By Lois Simpson, Chair, Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteer Network
2019 has been an exceptional year for the Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteer Network.
Your committee works to be your representative, your advocate and the means for you to act as an autonomous and independent Network. Thank you to the committee this year, which proudly represents all the volunteer Landcarers of our city: to Bob, our Deputy Chair, who never hesitates to step up to the plate; to Pam, always supportive and responsible as Secretary; to Ruth, who picked up the Treasurer’s job without missing a beat; to Public Officer, Garry; to John, Don and Winsome, always there, always supporting, always with Landcare close to their heart.
Most importantly, we, the committee, recognise that the essence of Landcare is not here in the committee room. It is out there in our bushland; it is the mighty band of volunteers, with a common vision and values, giving to our city and our land. Your gift is, as ever, beyond thanks.
Many of the achievements of our Network were helped along by grants that the Network has administered in 2019. They include:
- LMCC Events grant – $2000 – 20 year celebration
- LMCC Environmental Sustainability grant – $2822 – Fern Creek Gully
- HLLS Small grant – $710 – Sunshine Silverwater
- HRLN Workshops grant – $1500 – March-May workshops
- Aus Govt Volunteer grant – $1100 – PA, tool belts, urns, laser pointer
The Network Committee’s SSS program this year aimed to provide opportunities, not only for education and entertainment, but most importantly, for coming together in a common purpose and in friendship. Thank you to our LRC team for helping to pull all this together.
To start the year, we returned to the nursery to learn about plant propagation with our nursery manager, Alex. Then Jo Lynch explained the threats of contamination to our lake.
In March, following John Le Messurier’s award for Gardening Australia ‘s Gardener of the Year, we spent a delightful day surveying his beautiful bushland plots in Glenrock.
April saw a return of the ever-popular Hunter Wetlands Centre and nursery excursion, with Carolyn, Paddy and Val as our enthusiastic and expert guides.
Professor Tim Roberts hosted a visit to the University of Newcastle in May, with so much to see and learn, not least of which were the frog ponds, the herbarium presentation and the Don Morris Walk, all on that beautiful bushland campus.
Along with the Super Saturday Sessions, our events calendar was filled up with the well-earned Celebration for National Volunteer Week and the wonderful, not-to-be-missed Landcare week bus trip, to sites at Kooroora Bay, Floraville, Fern Creek Gully and Kenibea. A most informative visit to Council’s green waste management site and an essential Volunteer Asbestos Awareness Session were also organised. NTD was also held at sites across the city. Formal days were planned at Coal Point, Warners Bay, and Fern Creek Gully.
Of course, we also took our usual site at the Living Smart Festival, too. Many thanks to all those who, with our LRC partners, assisted on the day to help spread the Landcare word in our city. The interest from the public was rewarding.
Interspersed with these events, TLT days were held each month. This year again we have arranged a committee member to take a short session to introduce the Network and our Committee, as well as to talk about our Code of Conduct and our partnership with LMCC. This initiative has been quite a success.
The day of days, of course, was our Lake Macquarie Landcare 20 Year Celebration, and what a celebration! Some 250 people entered the gate, watched the formalities, mingled, and enjoyed a range of Landcare related activities, as well as free cake, ice-cream and coffee. Strong support from Lake Macquarie City Council and 2NURFM ensured the overwhelming success of this day. Thanks to the many volunteers who also contributed to the day. As well, our heartfelt thanks go to the fantastic team at the LRC who worked year long to give the Network a birthday beyond our dreams.
After twenty years, the Lake Macquarie Landcare partnership has come of age.
It is a vine, grown from a seed germinated at Toronto. It was nursed by John Hughson (original Landcare Coordinator) and supplied with a nutrient-rich compost and strong framework from Lake Macquarie City Council. Passionate and inspired people have been tending it, feeding it and shaping its growth across our city. The stem is sturdy now, the roots are deep and spreading and the limbs twine right around our beautiful lake. Year round there are bursts of brilliance, not only at the base here in Teralba, but in patches of bushland, large and small, throughout the area. Some of these can be easily spied on our annual bus trip. And so its name – Lakemaccia floribunda ss. excelsa. May it continue to flourish.
So thanks to all those who have been part of this growth in 2019: to all those who support our vision, who read our newsletter, who come along to events, who share our cake; to all whose hands and nails and stiff backs tell the tale of nasty weeds, scratchy undergrowth and tender new tubestock babies; to those who engage with neighbours and spread the word, encouraging responsible bushland care; to our LRC friends who daily prove their belief in their work, supporting us and weaving us all together into an unstoppable movement. We acknowledge our good fortune as partners of LMCC and express our gratitude for the resources and support we receive.