.

Project Partners