Landcare celebrates volunteers’ transformative work

Michael Kennedy, North Coast Regional Landcare Network Aboriginal Landcare Officer.

 

LOCAL Landcare held its Annual Awards and Volunteer Appreciation presentations at its Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare (CHRL) Nursery in Woolgoolga.

Officiated by Barry Powells, President CHRL and Mel Craig, Landcare coordinator, fifty-plus members from all over the region cheered the popular recipients of each award.

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Fiona Kealy, CHRL Community Nursery is the peer-nominated winner of the Eileen Moody Memorial Award for outstanding efforts of an individual Landcarer.

Fiona has created a stand-out computer record keeping system that is a valuable addition to the ongoing improvement of the nursery.

Also nominated for this award was Tim Morrison, a volunteer from Friends of Coffs Creek and Jean Meiklejohn from Jetty Dunecare.

Both members work many hours dedicating themselves to the jobs that need to be done from hand-weeding, spraying and transporting rubbish (Tim) to working across different sites that need help and becoming an ambassador for the works of Landcare (Jean).

The peer-nominated Dee Wallace Perpetual Award for Excellence by a Landcare Group was won by Fuller Street Dunecare.

Recognised for their continued motivation, focus and commitment to transforming their area from a weed-infested paddock with low resilience to a thriving natural area that now supports a variety of endemic species, this group works well liaising with NPWS and contractors to get the job done with the best overall impact.

Runners-up were Linden Lagoon in the Toormina area and Sawtell Dunecare.

Linden Lagoon has made a significant positive impact on a very degraded site in a very short period of time, removing entrenched weeds and piles of litter, improving the water quality and re-establishing biodiversity and habitat.

Sawtell Dunecare is recognised for its ongoing dedication to the rehabilitation of their local coastline now including Boambee Headland.

Over many years they have achieved successes with the removal of many weeds.

They are a friendly group keen to share knowledge to support and help upskill other members.

CHRL also announced two Life Memberships to Jane Ireland and Desnee McCosker, both dedicated and fervent Landcarers over almost forty years each, news which again received enthusiastic applause.

“Desnee joined Jetty Dunecare in 1998 and has been intimately involved with the growth and development of our first Landcare site actually before the formation of CHRL,” said Barry.

“She was the first Landcare coordinator and was involved in the establishment of our nursery here in Woolgoolga.

“Denee helped with the introduction of the first Landcare awards with Eileen Moody and was successful with two Coast Care grants to start cleaning up The Jetty area which was once an industrial site.

“She is part of the JDC group liaising with the Jetty Revitalisation Plan.”

Jane Ireland’s involvement with the Landcare movement also goes back to the start of JDC, working with Eileen Moody and Edwin Laidley to ensure the local area had a group of people concerned about their local environment.

“Jane has worked tirelessly to secure many grants while also working on-ground to ensure that the funding was spent according to plan,” said Barry.

“She was very concerned about many aboriginal families living in poor conditions at the northern end of The Jetty area and sourced funding to help improve their living conditions.

“Perhaps her biggest idea was to extend the work of JDC all the way down Boambee Beach – now being slowly realised.

“Another long-term vision was to use prisoners from Grafton jail to do environmental work with Landcare to clean up the whole of the coastline to the border.”

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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