The Armidale High School Black Creek BushCare group (BC2) has beaten twelve other nominees to be named the 2017 Junior Team Landcare Award Champion to represent NSW at the 2018 National Landcare Awards in Melbourne.
The Awards, announced at the NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference in Albury last month, recognise the dedication, hard work and community leadership of Landcarers from right across the state.
BC2 was formed in 2016 and conducted baseline biodiversity surveys of weed and native vegetation within the school grounds.
Manna Gums were restored at a nearby nature reserve by BC2 alongside local community groups and members have worked outside school hours to take part in a community planting of 4,000 trees in Armidale Urban Forest, 1000 trees at Black Gully and 1200 trees for Koala habitat at the annual Frog Dreaming gathering. They have also planted 300 trees in a degraded part of the school’s playground and are currently undertaking a Chilean needle Grass research project.
BC2’s teacher Bec Smith travelled down for the awards and said she was very surprised and humbled for the group to be given the opportunity to represent NSW at the national awards next year.
“Actually I was shocked speechless initially,” Ms Smith said.
“The other nominees were just so impressive and so worthy of equal recognition. The junior landcare group from Bourke travelled 10 hours by bus with dozens of kids in tow. So many people across this state are doing really amazing things to ensure that Landcare is alive and well.”
Ms Smith went on to say that special mention and recognition must be given to Sara Schmude from Southern New England Landcare for her constant support and commitment to the BC2 group.
“Her input is vast including writing the application for the awards, helping us in every field day event but most importantly for sharing her passion in connecting children so meaningfully to our environment.”
While Ms Smith travelled to the state conference alone she wants to take BC2 members with her to the national awards next year.
“I will now be fundraising to get as many students there as possible,” she said.
The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Aboriginal Reference Group was one of three champions in the Rio Tinto Indigenous Land Management Award.
Organisers said they were recognised because they have engaged their local aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities in protecting Country while sharing a passion for preserving local history and Aboriginal lore using modern land management techniques.
The categories of this year’s awards recognise work in a number of areas, including sustainable farming, Indigenous land management, Coastcare, innovation and protection of fish habitat.
Three Champions are celebrated in each category with one being announced as the Grand Champion and NSW’s representative at the National Landcare Awards in 2018.
Chris McCulloch, NSW Landcare Program Manager with Local Land Services has expressed his excitement in announcing the Champions and recognising Landcarers.
“The awards are an amazing opportunity for us to say thank you to the boys, girls, men and women, who from all walks of life give their time to protect our country and its people”, Mr McCulloch said.
“Landcare is so diverse in NSW, it has strength in its flexibility, dedication and especially in its people power. These awards are a way for the whole community to celebrate its champions.”
Chair of Landcare NSW, Rob Dulhunty comments; “These awards show how Landcarers across NSW are using their skill, ingenuity and commitment to protect the environment and fundamentally change the way we view and use the natural resources that sustain us.
"The awards show Landcare’s unique strength in achieving innovation and collaboration. I warmly congratulate all winners and nominees.”
The NSW Landcare Awards are supported by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, NSW Government, Landcare NSW and Landcare Australia.
The Awards this year featured nine national categories with the addition of a fish habitat protection category specific to NSW.
The Award Champions for 2017 are:
- Junior Landcare Team Award
o Chifley Public School
o Bourke High School – Yarra Landcare
o Nominee to National Awards: Armidale High School Black Creek BushCare group
- Austcover Young Landcare Leader Award
o Joshua Gilbert – Intrepid Landcare
o Jade Paton – Wetland Warriors
o Nominee to National Awards: Sophie Robertson – Hunter Intrepid Landcare
- Fairfax Landcare Community Group Award
o Northside Enterprise Inc. – Bushlink
o The Habitat
o Nominee to National Awards: FROGS Landcare Inc
- Rio Tinto Indigenous Land Management Award
o Bangerang Aboriginal Corporation
o Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Aboriginal Reference Group
o Nominee to National Awards: Garguaree Swampcare
- Sure Gro Coastcare Award
o Far South Coast Landcare Association
o Fingal Head Coastcare Inc.
o Nominee to National Awards: Clean4Shore
- Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture and Land Management Award
o Braidwood Garlic Growers Group
o Beechwood Biological Solutions
o Nominee to National Awards: Kadwell Potato Co.
- Australian Government Excellence in Sustainable Farm Practices Award
o The Mulloon Institute
o Small Farms Network – Capital Region
o Nominee to National Awards: Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc.
- Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award
o Western Landcare NSW
o Wallamore Road Landcare Group
o Nominee to National Awards: Gwydir Shire Council
- Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award
o Lloyd Foster – Coffs Harbour Bushland Regeneration Group
o Mikla Lewis – Lachlandcare
o Nominee to National Awards: David Marsh - Boorowa Community Landcare
- NSW Fish Habitat Partnership Organisation Award
o Runner Up: Little River Landcare
o Champion: Inland Waterways Volunteer Committee
- NSW Fish Habitat Partnership Individual Award
o Runner Up: Alan Izzard - Bass Sydney
o Champion: Ross Webster - Yass River
- NSW Fish Habitat Partnership Highly Commended for Collaboration
o Murray Local Land Services
- NSW Fish Habitat Partnership Highly Commended for Innovation
o Shoalhaven Riverwatch