Gippsland on show for International Landcare guests

Two international Landcare delegates have visited Gippsland as part of a program to share ideas and extend the Landcare movement worldwide.

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s (WGCMA) Partnerships and Engagement Team Leader, Belinda Brennan, said the visit connected international communities all aiming to improve their natural environments.

“We were lucky enough to host a delegate from the Philippines, Nikki Cordero, and Joy Tukahirwa from Uganda,” said Ms Brennan. “They were extremely impressed to see the volunteer effort to protect and improve tracts of land throughout Gippsland.”

The tour covered Willow Grove’s Blue Rock Lake and long-time Landcare members Peter and Helen Snape’s property.

“Blue Rock Lake is a great example of a community effort in revegetation,” continued Ms Brennan. “Work on Blue Rock Lake has been done by many groups, schools and workplaces. This revegetation work makes the Lake look beautiful, but it also helps reduce erosion and filter run off entering the Blue Rock Lake.

“Peter and Helen’s property in Willow Grove is a fantastic example of partnerships. The Latrobe River runs through their property and as custodians for this section of the river they’ve worked with WGCMA to fence off the river, remove willows and revegetate. This area has also been covenanted by Trust for Nature.”

Although Landcare work is local, a key part of many projects is leveraging opportunities and funding to get broader environmental results.

“The Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network has worked with landholders and secured government funding to do works on Flynns Creek,” said Ms Brennan.

“Although Flynns Creek is a small creek it forms part of the catchment that enters the Gippsland Lakes. Work on this creek is another example of a great partnership, where landholder Marshall Dean, has worked with WGCMA and Landcare through government funding to remove the willows, fence the creek and plant trees to restore the area.

“While this helps create a vegetation corridor and improves habitat for native animals on site, it also has the added benefit of reducing sediment and nutrients entering the Gippsland Lakes system.

“Corner Inlet is one of the most unique natural wonderlands in Australia – supporting important environmental values, so it was obviously a key part of our visit.”

Corner Inlet is home to marine and coastal parks of Corner Inlet and Nooramunga. It’s a key focus of WGCMA’s Corner Inlet Connections program.

“Our guests were impressed by the view at Silcock’s Hill and the focus of whole of catchment planning on display. We then took in the Black Spur Wetlands before heading to Pound Creek and Ryanston to see the amazing work of two Landcare legends.

Darryl Hook has been a volunteer board member and Landcare group member for many years. He has been recognised for his contribution to natural resource management and his property in Pound Creek is a testament to his passion.

“More than 25 years ago Darryl moved to Pound Creek and set about planting trees and restoring his property. It’s now a patch of paradise in the farming landscape. Starting 30 years ago with 7 trees, more than 125,000 native plants now surround all paddocks providing shade and shelter for the cows.…

Paul Speirs describes the property he bought 30 years ago as a “…blackberry infested grassy moonscape, devoid of trees, except for a few large remnant gums.” It’s now a temperate rainforest paradise.

“Paul’s place is one of the finest examples of riparian revegetation in Australia, If not the world,” said Ms Brennan. “It was a real treat for our delegates, Nikki and Joy to be able to plant a tree at Paul’s place.

“In a sense we saved the best till last. Paul and Darryl’s properties are the best examples of how an individual can make a difference with the support of Landcare, and our delegates were able to participate in this by planting a tree.

“There is something powerful about contributing to a legacy through tree planting.”

Australian Landcare International is a non-profit organisation supporting overseas communities to sustain their land, water and biodiversity.

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority would like to thank  ACIAR for sponsoring the visit, RMIT for helping host the event along with the Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network, South Gippsland Landcare Network and Bass Coast Landcare Network and their members for being so generous with their time and expertise.

John Crosby and Marnie Ellis (Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network), Charlie Pinch (President Tanjil Valley Landcare Group), Dr Mary Johnson (RMIT) Joy Tukahirwa from Uganda and Nikki Cordero from the Philippines.
Nikki Cordero from the Phillipines, WGCMA's Marnie Ellis, Dr Mary Johnson (RMIT) WGCMA's Martin Fuller, Joy Tukahirwa from Uganda and WGCMA's Dan Garlick
Paul Speirs (left) with Nikki Cordero from the Philippines and Bass Coast Lancare Network's Dave Bateman
Paul Speirs (left) with Joy Tukahirwa from Uganda and Bass Coast Lancare Network's Dave Bateman