Bellingen Riverwatch calls for water bug and tree planting volunteers

Two Bellingen Riverwatch volunteers learning about planting trees.

INSPIRED by World Turtle Day on Tuesday 23 May, Bellingen Riverwatch is offering a unique series of events that provide an opportunity to help participants connect with the natural environment, the Bellinger River and the ecosystems that rely on it.

The Bellinger River is home to the critically endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle, which is endemic to a 60-70 kilometre stretch of the Bellinger River and a small area of the Kalang River.

Volunteers keen to participate in either or all of the workshops are encouraged to register through OzGREEN’s website.

“(The event will) build your knowledge and support the health of the river,” Bellingen Riverwatch Co-Coordinator Sam Daykin told News Of The Area.

Taking place on Wednesday 17 and Sunday 21 May is the Riverbank Restoration Program.

These involve volunteering to help plant trees and maintain riverbank sites through a series of workshops taking place over the next three years.

“These two on-site workshops are a perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to take action to protect our rivers and learn more about river restoration, weed identification, or weed removal techniques,” said Sam.

Bellingen Riverwatch Co-Coordinator Kaleb Ross said, “We’re excited to be launching our Riverbank Restoration Program this month.

“It’s a great way for people to get involved in protecting the natural environment and to make a real difference in the community.”

The workshops will be run by three very knowledgeable facilitators: Chris Ormond from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and its Saving our Species Program, Justine Elder from Bellingen Shire Council and Andrew Yager from Bellinger Landcare.

“The workshops are a perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to take physical action to help our rivers,” said Sam.

They are also a great opportunity for landholders to learn more about river restoration, weed identification or weed removal techniques.

Taking place on Friday 26 May, the Bellingen Riverwatch Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Program (Macro Muster) is the largest macroinvertebrate monitoring program in Australia.

Bellingen Riverwatch Volunteers, partners and community members come together to test water bugs at six sites across the catchment.

A wildly popular event in the past, Bellingen Riverwatch anticipates another good turnout this year.

“This event is an eye-opening experience where you can see the abundance of life and diversity that exists in our rivers at the macro scale,” said Sam.

“It’s connective, meditative and fun all at once.

“It’s an amazing chance to learn about the river’s ecology and to contribute to our understanding of how we can protect it for future generations.

“By engaging with these programs, you can become a citizen scientist and make a meaningful contribution to the health of our rivers.

“Science is not just for scientists,” he said, “it’s for everyone who cares about our environment and wants to make a positive impact.”

To find out more about these opportunities and how you can get involved, visit or contact Sam at 0447 949 259 or

The workshops are available to anyone aged eight and up (under 18s are to be supervised by an adult).

These activities are brought to the community through support by Healthy North Coast, NSW Department of Planning and Environment and its Saving our Species program, the Bellingen Shire Council and Vendart Diagnostics and made possible by supporting partners, Bellingen Landcare EnviroComm Connections and OzGREEN


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