Landcare Farming and emerging environmental markets
Environment and Climate Change
Community Partnerships in Action
Landcare Impact
Urban Landcare
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Landcare Farming and Emerging Environmental Markets

Innovation and technology, soil health, climate change adaptation and mitigation, young farmers, connecting farmers to emerging alternative markets

Farmers manage over half of the Australian landscape, and, in order to ensure a better tomorrow, research, innovation and conservation are critical for managing land and water assets. This stream will focus on how agriculture is adapting to an ever-increasing range of challenges including climate change and implementing innovative farming practices to sustainably manage our productive natural assets. It will also identify opportunities in the emerging environmental markets that provide recognition and reward for ecosystem services and other benefits valued by the community. There is an increasing amount of interest by land managers in this rapidly evolving field, but many are unsure how to participate and where to obtain reliable advice. This stream will provide insights, real world data and practical examples of how land managers are participating in environmental markets, lessons learned and options for managing risk.

Dr Alison Southwell, Holbrook Landcare Network (HLN)

Landcare and Farming – Finding Synergism

Holbrook Landcare Network (HLN), based in southern New South Wales, has some of the most productive and progressive landholders in the country, with land prices reaching heights unfathomable a few years ago. Despite this clear need to build a financial return on such valuable land assets, Holbrook also has one of the most active Landcare groups in the country and, over the past 32 years, has contributed to increased vegetation cover in some sub-catchments by more than 10%.

So, how has the Holbrook region managed to achieve this synergy between environment and farming?

This presentation will discuss how it is possible to be both productive and environmentally responsible and the opportunities this presents. The rise of corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) responsibilities and the onset of environmental service payments, whether it be for biodiversity or carbon is likely to have a transformative impact on farm asset management and landscape health.

Landcare needs to prepare for this transition and redefine its role in this process. Landcare’s accumulated knowledge and experience in revegetation, and provision of trusted, independent, impartial advice on revegetation and vegetation management will be vital as will Landcare’s ability to bring all farmers and farming styles on the journey with us.

Ella Maesepp, Katanning Landcare

Photo of Ella Maesepp

Saline Bush Foods – Gourmet Food Helping Restore Degraded Saline Land

The Saline Bush Foods Project (2018-2022) developed a full paddock-to-plate supply chain utilising plants that can be grown with degraded saline land and water, creating environmental and economic benefits for salt affected farming areas.

This presentation will outline how the project successfully trialled three growing systems – Wild Harvest, Plantation and Shadehouse – growing four species of saline foods, developing new harvesting machines, building a packing shed and landing our produce into gourmet food markets across Australia. Soil scientists monitored environmental changes, and a manual and training course were delivered to support other growers with salt-affected land to enter the market.

It will also explore how the project brought together a diverse team – Landcare, a host farming enterprise, a gourmet food marketer, a horticulturalist, an engineering company, a social enterprise, TAFE, Aboriginal cultural educators and scientists – to create a holistic approach to improving saline degraded land through producing niche gourmet food.

Ethan Gordon, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney

Transforming Landscapes and Mindscapes through Regenerative Agriculture

Agriculture occupies 38% of the planet’s terrestrial surface, using 70% of freshwater resources. Its modern practice is dominated by an industrial/productivity paradigm, which has contributed to the simplification and degradation of human and ecological systems. As such, agricultural transformation is essential for creating more sustainable food systems and protecting landscapes.

A prominent alternative to industrial/productivity agriculture is regenerative agriculture. This presentation will explore regenerative agriculture and its potential to generate the changes required to shift industrial/productivity agriculture and prevent the collapse of ecosystems.

The presentation will outline six characteristics of regenerative agriculture and how they can facilitate transformation in farming landscapes and mindscapes to deal with converging crises, such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Framed as a shared storyline, it also aims to show the capacity of regenerative agriculture to unite diverse groups – farmers, ecologists, conservationists etc. – for collective learning.

Freya Spencer, the Community, Carbon and Conservation project

Freya Spencer

Community, Carbon and Conservation

The Community, Carbon and Conservation project focuses on sequestration through biodiverse native plantings, with an emphasis on grassroots collaboration. Working with a group of progressive farmers, the project is currently underway restoring 550ha of marginal land through biodiverse carbon plantings with ecological restoration leader, Threshold Environmental. The project also encompasses 55km of protective fencing for the large-scale restoration sites, delivered by Gillamii and North Stirlings Pallinup Natural Resources (NSPNR), funded by the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

Marginal land is land that traditionally has little or no agricultural value, however, with projects such as this one, marginal land can now offer farmers a new financial opportunity through diversified income, while also addressing on-farm environmental and production issues such as salinity, wind erosion and soil health.

In addition to outlining the development of the Community, Carbon and Conservation project from the grassroots, the presentation will also explore the complexity involved and the need for community involvement in both the development and establishment phase of the project. Each farmer has a different motivation, succession plan and piece in the landscape which cannot be overlooked and needs careful consideration.

The presentation will also explore the need for increased industry education and awareness in regional communities. Competition among carbon service providers is strong, which means landholders have a range of options available to consider. Understanding the drivers of demand, limitations on supply and the associated risk is as important when making carbon farming decisions as it is within grain and livestock markets.

James Kerr, Buckleboo Station, Paroo Pastoral Company

Building Drought Resilience in a Low Rainfall Environment

In 2020, after three years of severe drought and heavily impacted productivity at Buckleboo Station, Paroo Pastoral commissioned the design of a detailed five-year Ecologically Sustainable Rangelands Management (ESRM) Environment Plan.

The ESRM Environment Plan focusses on rangeland restoration through regenerative grazing practices, increased efficiency in livestock production and drought resilience. This plan was commissioned through Contour Environmental and Agricultural Consulting, and involved a rangeland ecologist to build a better understanding of how different actions would impact on the environment.

This presentation will outline the Buckleboo Station ESRM Environment Plan and how the ESRM process improves profitability of rangeland businesses, nature conservation and livestock production systems to develop an ecologically sustainable, profitable and respected pastoral community. It will also explore the ESRM project tool, which follows the principles of regenerative grazing to maximise the ecological rebuilding of biodiversity, water and nutrient cycling and energy efficiency within the local ecosystem. This method of property planning has been used by pastoralists throughout the rangelands with measurable enhancements in rangeland condition.

Kimberley Shrives, Principal Director, Innovation & Adoption – Farm Resilience Division Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Black and white photo of Kimberlet Shrives smiling

Caring for our land through drought resilience

Drought is one of the many challenges faced by farmers today. It affects the productivity and profitability of farms and has significant social and environmental impacts. The changing climate is likely to mean more frequent, longer lasting and intense droughts. While Australian agriculture is in the midst of an exceptional rebound from the last drought, we know that the next one is not a case of if but when.

The impact of climate change on farmers, rural communities and the national economy is likely to worsen unless we continue to adapt. Preparedness and planning are key to building long-term viability in the face of drought.

In this presentation, Kimberley will show how the Australian Government is helping communities, rural leaders and land managers to become more drought resilient through social-based and landscape-based programs.

Liam Southam-Rogers, Applied Horticultural Research

Digital Remote Monitoring to Improve Horticulture’s Environmental Performance

There is a growing desire from farmers and consumers for their produce to be grown using more efficient and environmentally friendly on-farm practices. A key step in achieving this goal is to find new and innovative ways to deliver real-time field data into the hands of farmers, allowing them to the make best decisions for their crop.

In Queensland, there is increasing pressure on the horticultural industry to manage phosphorus and limit inorganic nitrogen loads, which are notoriously difficult to measure and model.

Melinee Leather and Melanie Shannon, Owner Leather Cattle Company, QLD

Empowering Producers for a Better Landcare Future

Australian beef cattle producers are stewards of over 50% of Australia’s land mass and play a critical role in managing land and water assets for future generations. Adapting to ecological challenges in a changing climate is crucial, not only for a sustainable future for farming families and community but vital for future global food security. Adopting new practices can be a daunting for a business, however, especially when navigating complex environmental system decisions, multiple service providers and their competing market claims.

This presentation will explore a grassroots view of opportunities and challenges facing producers when navigating complex environmental system decisions. It will outline solutions and identify emerging environmental markets that provide recognition and reward for ecosystem services, and will show how a ripple can become a tsunami by bringing people together.

Patrick Lucas, University of NSW

Black and white photo of Patrick Lucas

Securing Farmers’ Values in Environmental Markets and Programs

Farmers drive Australia’s land management efforts. Governments, business, and the not-for-profit sectors recognise this and view connecting farmers to emerging environmental markets, such as soil carbon projects, as a key measure to improve on-farm resilience, respond to climate change and restore biodiversity on agricultural land (DAWE 2020).

Given the persistent challenge of engaging farmers in environmental markets and other programs, it appears that appealing solely to economic motivations does not trigger the required action from individuals and governments to improve the condition of Australia’s flora, fauna and ecosystems on agricultural land.

This presentation will outline how environmental markets are often based on assumptions on why farmers conserve nature which doesn’t reflect what they value. This misalignment of values – between what farmers are seeking to protect and what values environmental markets aim to protect – creates a significant barrier to increasing farmer engagement at scale. As such, different approaches to understanding farmers’ decisions to participate in these programs is required.

The presentation will also explore initial findings from an ongoing research project that works with farmers directly to uncover their decision-making for managing biodiversity, addressing a critical gap between environmental market intention and successful implementation.

Sylvia Leighton, Wilyun Pools Farm

Farmers at Land Management Crossroads

In 2022, the carbon industry in Australia is finally offering attractive competitive returns to agricultural land managers to install plantation style carbon plantings. These plantings do not usually contribute to food production resources for the world’s rapidly expanding population.
Australian farmers sit at crossroads unsure which pathway forward best protects Australia’s food security whilst also accounting for the world’s dire environmental situation.

Wilyun Pools Farm, a 1196ha property on the south-coast of WA, recently adopted regenerative agriculture principles. We have engaged in a ‘land-sharing and land sparing’ farm model. We mix both food production and restoring wildlife habitat areas. We have been trying to strike a balance between healthy, cleaner, greener, ethical food production whilst trying to contribute positively to preserve the rich ecological values of the landscape.

Recent changes in Australia’s carbon market offer attractive financial returns for CO2 sequestration. This leaves Wilyun Pools Farm in a dilemma. Do we continue along the ‘land-sharing/land-sparing’ pathway or do we engage entirely in sequestering maximum levels of carbon? Should farmers be left to make this decision alone or is it time for there to be strategic over-view designating areas suitable for; cropping, grazing, carbon, intensive horticulture, irrigation, mining etc? Should Australia rely on commercial industrial markets to find the ‘right’ balance?

Environment and Climate Change

Call to action for all Australians to be on the frontline together with Landcare to reduce the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss

With the impact of climate change, drought and natural disasters like fire and flood, Australia’s landscapes and biodiversity are under immense pressure. Landcarers and communities have also been impacted by COVID-19. In response to these growing challenges, communities and individuals continue to help restore, protect and manage our natural assets. This stream will demonstrate how various Indigenous land and sea managers, Bushcare, Coastcare and other Landcare community groups and farmers are successfully meeting these challenges and providing ideas for more people to take action with Landcare.

Craig Carter and Tim Watts, Upper Mooki Landcare Inc

Craig Carter Tim Watts

Restoring, Protecting and Rehydrating the Upper Mooki Catchment

In 2020, Upper Mooki Landcare Inc (UMLC) members, across 13 properties, managing 28,000 Ha, partnered with North West Local Land Services and Tamworth Regional Landcare, to create and implement an ambitious project to commence the re-hydration of the Upper Mooki Catchment, facilitating drought recovery and a path for sustainable land use in the face of a changing climate.

Increasingly aware that their practices over time have resulted in a decreasing ability to hold water in the landscape, presenting increasing risks to sustainable agriculture and the environment, landholders in the Upper Mooki Landcare Group have worked together with Craig Carter (landholder) and Tim Watts (Local Land Services), who have led the project, providing education and support to landowners in deciding and implementing strategies specific to their land.

Adopting a systemic approach to restoration – combining on-ground works, changes to farming practices and capacity building – the presentation will explore how this innovative project, one of only a few of its kind in Australia, has been able to increase groundcover, re-establish hydrological and ecological functions, rebuild agricultural and environmental productivity, increase drought resistance and resilience, and build an engaged and collaborative community of practice in the process, facilitating a problem-solving approach to achieve sustainable restoration solutions.

Derek Sandow, Northern and Yorke Landscape Board

Marna Banggara – Rewilding the Southern Yorke Peninsula

Impacted significantly by pest species, Southern Yorke Peninsula has lost 80% of ground dwelling mammals since colonisation. Marna Banggara is an ambitious rewilding project that aims to bring back lost species, restore ecological processes, increase the sustainability of remaining biodiversity, and improve livelihoods of local residents.

The principle of rewilding is to bring back native species that play important roles in the functioning of an ecosystem, improving soil dynamics, increasing species diversity, and restoring food chains among other things.

As the presentation will explore, Marna Banggara is a unique rewilding project that is integrated into a working landscape rather than a reserve. Still in its early stages, it promises to apply rewilding principles in a working landscape, where conservation, agriculture, and the community exist side-by-side.

With long-term ambitions for a range of species, the project has initially reintroduced Brush-tailed bettongs (BTB). These critically endangered marsupials are important soil engineers. They use their powerful claws to dig for fungi and a single animal can turn over 2-4 tonnes of soil annually. This improves water-permeability, aerates soil, improves soil fertility, and promotes seed establishment.

The presentation will also address the role of community participation and engaging the agricultural sector; how controlling and reducing the impact of foxes and feral cats has been pivotal to the project’s success; and how, over 20 years, the project aims to reintroduce at least four native species (bettongs, bandicoots, phascogales, and quolls).

Dr Claudia Santori, OceanWatch Australia

Post-Bushfire Mangrove Recovery: Community-led Efforts in the NSW South Coast

Mangroves – plants that live in the intertidal environment – burned extensively in NSW during the 2019-2020 summer bushfires. However, mangrove response and recovery from bushfire damage is a novel topic, both here in Australia and worldwide.

This presentation will explore the Post-Bushfire Mangrove Recovery project, which involved field visits at three locations in the NSW South Coast (Wonboyn, Moruya, Batemans Bay) where mangroves were killed or severely damaged by the 2019-2020 fires.

To build capacity locally to repair this intertidal habitat post-bushfire, OceanWatch Australia worked in collaboration with oyster farmers, researchers, mangrove experts and community members. Volunteers were trained to carry out the established MangroveWatch mangrove monitoring protocol to collect data on mangroves (e.g. transect, photo point, video assessment methods), and through their involvement, the project collected baseline data on the state of local mangroves and their recovery.

In addition to sharing the findings, the presentation will outline how this project has employed a variety of inter-disciplinary approaches and methods, such as drone & GIS mapping for bushfire impact and recovery assessments, the value of citizen scientist training & oyster farmer involvement, and field methods such as transects and camera traps. For the assisted recovery of mangroves, nursery grounds and planted mangrove seedlings have been set up following mangrove experts’ advice, and using the help of local community volunteers. Thanks to trainings and planting sessions, local communities are also now more aware of the importance of mangroves, the threats they face and what they can do to help.

Elizabeth Goodfellow and Gill Hall, Yass Area Network of Landcare Groups

Black and white photo of Gill Hall

Climate Ready Revegetation – Lessons from Implementation in the Yass Area (NSW)

ONLINE SESSION – It’s time to make revegetation climate-ready. The Climate Ready Revegetation (CRR) Project aims to enhance the survival of revegetation in the Yass Area by increasing genetic diversity to help native species adapt to climate change through natural selection over generations. This is based on the understanding that increased genetic diversity is likely to help species adapt to climate change through natural selection over generations.

Undertaken by a small team of predominantly volunteers from across the Yass Area Network Landcare groups, the CRR Project has already achieved significant milestones, including analysis of the future climate tolerance of 80+ species; working with the nursery managers of the 4 Landcare Nurseries in the Yass Area Network to refine and standardise nursery practices and adopt use of ‘admix’ seed for the majority of plants grown in the Landcare nurseries.

In addition to looking at the future climate-tolerance of species, seed sourcing, and the design and implementation of a trial to test the survival of tubestock grown from ‘admixture’ seed, the presentation will explore lessons learned along the way so as to inspire other organisations to incorporate climate-readiness into revegetation projects to enhance survival prospects as our climate changes.

Georgie Custance, Threatened Species Conservancy

Georgie Custance smiling

Rare Butterflies Hold Hope for the Future of Far East Gippsland

During the second anniversary of the 2019/20 fires, over 50 ecologists and community members took to the recovering forests in Far East Gippsland to seek out the seven most threatened species of butterflies in the region, and along the way, undertake the largest butterfly survey in East Gippsland for 30 years.

As many threatened butterfly species have very localised ranges and unique habitat requirements such as specific host plants and ant associations, it is likely that the fires will have severely impacted the seven threatened butterfly species that this project focuses on. The severity of these impacts can be very hard to assess as information on species distribution is limited and there are rarely adequate monitoring programs for butterflies. Without gathering baseline data and running scientifically rigorous monitoring programs these species will slide into extinction unnoticed.

As the presentation will explore, these seven butterfly species have such specific requirements that landscape scale actions are not going to prevent their local extinction. This project has therefore undertaken on-ground threat assessments and surveys to establish the extent of population loss, provide a baseline for ongoing monitoring and provide advice on the recovery of seven threatened butterflies.

Through an intensive community engagement and volunteer program the project has trained over 50 individuals in butterfly identification and survey methods. This represents a new cohort of expertly placed conservation-minded people who can continue to monitor the butterflies as the landscape begins to recover.

Luke Peel, The Mulloon Institute

The Mulloon Rehydration Initiative (MRI) – Building Resilience, Regenerating Biodiversity

The Mulloon Institute (TMI) rehydrates and restores landscapes to create healthy ecosystems which are full of biodiverse habitat, more resilient to climatic extremes and ensuring food and water security. Scientific monitoring of flora and fauna indicate the on-ground actions of TMI and landholders working together are generating significant ecological results.

The presentation will explore how the Mulloon Rehydration Initiative (MRI) in NSW’s Southern Tablelands is rebuilding catchment-scale ecosystem function and resilience by restoring hydrological processes in waterways and associated floodplains.

Restoring hydrological processes in the catchment helps regenerate the waterways, riparian zones, floodplains, and wetlands that support critical biodiversity corridors and habitat for aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna. Increased water storage in the broader landscape supports plants and animals for both environmental outcomes and farm productivity, especially when combined with management actions that incorporate a landscape function or integrated systems approach.

Since launching, the MRI rollout has progressively improved the creek’s water levels and quality allowing native flora and fauna to flourish during the extreme 2017–2020 drought. The project has also improved communication and knowledge sharing between landholders, who actively help with fencing the creek, volunteer planting days, scientific monitoring and allowing various Landcare groups to visit, learn and see the positive effects of rehydrating waterways and associated floodplains and wetlands to significantly improve biodiversity and water quantity and quality for immediate and downstream users.

Dr Mary Retallack, Retallack Viticulture Pty Ltd

EcoVineyards Are Uniting Project Partners to Grow Resilience and Functional Biodiversity in Production Systems

ONLINE SESSION – The National Landcare funded EcoVineyards project is garnering international acclaim and helping to transform the ecological production practices of vineyard owners across Australia. Forty-three demonstration sites have been established in nine major wine regions across South Australia, incorporating native insectary plants in collaboration with more than 70 partnering organisations – including government, industry, and regional community groups – who are working collaboratively towards a common goal of growing resilience and future proofing production systems.

Native plants provide a range of ecosystem services including habitat for insect predators and the subsequent biocontrol of insect pests, weed suppression, erosion control, aesthetics, nutrient cycling, moisture retention, enhanced soil organic carbon and biological activity.

Through the native insectary demonstration sites, growers are shown how to establish, maintain and monitor native plants for the presence of predatory arthropods, insectivorous/predatory birds, and microbats, and tailored to each region. Educational materials are being used to capture learnings and accelerate practice change adoption, including the communication of findings via social media @EcoVineyards.

In this presentation, delegates will learn more about a suite of native insectary plants that grow resilience and enhance functional biodiversity in production systems, and how the EcoVineyards project is generating multiple, measurable and tangible benefits including biodiversity enhancement, native vegetation cover, biological control of grapevine pests, improved soil health, habitat for endangered birds, microbats and reptiles and improved landscape aesthetics.

Peter Dixon, Australian Association of Bush Regenerators

Bush Regeneration in a Changing Climate – From Resilience to Response

As the last few years have shown us, we need to plan for sequential extreme weather events and natural disasters impacting our restoration projects. While risk management in project planning will often consider fire, flood and drought, the identified response is often little more than “start again”.

With the likelihood of these types of impacts occurring more often under climate change scenarios, the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators believes there is a need to identify and implement project methodologies that improve the resilience of restoration sites to episodic damage and improve the capacity for post event rapid response to not only recover project sites and prevent further degradation, but to use any opportunities that these events might present.

With the climate projected to become more variable and more extreme, the presentation will explore how – through integration of bush regeneration/assisted natural regeneration methodologies into projects – sites could become more resilient to flood, fire and drought impacts, and discuss opportunities to collect and share data and information on post disaster project impacts and site recovery to help individuals, groups and organisations better adaptively manage their sites.

The presentation will also touch on the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators “First Aid for Burned Bushland” program (recent winner of the Australian Government’s Partnerships for Landcare Award in NSW) and explore how lessons learnt from the program could be applied to improving the recovery of sites after a range of climate events.

Andrea Spencer-Cooke, Vice-President, United Nations Association of Australia (NSW)

Shaping the Future of Landcare: UN Goals and Priorities for Nature and Climate

2022 is a significant milestone year for nature and climate. It marks the halfway point of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda, the global community’s ambitious, shared roadmap for sustainable development. This means we have just seven years to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of which Australia is a signatory. Yet we remain off-track on many important environmental indicators – from carbon to deforestation.

This presentation will address why doubling down on the local action and initiatives for which the Landcare movement is renowned – and finding new ways to partner to roll out proven solutions at speed and scale – is key to keeping our collective SDG ambitions alive in this ‘Decade of Action.’

Three major 2022 UN events in particular – the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA); the UN Conference on Biodiversity in Kunming, China; and Stockholm+50: ‘A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity – look set to shape and guide on-the-ground Landcare efforts out to 2030 and beyond, with partnerships for local action at the heart.

These recent UN frameworks and agreements represent a major step forward for collective action on nature-based solutions, biodiversity and action on climate change and pollution. Aligning our local actions to deliver on these frameworks helps ensure they are both impactful and relevant.

Shalan Scholfield, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Black and white photo of Shalan Scholfield smiling

Environmental Biosecurity – Working Together to Protect What We Love

Invasive pests, weeds and diseases are one of the biggest threats to the health of Australia’s environment. Thanks to our biosecurity system, we are lucky to be free of some of the world’s worst. If these exotic species became established, they would cause significant damage to our environment including our unique native plants, animals and First Nations heritage.

The presentation will explore how surveillance is an important part of the biosecurity system. It helps us detect new pests, weeds and diseases early and understand how existing ones spread. Active or specific-surveillance activities are undertaken regularly by biosecurity staff across the country following robust procedures. To find something that isn’t meant to be there, we must be actively looking. In the environment, this is a monumental challenge when you consider Australia’s land-area exceeds a whopping 7.6 million square kilometres.

As the presentation will address, there are thousands of actively engaged Landcare members across Australia working within communities to improve environmental and agricultural outcomes. These members can also be the eyes and ears protecting Australia’s biosecurity through general surveillance.

In February 2022 the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) released ‘Guidelines for General Surveillance Programs’. The presentation will outline how the project and guidelines, along with the Exotic Environmental Pest List (EEPL), are examples of some of the new tools at our disposal to strengthen environmental biosecurity and protect our biodiversity, primary industries and way of life through individual action and effective community surveillance.

Community Partnerships in Action

Building community capacity and resilience, communication and storytelling, volunteering, partnerships, building and sharing knowledge

Community participation is at the heart of Landcare. This stream will demonstrate the achievements and value of investing in individual community groups and successful Landcare partnerships. The stream will also explore how we can enhance engagement with rural communities, support the sharing of collaboration and knowledge, and help breakdown the disconnect that exists between the city and the bush.

Aunty Carol Pettersen OAM and Ben Beeton, Gondwana Link Associates

The Genestreams Songlines Sculptures Tourism Trails

ONLINE SESSION – The purpose of the Genestreams Songlines Sculptures is to participate in the growing conservation initiative referred to as two-way Science which connects indigenous cultural knowledge with western science. These learn-scape environments focus on growing and caring for a green and connected future. 

Featuring Aboriginal and field naturalist artworks, the sculptures are based on an interactive phylogenetic tree educational program that Ben designed to help communities to comprehend and bring natural systems back into balance by visualising where in the geological time scale species within the same ecosystem shared common ancestry; by recounting the recent story of each species; by showing the status of each species; and by planning out recovery programs for natural systems into the future. 

The presentation will outline the project and its vision that a combination of actual and Augmented Reality sculptures will form a national tourism trail, which will increase an awareness of the spiritual relevance of the song lines, ecological restoration, cultural restoration and how, through deep time all species are connected. As Aunty Carol and Ben will address, growing connectivity through community and personal participation, using online and on-country visual literacy tools, can lead to ownership and inspire action to build our preferred future to leave as a legacy for our children.

Ben Bancroft, Landcare Australia, Fabia Pryor, Country Road, Andrew Watson, Kilmarnock Farming PL, Stacey Vogel, Cotton Research and Development Corporation

Black and white photo of Ben Bancroft smilingAndrew WatsonFabia Pryor 2021 National Landcare Conference Speaker Stacey Vogel

Enhancing Biodiversity in the Namoi Catchment and Increasing Biodiversity Literacy Among End Users

In October 2020, Landcare Australia, Country Road and the Australian cotton industry entered into a partnership to create The Biodiversity Project, which aims to create tangible biodiversity enhancements on cotton farms and to encourage more farmers to reap the benefits of biodiversity enhancements on their farms. The project also seeks to educate Country Road customers, the ultimate end users of Australian cotton, about the importance of biodiversity and ways to enhance it.

After one year since its launch, the project enabled 34 hectares of biodiversity enhancement works to be conducted at two locations along the Namoi river with two cotton farming families. These works will benefit threatened species like the koala, large-eared pied bat and barking owl. The project has also generated interest from other cotton farming families in the Namoi catchment to get involved, with two new projects due to be announced in 2022.

In this panel discussion, you will hear from Landcare Australia, Country Road, the Australian cotton industry and a cotton farmer about how by working together in partnership, real gains can be made for biodiversity on ground and real education for consumers can occur to increase biodiversity literacy for end users.

Bob and Sue Durance, North East Albert Landcare

Bob Durance Sue Durance

The Tree With No Name

The discovery of a tree previously unidentified (now listed as Critically Endangered) inspired a Landcare led initiative to restore its habitat through innovative and unique partnerships.

This presentation will outline how the initiative went about developing a ‘big picture’ vision for the area in which the Ormeau Bottle Tree occurred naturally, with a view to restoring its habitat through the restoration of the Pimpama River riparian area and the creation of connective corridors linking ` fragments of green.

By identifying and engaging a range of partners – from private landholders and local community including schools and volunteers, to local industry (quarries), environmental organisations and government bodies – the initiative was able to bring about a number of positive outcomes. In addition to its primary goal: the local area has increased aesthetic amenity and there are now more opportunities for recreational activities. The general wellbeing and positive mental health of the local community has increased too through social networking as a result of the project.

In addition to outlining the importance of positive collaboration and the sharing of knowledge for project success, the presentation will also show how outreach is essential and can lead to actual engagement in on-ground activities.

Gabrielle Stacey & Peter Dalton, Fern Creek Landcare

Creating Intergenerational Partnerships for Landcare Success

In late 2019, Fern Creek Landcare received a $20,000 Commonwealth grant to restore a bushland valley for Squirrel Gliders. The ex-coal mine was badly infested with Bitou and other weeds that suppress the Glider’s food species and decrease biodiversity. The grant also required development of a Community Engagement Program.

This presentation will look at how Fern Creek Landcare was able to successfully implement the project, by creating an effective intergenerational partnership led by two coordinators.

Aged early 80’s and mid 20’s, they will recount how the unlikely duo combined the Landcare experience and institutional knowledge of an older generation with the enthusiasm, marketing knowledge and fresh perspective of a diverse younger generation.

By uniting a broad demographic of talented individuals and utilising their unique skills in digital communication, marketing and environmental science, Fern Creek Landcare was able to grow its pool of volunteers from about 20 people – mostly aged over fifty in 2019 – to a strong multi-generational volunteer team of 400+ by December 2021. The result being, successful completion of the grant in 2020, despite the myriad of setbacks during the pandemic, planting over 1,700 tubestock in four-work sessions in difficult, varied and complex topographical and ecological zones – with a lot of fun along the way.

Fern Creek Landcare is now not only the largest Landcare group in Lake Macquarie Landcare and in the Newcastle – Hunter region, but are also the most generationally varied, and are keen to share how intergenerational partnerships are the key to greater and longer-lasting Landcare success.

Glenn Brooks-MacMillan, Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation

Empowering our Community to Tackle Climate Change: The Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation’s Blue Carbon Project

Recognised by UNESCO as an ideal location for exploring how people can live and work in harmony with the environment, the Western Port Biosphere Reserve is one of only four such places in Australia. To confirm the region’s value in fighting climate change, the Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation is leading and facilitating scientific research in partnership with local government partners and Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab.

The presentation will outline how the initiative is working to establish an evidence-based foundation to inform local community action on climate change across the Western Port Biosphere Reserve – one of Australia’s leading centres for carbon sequestration – and surrounds.

By mapping Blue Carbon initiatives in Port Phillip and Western Port Bays, the initiative aims to prepare detailed business cases for seven local councils to implement into their 2030 carbon neutral obligations. Councils are aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030 but to achieve their objectives, they need to know where, when and how to adopt Blue Carbon ecosystem services.

In addition to addressing how the Western Port Biosphere Foundation has been the catalyst to achieving regional collaboration to help inform future strategies and more sustainable solutions locally, the presentation will explore how the knowledge base emanating from the Carbon project will enhance global awareness and understanding of blue carbon’s contribution to managing climate via the 700-strong UNESCO Biosphere network.

Jenny-Lee Scharnboeck, Take 3 for the Sea Ltd.

Black and white photo of Jenny Lee Sharnboeck

A Collective Collaboration: From First Wave to Ground Swell

In 2021, 71.8 million visitors enjoyed holidays and adventures in beautiful and diverse natural environments around New South Wales. The success of tourism anywhere, however, brings with it the real risk of spoiling our holiday destinations – and the irony is not lost on those whose livelihoods depend on the NSW visitor economy.

This presentation will outline Take 3 for the Sea’s pilot project, First Wave First, which aimed to create and leverage strategic partnerships with NSW National Parks and Wildlife to create awareness and develop a shared vision and strategy for litter prevention in the visitor economy moving forward.

Data was collected to build an understanding of the beliefs and perspectives of the NSW tourism operators regarding litter in the sector. Based on findings from workshops carried out with tourism operators, a litter check in the Royal National park and an industry survey, Take 3 developed the NSW Visitor Economy Litter Prevention Strategy and the Litter Reduction Toolkit for NSW Tourism Operators. Thanks to additional funding and the effort and engagement of tourism operators that took part in the pilot, Take 3 has now launched Ground Swell, a follow-on program empowering NSW tourism businesses to take the lead and develop action plans to address litter and plastic waste in tourism destinations across NSW.

The presentation will share how the project empowered 80 tourism businesses owners and their teams to take the lead in litter prevention and inspire others in the tourism community to act too, helping to make a significant and sustained contribution to achieving the NSW target of a 40% reduction in litter.

Katherine Clare, Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Network

Collaborating to Create Koala Corridors in Kurrajong

Creating Koala Corridors in Kurrajong was established to restore koala habitat and create a koala corridor through bush regeneration, fencing and revegetation activities. The project brought together 13 neighbouring landholders along Little Wheeny Creek in Kurrajong because, while their properties were too small to be eligible for funding individually, collectively their properties could be connected into one large project with a common cause.

This presentation will look at stage 1 of the project, which ran from 2019-2021, and outline how collaborations and partnerships between landholders, Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Network (HNLN) and Greater Sydney Local Land Services (GSLLS), achieved more holistic outcomes for the community, the environment and the landholders conserving it, than each body could have achieved on their own.

The presentation will also explore how valuable community capacity funding is, even for projects with an on-ground focus; the value of workshop opportunities for building skills, growing group cohesion and maintaining energy despite set-backs (in this case, bushfires, floods and COVID-19); and how a support network formed, now the Little Wheeny Creek Landcare group, which continues to bring energy to the region and grow Landcare involvement throughout Kurrajong.

Kerri Robson, Gecko CLaN Landcare Network

Who Kept the Dogs Out? The Gecko CLaN That’s Who

For years wild dogs had been preying on Terry Ring’s farm’s bottom line – the financial impact of both lamb and mature sheep predation was making it near impossible to turn a profit from his 1,000 acre farm located in the Upper Ryan’s Creek Catchment (URCC) in North East Victoria. Desperate, Terry turned to the Gecko Clan for help.

This presentation will explore how Landcare, in the form of the Gecko Clan, created a pathway for support, community and practical action for Terry and others like him. Through substantial research, planning and by securing funding, two successful fence styles that work are now in place, which anyone can pick up and use on their properties. Electric fencing in bushfire prone areas is problematic; and the extreme topography and vegetation in the area required both new technology and farmer ingenuity.

When the neighbouring local government saw the project, they wanted in for their farmers as well. A grant for $360k was sourced from the federal Communities Combatting Pest and Weeds in Drought Affected areas fund, with Gecko Clan able to step in to provide on-ground expertise under a fee for service model.

Practically, thanks to several federal grants across two years, the project has erected over 40km of wild dog proof fencing that has protected the bottom line of farming enterprises from the impact of predation. By engaging with all sectors of government – local, state and federal – the project has shown that not only the landholder but the whole community can benefit and community needs can be met.

Lana Andrews, Tamworth Regional Landcare Association

Trees in the Ground – Landholders Restoring Koala Habitat

The NSW Government’s ‘Saving our Species’ program enabled Tamworth Regional Landcare Association (TRLA) to coordinate the delivery of an on-ground koala conservation project in the Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains Shires between 2017 and 2021.

This presentation will outline how, thanks to partnerships and relationship building, the ‘Habitat Restoration for Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains Koalas’ program was able to exceed its goal of restoring 30 hectares of new koala habitat on privately owned land. TRLA managed the project, and the NSW Landcare program, through the Local Landcare Coordinator, provided the project management to see it through the planning, implementation and evaluation phases.

The project went beyond ‘trees in the ground’, however. The presentation will also discuss how it has been a vehicle for a new community of practice around farm revegetation for koalas and biodiversity, demonstrating what is possible when local Landcare organisations are afforded the opportunity to coordinate the people, resources and skills needed for habitat restoration. All corridors created represent best practice for wildlife conservation in a changing climate, and all landholders involved completed their projects, thanks to a process of positive, respectful, relationship building, the provision of practical support, and access to local knowledge and Landcare expertise to produce positive outcomes.

Rowan Ewing (National Landcare Network/Landcare Australia), Dr Maxine Cooper, Landcare ACT, Dr Turlough Guerin, Landcare NSW

Rowan Ewing

Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program – National Landcare Partnerships Supporting Community Participation

The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program (the Program) was quickly established as a partnership program to support community action to recover wildlife and their habitats following the devastating 2019-20 bushfires across south-east Australia.

This presentation will show how partnerships at all levels – nationally, regionally and locally – were critical to the Program’s success, enabling more 10,000 volunteers and over 700 other groups and organisations, to support community and environmental recovery from the Black Summer Bushfires through 111 projects. A key feature of the Program was also its facilitated process, with Applicant Support Team staff from delivery partner organisations based in each state and territory, providing expert advice to grant recipients throughout the Program.

In addition to outlining how funding Landcare builds partnerships and mobilises on-ground action and, the presentation will also explore how it leads to greater engagement in disaster recovery activity. Landcare is a central element in bringing communities and diverse stakeholders together in environmental recovery, and there remains a huge unmet need for landcare-led program delivery; further funding and support for such programs are needed to continue delivering results for communities and their environments.

Landcare Impact

Landscape, biodiversity, community resilience, mental and physical health of individuals, economy

This stream will demonstrate the multiple beneficial impacts of Landcare including landscapes and natural areas, community, health and the economy. Demonstrating the breadth of positive impact will help influence governments, business, industry and philanthropic supporters on why ongoing investment in and empowering of Landcare is required now more than ever.

Prof Andrew Campbell, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Photo of manPhoto of woman wearing glassesphoto of manBlack and white photo of Clinton MullerBlack and white photo of Mary JohnsonBlack and white photo of Anne Fuentes

Building Global Sustainability Through Local Self-Reliance – Lessons From Landcare

The spread of Landcare internationally has occurred without any systematic co-ordination or scaling up strategy. Accounts suggest that the Australian model of Landcare has been deployed and adapted in more than 25 countries, many of these being low- or medium- income countries in the Pacific, South-East Asia and Africa.

This session will explore the emerging lessons from international experiences of Landcare inspired community action that facilitates improved livelihoods, economic development, participation, education, networks and gender equity.  Specific country scale lessons to be focused on through the discussion will include Bangladesh, Fiji and the Philippines.

In doing so, the speakers will discuss the integration of Landcare based approaches demonstrating how important investment into community and institutional capacity building is to enable adoption and adaptation of sustainable practice change for agricultural land use and the natural environment.

The panel features a diverse range of speakers and experiences that will outline the efforts and emerging lessons in promoting Landcare internationally from grassroot organisations through to formalised research for development programs.


  • Prof. Andrew Campbell, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • Dr Mary Johnson, RMIT University
  • Ms Anne “Shang” Fuentes, University of the Philippines Mindanao
  • Mr Clinton Muller, RMIT University
  • Ms Andrea Mason, Global Landcare
  • Mr Rob Youl, Global Landcare


  1. Panel introduction facilitated by Prof. Andrew Campbell.
  2. Each panel member allocated a 5-minute presentation that includes three key emerging lessons for the Facilitated panel discussion.
  3. Facilitated panel discussion led by Prof. Campbell, including summary close.
Amanda Hansson, Accounting for Nature Ltd

Unlocking Opportunities for Australian Landholders through Environmental Accounting

In 2021 Accounting for Nature Ltd conducted 28 workshops with Landcare members across Australia. During these workshops, we spoke with over 270 farmers and land managers on the opportunities natural capital accounting can bring to the Australian agricultural sector. Since the workshops concluded in November last year, Accounting for Nature Ltd has been working closely with over 50 farmers to help them develop Environmental Accounts.

In this presentation, Amanda will present the opportunities that landholders can unlock from developing Environmental Accounts and how to get started with environmental accounting. It will also showcase that the process can be scientifically rigorous and user-friendly at the same time.

The presentation will conclude by addressing some of the barriers identified when speaking to landholders and what can be done at a property, industry, and government level to reduce these.

Francis Smit, Landcare Serpentine-Jarrahdale INC

Landcare for Community Mental Health

People are at the heart of all community matters; they are critical to the success of organisations and community groups who work to protect the environment and restore the land. That is why respecting people, improving the quality of living, appreciating and supporting cultural differences and being good stewards of the land, air, water, flora and fauna are core values of Landcare SJ Inc. – a not-for-profit community based organisation that coordinates landcare, bushcare and catchment care in the districts of Serpentine Jarrahdale and North Murray, W.A.

This presentation will highlight how Landcare is about caring for people as much as it is for Country. It will outline Landcare SJ’s R U OK? Planting Day and Morning Tea, which contributes to the community by generating a range of outcomes including community cohesion, community health and wellbeing, environmental conservation and economic benefits.

Francis Steyn, Western Cape Government

LandCare Changing the Future of Farming in the Western Cape, South Africa

LandCare is both community based and community led, which is the real secret behind the massive success of this methodology, which has been implemented in the Western Cape over the past 20 years.

Considering climate change and cycles of drought and more intense rainfall, never before has it been more important to prepare better and protect the country’s natural capital.

This presentation will explore the Western Cape’s many success stories, including examples of farmers protecting their water, their soil and their biodiversity while becoming more productive – the cornerstone of LandCare.

It will outline how farming challenges can be transformed into solutions and opportunities and will highlight how, by working together and with partners in government, farmers can find and take the lead in implementing innovative approaches to addressing questions around natural resource and farm management.

Glenda Maloney, Tambo Bluff Landcare Coastcare

“The Dark Side of the Moon”

ONLINE SESSION – Conservation and restoration of indigenous vegetation have long-term benefits in terms of human health, quality of life and environmental sustainability. This is the guiding principle of Tambo Bluff Landcare Coastcare which strives to protect and enhance the flora and fauna of Tambo Bluff for the benefit of all.

Formed in 1993, the Tambo Bluff Landcare Coastcare group area covers 40 hectares of public space. This area is a promontory situated on the eastern shore of Lake King, in the Gippsland Lakes. This presentation will outline the work of Landcare volunteers on Tambo Bluff Estate following inappropriate subdivision, which left the area in a poor state in need of extensive revegetation/erosion control interventions. Thanks to the interventions, the area is attracting locals and visitors to its numerous walking tracks.

Oliver Kerr, Southern Otway Landcare Network

Changing Landcare in Changing Times

The world is continuously changing and landcare must change with it to stay relevant and keep achieving our goals. The Southern Otway Landcare Network (SOLN) is a grassroots community organisation dedicated to protecting and restoring our environment so that we can live, work and find joy in a healthy, productive and balanced environment. Located between the iconic Great Ocean Road and the beautiful cool temperate rainforests of the Otway Ranges in Victoria, Australia, SOLN plays a central role in the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable land management across its network area.

SOLN have gone through many organisational changes since it was established 30 years ago. We have recently refocused our priorities, allowing us to stay relevant with societal changes. Our recent restructure has involved shifting away from traditional landcare activities such as supporting sustainable farming and land holder consultations, to the creation of focus interest groups and putting a stronger emphasis on community engagement. As a result, SOLN is now more financially stable and has more members than ever before. We hope by sharing our journey we can help other groups that might be struggling to adapt to an ever-changing society.

Dr Pamela Greet, Future AG Queensland

Big Bang, Small Bucks – Tackling Climate Change Globally On a Tiny Budget

In Australia we have become accustomed to thinking that tackling climate change is an enormously costly exercise, with ever more alarming headlines featuring lots of zeros about what net zero will cost. Through the Australian Landcare International Fund, Global Landcare with its annual program of micro grants up to $A 500, has been able to deliver big dividends with small monetary investment. The leverage is the connection, the collaboration and the community.

This presentation reviews the genesis of this initiative. We’ll look at some of the practical lessons learned along the way about responding to community driven solutions. We will provide examples to showcase the variety of different solutions that local communities in settings as diverse as the suburban slums of Nairobi, to water conservation in Timor Leste have devised for our support.

Our objective is to show how small amounts of seed funding can germinate and plant ideas allowing little seeds of community action to grow into concrete contributions that are part of a global solution to tackle the challenge of climate change.

Rachel Lyons, Noosa & District Landcare Group

The Value of a Welcoming Space

Noosa Landcare’s Hinterhub first opened in late 2020 in the small township of Pomona in Noosa’s Hinterland. Previously Noosa Landcare’s main office building received a facelift during Covid lockdowns and is now ostensibly a retail nursery, environmental information centre and an outlet for locally-made environmentally sensitive products, the proceeds of which feed back into its projects.

This presentation will explore how the hub has exceeded expectations, becoming a dynamic and encouraging space that is positively impacting the community’s wellbeing – particularly in light of the challenging times brought about by the pandemic and the devastation of fires and floods.

The presentation will address how maintaining connection with the natural environment has provided solace, with the community found to be more willing than ever to engage with the environment in a constructive way. In the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as climate change, planting trees and being involved in caring for the environment is a great way for people to regain some control and hope.

As with other regional areas in Australia, the Sunshine Coast has also seen an influx of new residents from the cities. Many are learning for the first time what it is to live on the land. Learn how the Noosa Landcare’s Hinterhub is using the opportunity to convert them from simply being a land owner to being a land carer and how this basic premise is applicable anywhere.

Stefanie Woodgate, Phoebe Gulliver, and Teagan Lawrence, Little River Landcare

Stephanie WoodgateLittle River Phoebe GulliverTegan Lawrence

The Soil PET (People, Education and Technology) Pilot Project

The Soils PET (People, Education and Technology) Pilot Project is an innovative pilot to test mechanisms of engagement and information transfer. The project uses the on-ground connectivity of Landcare networks to stimulate change in the management of landscapes in Central West NSW.

Healthy soil is the foundation of productive, sustainable agriculture. Managing for soil health allows producers to work with the land against impacts such as erosion, reduced water infiltration and/or nutrient cycling.

This Smart Farms Small Grants project is using new soil testing technology to fill gaps in soil science and improve landholder understanding of soil health best management practices through localised field day events.

In this presentation, drawing on the Soils PET Pilot Project, presenters will highlight how engagement and information transfer has helped to increase capacity of land managers to improve soil management and adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.

Urban Landcare

Urban environments bring challenges and opportunities with a growing role for Landcare in urban settings

Our towns and cities are having an ever increasing impact on biodiversity and ecosystem health as urban development and population growth encroaches on natural systems. But urban areas can also bring opportunity for innovation, community action and even protection of endangered and vulnerable species and ecosystems. This stream will showcase the growing role Landcare, community, and government play in shaping our urban environments to have a lighter footprint, that is more conducive to community wellbeing and even provide ecosystem services themselves.

Alice Hathorn, ACT Urban Woodland Rescue

Restoring Native Biodiversity to Canberra Suburbs

A small urban pocket park has been transformed from a barren landscape of ecologically transforming weeds like African Love Grass to a beautiful biodiverse woodland with a restoration of the original ancient meadows and mid structure that once covered Canberra’s valleys.

This presentation will explore how the restoration, which is just three years old, is returning ecological services including slowing water and wind, carbon storage, and cooling the air by returning rich original native biodiversity.

The restoration is protecting the health and longevity of the remaining mature and hollow bearing remnant eucalypts which are keystone species in the landscape. Bird life and insect life are also returning to the park.

The presentation will also address how there is a great desire in the community to protect the Australian environment but evidence-based methods and positive communication strategies are required to assist the community at all levels to participate. It will look at how low-cost methods can successfully restore declining urban landscapes once covered by grassy ecosystems.

The importance of changing management strategies to minimise unnecessary disruption of the landscape and how these changes can improve native biodiversity, bring people close to nature and build resilience in the face of climate change.

Bek Caldwell, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Greater Shepparton City Council

Rebecca Caldwell smiling

RiverConnect – Connecting Our Community to Its Heart and Soul

The urban environment brings challenges and opportunities, particularly given our historical affiliation with building townships on the banks of our mighty rivers.

A community upswell in the early 2000s recognised the power of a whole-of-community approach to addressing issues and opportunities in shaping the future management of the Goulburn and Broken rivers, and the surrounding red gum floodplains between Shepparton and Mooroopna.

The community members who recognised this – including Traditional Owners, regional natural resource management agencies, local government, Landcare, educational organisations, and businesses – joined forces, leading to the establishment of the RiverConnect project in 2005.

This presentation will explore how RiverConnect aims to create a vibrant, more cohesive Greater Shepparton urban community, by developing a strong sense of belonging and connection between its community, its riverine environment, and its cultural heritage.

It will outline how the community, government and land managers, alongside the traditional owners of this land, work in partnership to protect and enhance the value of our rivers; and will address lessons learned and many of the key impacts achieved through its Strategic Plan implementation to inspire others to implement a project of this nature in their communities.

Bruce Ham, Brisbane Organic Growers Inc

Changing Perceptions of Home Gardening – Case Study from Brisbane

Established in 1975, the Brisbane Organic Growers Inc (BOGI) is a community gardening club and advocacy group that encourages members and the wider community to adopt environmentally friendly practices in the home garden environment. People come to BOGI seeking better health outcomes through growing nutrient rich food plants.

As this presentation will explore, BOGI believes the gardening journey starts with the soil. In addition to addressing what healthy soil is, the presentation will outline strategies to improve productivity in home gardens and how organic home gardening for fruit, vegetables and herbs promotes healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy people and a healthy environment.

It will also address how BOGI goes about identifying challenges and communicating messages around the theme of healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy people, healthy environment, as well as the mechanisms it uses to adapt the conversation in the changing environment.

Fiona Tucker, Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Fiona Tucker smiling in front of plants

Sydney’s Beating Green Heart – caring and connecting with Country at Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic has an exciting and ambitious vision for Sydney Olympic Park by 2050. The journey will see Sydney Olympic Park become known as Sydney’s beating green heart. Connection to country, nature-positive, and community engagement are at the heart of achieving this vision.

The Neighbours Nurturing Nature program is an early, on the ground step towards inviting the community to actively care for place.

The program aims to achieve strong social and environmental outcomes through connecting people in the local community to each other and the park. This will be achieved by engaging local community members in collaborative environmental projects that aim to improve the parklands, wetlands and waterways, and threatened species habitats of Sydney Olympic Park.

The pilot stage of the program commenced in early 2022. This presentation will focus on the program concept, progress and learning to date. We invite you to follow our journey, as the community forge stronger connections with each other and Wangal Country as they become stewards of Sydney Olympic Park.

Jessica Lumbroso, Greater Sydney Landcare Network

Keeping an Eye on Our Urban Waterways – Streamwatch: a Community Legacy

There is a clear need for the development of a nationwide water quality monitoring program such as the Waterwatch program that Streamwatch belongs to. The ad-hoc nature of water-quality monitoring across Sydney creates a substantial knowledge gap that currently limits the ability of councils, asset owners and state agencies to enact best-practice management of our local urban waterways.

The Greater Sydney Landcare Streamwatch program is working to overcome patchy monitoring by empowering communities from the ground up. A conservation program that aims to collect long-term baseline data trends, Streamwatch assesses sites monthly for impacts, making sure the collected data fits within the standard guidelines or within the local site’s geomorphic conditions of the landscape.

Using the NSW Government’s SEED database and the Atlas of Living Australia BioCollect data collection tool, the presentation will outline how Streamwatch is providing scientifically-proven methods to collect data “by the people for the people”. In so doing, the program is providing evidence for authorities to respond to pollution events in urban waterways, making changes needed to preserve, protect and adapt together and supporting social change to build partnerships within our communities to build a framework of responsibility.

Karissa Preuss, Landcare ACT; Maxine Cooper, Landcare ACT; Miranda Gardner, Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment ACT

Health, Wealth and Resilience – Benefits of Urban Landcare from the ACT Experience

The ACT’s urban Landcare community is rich, with over 70 community-led groups, several government agencies, and over 6 000 volunteers. Landcare volunteering in the Bush Capital can take many forms, from counting turtles in urban wetlands, cultural site restoration, to protecting critically endangered habitat in the city’s network of reserves.

Landcare ACT and the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment ACT have been working on ways to raise awareness among the broader community regarding the huge variety of urban Landcare work in Canberra and to highlight the various benefits of Landcare both to individuals and society as a whole.

Through a range of case studies from Landcare ACT and members, this presentation will showcase the range of opportunities and benefits of Landcare in an urban setting, including financial, ecological, health and wellbeing, knowledge and skills, and disaster resilience/recovery. It will also examine the model that has evolved for Landcare in the ACT to make this possible, which relies on multi-sector partnerships and enables government and community to work together.

Kate Eccles OAM, Mosman Parks & Bushland Association

The Bradley Sisters – The Origin and Development of Bush Regeneration and its Ongoing Relevance

Joan and Eileen Bradley – founding members of The Mosman Parks & Bushland Association (MPBA) – lived in Mosman, where they developed their original insight that bushland can regenerate by itself when freed from the competition of weeds. The methods for dealing with weeds in the 1950s and 60s were slash, chop and burn. At first it seemed that replanting the areas cleared of weeds would be the answer. However, it became clear this was not really working.

As the Bradleys watched the slashing and chopping, they observed that in the areas of interface between cleared areas and relatively good bush, the native plants were growing back. This was the breakthrough. The Bradleys realised that native plants, freed from the competition of non-natives, can recolonise the edges of weed cleared areas.

In 1971 The Mosman Parks & Bushland Association published “Bush Regeneration”, in which the three principles of bush regeneration were outlined for the first time. The method developed by the Bradley sisters spread. At first, friends and associates worked in various areas of Mosman. Then other suburbs became interested, the National Trust took it up and a TAFE course was established.

Allowing their history to speak for itself in its ongoing relevance to saving public land, particularly bushland in urban situations, this presentation will share the Bradley sisters’ story and the origins of Bush regeneration, the continuing value of applying their methods today, as well as how the MPBA is working to continue the sisters’ legacy.

Phil Sarkies and Geoff Scheutrim, Willoughby City Council

Vols on Hot Coals: How Ecological Hazard Reduction Burning Has Rekindled the Flame Within Bushcare Volunteers

The use of fire is often absent in many bush regeneration and bushcare programs. This is due to the risky nature of applying fire to a fire-prone environment, but when used appropriately the transformation of a site can have a profound impact on both volunteers and trainers in the following ways: a renewed enthusiasm and interest in site management; eagerness to learn about plant life cycles and their response to burning; and an appreciation for an element that is often seen as a threat.

Since its formation after the 1994 bushfires, the Fire Hazard Reduction Team at Willoughby Council has developed a controlled burning technique which meets fire mitigation obligations with the ecological needs of the bush and the wildlife it supports. The planning, the preparation and the lighting of its burns are never based on fuel loads and square metres covered alone. Intimate knowledge of the local ecology and the needs of native vegetation that rely on fire for survival are also carefully considered.

This presentation will explore the ‘Low and Slow’ philosophy of Willoughby Council’s burning, which also offers wildlife the opportunity to seek refuge, while the canopy is left unharmed. It will outline how volunteers are guided and encouraged to participate with the burn preparation process, providing a rich learning environment, and will address how post-fire care will be the greatest learning curve for volunteers as specialised weeding strategies and techniques are introduced.

Tricia Stewart, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

“How did the bandicoot cross the road?” – Tackling the Road Ecology Conundrum

As a major tourist attraction in Victoria, the Cranbourne Gardens site of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) boasts an invaluable living collection of Australian rare and threatened flora in a stunning horticultural display encapsulated within 340ha of remnant Australian bushland, creating a biodiversity oasis in the middle of sea of high-density urban development. But the lure of such a unique tourist attraction to the visiting hoards, presents challenges at the wildlife-human interface.

After several years of collecting roadkill data from the main visitor entry driveway, with a worryingly rising death toll, the RBGV began researching options for road ecology solutions to curb the ecological impact. Discovering that existing examples of small mammal road ecology in Australia was severely lacking, they embarked on a mission to pave the way for small mammals to cross the road with ease in Australia.

Almost two years post project inception, and armed with some valuable learned experiences and exciting positive results – including increased protection/survival of a federally endangered species; actively propelling increased awareness of urban ecology amongst local community; and encouraging road ecology considerations in planning and development – this presentation provides a field-based, working case study into effective road ecology solutions for state and nation wide uptake.

Luise Manning, Springfield Lakes Nature Care INC

Bush Carers Restoring an Urban Landscape

Birds, mammals and native bees act as forest pollinators for many flowering plants. But what if these disappeared from our urban landscapes? How would this impact on the environment and what you can do to help improve your local biodiversity?

Bush care is an alternative approach to actively rehabilitating degraded riparian zones – one that starts with you and your community.

This presentation will outline a step-by-step approach to establishing a bush care group and how support can be harnessed through the power of Landcare. It will highlight the benefits of rehabilitation projects, engaging local government and corporations to support and sponsor urban bush care work, the need for environmental funding as well as challenges that need to be overcome, such as gaining trust and credibility, ensuring goals are met, and budgeting and evaluation.

The presentation will also share how Springfield Lakes Nature Care attracted volunteers, what residents learned through its bush care program and the benefits to their wellbeing.

First Nations

Providing a platform that recognises the role First Nations people have played in sustainable natural resource management

As the first landcarers, First Nations people have a continuous and deep connection to Country. They have an understanding of country that encompasses the physical, spiritual and cultural landscape. This stream will demonstrate how traditional land and sea management practices can help landcarers and land managers better understand the ecology of their landscape and manage weeds, promote native regrowth and improve biodiversity on Country.

Erin Rose, Budj Bim World Heritage Executive Officer, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (GMTOAC), Budj Bim Cultural Landscape

Black and white photo of Erin Rose

B​udj Bim Cultural Landscape

GMTOAC have been managing Country for at least 6,600 years and will do for future generations.

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape was inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in July of 2019 located in Baku, Azerbaijan.

GMTOAC are the first community-based agency to submit a World Heritage Nomination to be listed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and the first listed site in Australia to be inscribed solely for its Cultural values. The Landscape has evidence of Gunditjmara occupation and use. The volcanic landscape was altered to create the world’s oldest aquaculture system, dating to at least 6,600 years old, with stone hut villages always close by. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is a living entity which has catered to Gunditjmara for thousands of years.

As Gunditjmara we have pride in our history and showcase the work of our ancestors through caring for Country actions and more recently through our sustainable Indigenous tourism initiative, Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Tourism. Gunditjmara continue to care for Budj Bim and do this in collaboration with many state and regional partners, ensuring the ongoing management and protection of Country.

Our ranger programs and other dedicated staff are key to the work that is done on Country – focusing on cultural and natural resource management, including cultural burning, revegetation, cultural water flows and wetland and riparian restoration works.

Tim Leane, Elijah Murray, Scott West, Indigenous Desert Alliance

Scott West in the field with a drip torchElijah Murray in a helicopter

Working Together to Manage Fire Across Australia’s Desert Country

Indigenous ranger groups are implementing fire management programs across increasingly large areas of Australia’s desert country. While these programs face innate operational challenges, the impacts of these can be reduced as groups come together to share information and resources. By working collaboratively, individual desert ranger teams are building on the successes of their neighbours, enabling them to deliver critical fire management outcomes on increasing scales.

In addition to outlining the inherent challenges associated with fire management operations in Australia’s deserts (i.e. the sheer scale and variability of the landscape being managed, issues with accessibility, the relatively brief burning season, and limited organisational capacity and operational resources), this presentation will also address the importance of ‘right-way’ fire management in the desert, which is led and implemented indigenous rangers and traditional owners, and how much work Indigenous land managers and ranger groups put into managing fire across Australia’s desert country each year.

The presentation will also address the importance of working together through regional collaborations to manage these landscapes at scale. Through a growth in regional collaboration indigenous ranger teams have been able to deliver fire management outcomes at increasingly large scales. Given their success, such collaborations are seen as a critical element of effective management into the future.

Jackson Chatfield, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)

Enabling Aboriginal Self-Determination Through Engagement with Landcare

In Victoria, Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities’ aspirations to care for Country and engage with Landcare have been supported since 2010 by a statewide Aboriginal Landcare Facilitator role, which has been funded by the Victorian Government. This presentation will focus on the importance of roles such as the statewide Aboriginal Landcare Facilitator which has strengthened and built connections between Aboriginal, Traditional Owner, and First Nations communities and Landcare; increased the participation of Aboriginal people in Landcare; built Aboriginal cultural capacity within Landcare; improved engagement between Aboriginal people and the Landcare community; and seeks to enable genuine self-determination.

In addition, this presentation will also consider some of the ways that Landcare community members can connect with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities to enable them to care for Country the way they want to, enabling self-determination. It will also address issues around the need to provide resources to Traditional Owners and Aboriginal community groups to support their aspirations for Country and their capacity to care for Country, and to engage with Landcare, guided by the self-determination approach.

Joel Bolzenius, Maddie George - Healthy Land & Water

Recognising and empowering First Nations leadership in fire management

For many millennia, First Nations have continuously cared for lands and seas. Colonisation and the associated exclusion of First Nations management in the landscape drastically changed vegetation structures significantly contributing to devastating fire events.

On Minjerribah and Mulgumpin, the Quandamooka people are restoring cultural fire practices and integrating their knowledge into land management to reduce the occurrence of large wildfires.

This presentation will outline how fire management strategies coordinated by the Quandamooka First Nation are protecting urban areas, culture, infrastructure, and natural assets across Country. Central to these strategies is the focus on empowering First Nations led fire management that utilises a range of culturally integrated practices to maintain cultural landscapes and ecosystem structure while protecting life and property. This work has been recognised as a leading example of effective fire management by the Queensland Inspector General of Emergency Management as part of the Queensland Bushfires Review and implements many of the actions identified through the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. In addition, this work was credited with stopping a fire from reaching townships on Minjerribah in the 2019/20 Summer bushfire season.

Kane Watson, Nathaniel Clinch and Kane Shaw, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council Inc and Western Mulga, Kwelena Mambakort Aboriginal Corporation

First Nations Rangers to the Fore

First Nations Rangers delivering Natural Resource Management (NRM) activities represent the future of Landcare, reconnecting culture and Country, and gaining the qualifications to become long-term practitioners.

In collaboration with key partners and the support of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, NACC NRM’s Mid West Aboriginal Ranger Program was launched in September 2017. As this presentation will explore, the program enables a diversity of ranger teams across the region, working with numerous Traditional Owner Groups and regional stakeholders to deliver Landcare Services, Heritage Site maintenance, and developing Aboriginal business opportunity. In so doing, it provides opportunities for Aboriginal people across the Mid West region to engage in NRM activities while delivering on-ground conservation with a strong cultural emphasis on Caring for Country.

The presentation will also outline how a partnership approach supports members from diverse communities to participate in Ranger teams, and by working cross regionally, the ambition and priorities of many Traditional Owner groups can be addressed; it will highlight the value of Rangers on Country, how they can support broader Landcare initiatives and the rapidly advancing amalgamation of Traditional and Western knowledge emerging in this sector.

Lauren Van Dyke, Linda Cavangh, Erin Brinkley, Upper Snowy Landcare Network

Lauren Van DykeLinda CavanaghErin Brinkley smiling with a dog

Crossing Tenures: Landcare Working Together with First Nations people in South East NSW

Aboriginal connections on country are critical. This presentation will outline what is happening amongst multi-age brackets in a rural area to foster these connections and how landcare networks are engaging with local Aboriginal communities to promote skills, knowledge and practical sharing.

It will also explore how walkovers are full of inspiration, and draw on past and recent activities and events, such as a successful gathering that the Upper Snowy Landcare Network (USLN) organised on its recently leased Gegedzerick Travelling Stock Reserve in Berridale in 2021, entitled ‘Aboriginal Walk-over on Gegedzerick’.

After discovering from local Aboriginal elders that Gegedzerick was an original traditional training ground for children and local youth, USLN welcomed more than 80 people, including a large Aboriginal school community. Supported by funds from the NSW Landcare Program’s “Working Together” Aboriginal Engagement Program and South East Local Land Services, the event was designed to train local people to recognise Aboriginal objects, artefacts, landscape features and perspectives on land management and traditional Aboriginal culture.

Lynette Ellis, Grant Wallace, Ricky Lichleitner, Henry Oliver, Sanchia Scott. Traditional Owners and Central Land Council

William Quall and Andrew Alice

Traditional Owners Build Walking And Cycling Trail On Their Country

A multi-dimensional project strengthening contemporary culturally appropriate care for Country, the Trail project showcases the innovation and generosity of the Yeperenye traditional owner group.

More than 30 traditional owner workers hand built the 8 kilometre trail on their Country, between Emily and Jessie Gaps in Yeperenye Nature Park, NT. Traditional owners were the key decision makers at every stage of the project ensuring; the alignment was culturally sound, important sites were respected and protected, genuine training and employment opportunities were provided for traditional owners, broad community collaboration and support, and intergenerational cultural knowledge-transference to enhance care for the Country.

The project’s objective to open up and share Country forms part of a vision of the traditional owner group to build a thriving local economy for their community. Future aspirations include guided cultural walks, talks and a cultural centre. The traditional owner group worked with the Central Land Council for six years to progress the project idea and allocated $365,000 of their Park rent income to make the project happen.

The project has brought immense community pride for the Yeperenye traditional owner group. The Yeperenye Nature Park has also experienced a huge increase in the number of visitors, sparking much excitement and momentum for the future aspirations of the group.

Tom Lawton, Constantine Mamarika

Portrait photo of Tom Lawton with a labradorConstantine Mamarika smiling

The Anindilyakwa Land & Sea Rangers

The Anindilyakwa Land & Sea Rangers manage 10,000 square kilometres of the Anindilyakwa Indigenous Protected Area, situated 60km off the East Arnhem Coast in the pristine waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The Groote Archipelago has significant biodiversity values and the Anindilyakwa people have a strong connection to their culture and country. Groote is relatively free from many of the introduced and invasive plants, animals and diseases that are unfortunately common on the mainland.

To uphold these values, a unique biosecurity collaboration between the Anindilyakwa Land Council and South32 GEMCO, a global mining company who operate a manganese mine on Groote Eylandt has been developed. The collaboration has seen the development of an effective and proactive Biosecurity Program. The Program plays an extremely important role in protecting the environmental, economic, cultural, and social values of the Archipelago.

The Groote Archipelago is one of the last island groups in Northern Australia that is cane toad free, with the primary focus of the Program being cane toad biosecurity. The multifaceted approach encompasses community and industry engagement through awareness campaigns, detection and surveillance activities at major freight and movement pathways utilising a specialist trained Cane Toad Detection Dog called Edna. In 2021 the Program received national recognition, winning an Australian Biosecurity Award and the 2021 NT Partnership for Landcare Award.

Dr Turlough Guerin, Landcare NSW, Erin Brinkley, Maydina Penrith, Michael Kennedy

Erin Brinkley smiling with a dogMaydina Penrith selfieMichael Kennedy selfie

Working Together – Increasing Aboriginal Engagement in Landcare Through Co-Design at the Regional Scale

The Working Together Program, a critical and new component of the NSW Landcare Program, aims to increase opportunities to consciously develop stronger connections and partnerships between Landcare groups and Aboriginal communities across NSW.

The presentation will outline core outcomes of the program, including the introduction of cultural practices into the traditional areas of Landcare including cultural burning, running specific Aboriginal youth events, and introducing High Schools to Aboriginal Landcare culture and practises. This year, the third for the program, also resulted in the employment of an Aboriginal Landcare Officer in the North Coast Region, and another in Murrumbidgee Region Landcare region. The intent is that these roles will be the first of many for Landcare networks. There are 11 regions across NSW and the proposal for the next iteration of the program is for each region is to have a dedicated Aboriginal Landcare Coordinator (Officer).

The presentation will also explore the idea of working together and sharing ideas and knowledge, and undertaking joint projects – a core focus of the Aboriginal program which is manifesting in several ways. For example, through co-design partnerships and collaboration, the program is engaging Aboriginal youth and more broadly school students, in the Landcare community. Mental health outcomes are expected to flow from the engagement processes used in the program.

Victor Steffensen, Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation

Victor Steffensen

‘Under Our Feet’ – Understanding the Health and Management of the Soils Through Indigenous Knowledge

Aboriginal land management is strictly based on respecting the identity of Country. Today we see a huge loss of diversity that can often lead to a lifeless landscape that can only return from working the right way with the soils.

This presentation will outline how understanding the identity and values of each ecosystem through the soils has supported sustainable land management and ways to live off the land for countless generations. The lore in hunting and gathering foods all stem from caring for the land in which the resources have come from. Reading the vegetation and soils is key to understanding how to carefully burn certain fire dependant ecosystems. Every aspect of Aboriginal cultural values and knowledge of caring for the people and land are all inclusive to the wellbeing of the soils.

Many Aboriginal communities are now activating traditional knowledge and practices that have been a part of evolving this ancient landscape since human occupation. Activating these practices all point to the need of activating the soils within our Country. This is also creating benefits to modern agriculture and influencing western agencies in supporting Aboriginal led aspirations of caring for Country. There is an abundance of opportunity to be found within a healthy landscape for our future generations that can only happen if we all start working together from the grassroots of Country and culture, which is where we find our soils.