The National Landcare Conference-Sydney

The first week of September was Landcare Week and celebrations were held all over the country to mark the occasion and the release of the new Landcare Video  L.I.F.E – Landcare is for everyone – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZqEB8T6mN4&feature=share The highlight of Landcare Week being the National Landcare Conference in Sydney with over 570 delegates including Upper Lachlan Chair, Nerida Croker and Landcare Support Officer, Mary Bonet  in attendance to hear from high-profile speakers such as award winning international scientist Dr David Suzuki,

David Suzuki on video link up at the conference

former Australian of the Year and environmentalist Tim Flannery, author and nutritional expert Dr Carole Hungerford, publisher Mia Freedman, and rugby star and best-selling author Peter FitzSimons.

Videos of the presentations including David Suzuki will be available from the DAFF Website http://www.daff.gov.au/landcareconference

Delegates had the opportunity to hear from international Landcarers such as producer and New Zealand Farmer of the Year, Doug Avery. Doug shared his insights into sustainable agriculture and innovation during his presentation, ‘Beyond reasonable droughts’.

It was a great opportunity to attend the National Landcare Conference to meet up with a diverse group of people from the grass root groups to Government agencies sharing their experience and knowledge. We met so many inspiring people all working for the landcare cause in a range of capacities and under a great variety of conditions, we were particularly happy to meet Agnes Fox and Ngati Taia who had travelled all the way from the Torres Strait Islands to attend the conference.

From Left: Marita Sydes, Central Tablelands Landcare, Agnes Fox and Ngati Taia (Thursday Island in the Torres Strait Islands) and Nerida Croker, Upper Lachlan Landcare

Ms Fox was highly commended as finalist in the Bob Hawke Landcare award which was taken out by Jamberoo Dairy Farmer Lynn Strong.  Ms Fox and her co-worker Mr Taia run a community garden on Horn Island. The garden has encouraged youth and community interest in gardening and healthy eating and increased the availability of local fresh fruit vegetables to the community, which has helped to improve the diets and health of local Torres Strait Islanders.

Media Release about the Bob Hawke Landcare Award available here:

http://www.daff.gov.au/ludwig/media_office/media_releases/media_releases/2012/september/jamberoo-farmer-wins-bob-hawke-landcare-award

We also had the opportunity to take a tour and see how landcare works in the city environment  by taking a guided walking tour  including some rides on the light rail system through parts of Sydney to experience the impact of activities by Landcare groups and the City of Sydney Council in Ultimo, Pyrmont and the Glebe foreshore. It was encouraging to see landcare volunteers reclaiming any land that they could find.

Urban Landcare in the “big smoke” tour

Other interesting presentations were from Pip Job, Little River Landcare and ‘Women in the Landscape’ engagement model and Sara Schmude “Frog Dreaming”, a highly successful Landcare in Schools iniative. You can read more about this project in The Land http://theland.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/kentucky-treefest-leaps-into-view/2624886.aspx

Michelle Lauder of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry declared the conference a success “It has provided some valuable and practical insights into Landcare around Australia, and has identified new challenges, opportunities and innovations in Landcare and sustainable agriculture,” Ms Lauder said.

“The conference has reinforced the importance of the role Landcare plays in shaping the way Australians live in and care for our land now and into the future.”

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