Gippsland success at Victorian Landcare Awards

The Gippsland region was well represented at the recent Victorian Landcare Awards with several locals winning at the bi-annual event.

Partnerships and Engagement Team Leader at the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Belinda Brennan won the VFF/Landcare Victoria Heather Mitchell Memorial Fellowship Award for her outstanding work over 30 years in the Landcare Environment.

“This is an incredible honour to be acknowledged and I’m delighted to receive the award with Heather Mitchell’s name on it. A woman who did so much to establish Landcare in Victoria.”

Belinda’s work over many years has been innovative and sought to extend the reach of Landcare both locally and internationally through Australian Landcare International.

The award will allow Belinda to travel to Uganda where she will deliver a paper on Landcare in Victoria at the Uganda National Landcare Conference.

More local success came with Partnerships and Engagement Programs Coordinator Tony Gardner winning the Dr Sidney Plowman Travel and Study Award.

In 2010, Tony began working on the Healthy Soils Sustainable Farms Project which saw 30 per cent of West Gippsland farm businesses engaged over eight years, building the capacity of farmers and increasing the change to more sustainable practices. He is particularly proud of the work with Maffra Landcare increasing awareness of regenerative agriculture practices and the demonstration with South Gippsland Landcare on the Soilkee Renovator looking at innovation in soil health and production.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work in an area which matches my passions and work with the Landcare Networks, Industry and a farming community which is eager to embrace change,” said Tony who will use his award to further study regenerative agriculture practices and soil carbon markets.

The Bass Coast Landcare Network won the Landcare Network of the Year Award, reflecting its phenomenal impact over the last 10 years which has seen its member groups plant more than two million indigenous plants in the region.

The group also holds regular workshops and field days on sustainable agriculture as well as supporting four farmer discussion groups.

For those who think that Landcare is an activity solely for the older demographic, the last local winner may come as a surprise.

Gippsland Intrepid Landcare which works with younger people to engage them in environmental work won the Young Landcare Leadership Award for its work in attracting more than 300 young people to volunteer in a variety of projects over two years.

While many of the volunteers had no experience with Landcare, in two years the group has planted more than 10,000 trees, removed more than 30 kilograms of rubbish from a Phillip Island beach and removed invasive weeds from the Sandy Point Dune system.

By moving away from the traditional ‘working bee’ idea of Landcare and including such things as ‘plant and dance’ events, movie nights featuring environmental films as well as using social media to engage and recruit others, Intrepid has forged a unique and successful path.

If you are interested in becoming involved or learning more about Landcare in the Gippsland region ring the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority on 1300 094 262 or visit wgcma.vic.gov.au/getting-involved/landcare

Members of Intrepid Landcare with Governor Linda Dessau
WGCMA Partnerships and Engagement Programs Coordinator Tony Gardner winning the Dr Sidney Plowman Travel and Study Award
Partnerships and Engagement Team Leader at the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Belinda Brennan won the VFF/Landcare Victoria Heather Mitchell Memorial Fellowship Award
Members of The Bass Coast Landcare Network who won the Landcare Network of the Year Award