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    16 Local Groups Share Activities in Roundup

    chris montgomery smgTvepind4 unsplashSixteen Landcare, Rivercare and Interest group representatives gathered online at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 10th November 2021 for the 20th Annual General Meeting of Southern New England Landcare Ltd.

    Due to Covid-19, the meeting was held online for the first time ever.

    Re-elected President, Richard Daugherty said, "We were unsure how many would attend the AGM as an online meeting, given members usually love getting together to network in person, but it was a great success and ran very smoothly."

    Minutes of the Annual General Meeting can be downloaded here.

    In addition to the usual Annual General Meeting items, each group representative shared a short (2 minute) update on their activities, challenges and future plans in what's called 'Around Our Groups'.

    Karen Zirkler, CEO of Southern New England Landcare, said, "I love the Around Our Groups section of these meetings.

    "It's so inspiriing to hear how much work is being done, quietly, consistently across our region, to improve community, environment and agricultural outcomes. 

    "Our group members are so passionate about their patch and they use their initiative, passion and local resources to solve local challenges," she said.

    The following is a summary of the Around Our Groups segment of the meeting.

    1. Peter Metcalfe (Dumaresq Landcare) – not a lot happened during the drought but lots of regeneration is now taking place post drought. There has been a little bit of planting, but the latest event was the cyclone which did a lot of damage in the Dumaresq group area. People are still tidying up and expect to do lots of replanting. Along Boorolong Road, a number of places have been damaged. 
    2. Bruce Whan (Armidale Urban Rivercare) – currently doing some work for the St Peters pre school area, plus a river rock path for the kids to walk down to the creek under supervision. Another corporate planting with Goodyear in the new year. A major clean up effort at Ken Jones Park (2002 planting) to prepare a planting site. Next year 20th anniversary and planning a major anniversary public event at this area.
    3. Bryan Johnston (Armidale Urban Rivercare Group) – planning a meeting with council. Creeklands are well hydrated and so the weeds are too!
    4. Jill Moore-Kashima (Soil Health Forum) – plans for an event were impacted by covid. Raised some money with a street stall in Uralla. Were going to run an event with David Hardwick and David Carr. Recently put together a plan for a different event, which will apply for grant funding. The event will concentrate on soils under natural systems. Hoping to bring in peri-urban folks with small areas of bushland, and what to do the enhance and repair native system soils. Hoping to make it happen in Autumn, based at Jill’s place near Retreat. Jill has managed to involve some other locals who have never been involved before.
    5. Bill Perrottet (Malpas Catchment Group) – a few group meetings coordinated by Rachel Lawrence. Three large grant proposals were not funded which was very disappointing. Looking forward to working with 2ROG on the ARC catchment water quality plan in the near future.
    6. Richard Daugherty (Balala-Brushgrove Landcare) – were unsuccessful in a grant application this year. Hosted the Greener Grazing event (virtual field day) at Lana with Tim Wright, Judi Earl and Mark Gardner as presenters. Landcare Australia Landcare farming program involved 12 landholders from the area forming up two groups – carbon accounting program and natural capital accounting program.
    7. Arleen Packer (Save the Regent Honey Eater Group) – attended Greener Grazing and the Koala event at Newholme. Noted the wonderful efforts of staff member Struan Ferguson who has been helping the group. Haven’t been as active this year due to covid but still had 5 meetings. Attended Sue and Peter Metcalfe’s place to learn seed collection – a great day. Peter assisted Arleen to identify trees on her property. Attended the field trip to the Bundarra Common to look at habitat. Kingstown school planting happened despite all the problems due to covid. Have a little money left over. Have enjoyed the year. Thanked Struan and everyone at Landcare.
    8. Steve Harvey (Dangarsleigh Landcare) – a few signs that the group may rejuvenate due to a visit and sausage sizzle with the Koala project officer Des Andersen and Struan Ferguson. This brought out some of the old members. A lot of the original pine trees planted in the district are now dying and falling over so need dealing with.
    9. Helen Stokes (Friends of Angophora Bushland Reserve) – the reserve is used by lots of folks wanting a quick walk on an accessible piece of bushland. Had a couple of working bees in Autumn with neighbours of the reserve. Lots of weeds but also some lovely native grasses. Some of the Angophoras are getting quite old and a bit battered from storms. Helen commented on the South Armidale Walking Track project/group where work is being done by a single contractor at the moment.
    10. Peter Barkley (Friends of Barry Munday Reserve) – the group got a grant to finish the tennis courts which are now playable, another grant from Uralla Co-op to help with admin costs, have remodelled the old brick barbecue, changed the tank stand into a timber table, benches under the pine trees, a bird watch, and an equipment shed. Planning a koala planting, redoing the 125 year old fence, erecting a sign at the front gate, and a community BBQ, tennis, cricket and outdoor film night as a Christmas party. Thanks to all the office staff for their help and encouragement.
    11. Michael Taylor (New England Agriwoodland Network & Harnham) – has been fairly inactive in the last 18 months due to covid restrictions (although there was one recent site visit by peer group mentors). Hosted Silvopasture event which was delayed by a year and then went online as a virtual event due to covid, so a smaller event than originally planned. Speakers included Rowan Reid from the Otway Ranges, Nick Reid from UNE, Michael presented from in the paddock. A number of members are involved in the Thunderbolt project for threatened woodland birds. Andrew Hugget has been monitoring bird species as part of that project. Znet is helping Uralla Shire be net zero carbon by 2030, which involves rural landholders. Potential submission to Harnham Landcare group to look back over their data from the last 30 years. Proposal from Prof Martin Toms (riparian restoration) to pull together a monitoring project for riparian zones. Focus on Salisbury Waters catchment. Working with NT LLS.
    12. David Mailler (Harnham Landcare) – planting of 400 trees on David's property but unfortunately frost has decimated them, pleasing to see how much regeneration there has been with the wetter weather. Covid has had a significant impact on the ability to get together as a group.
    13. Bev Stubberfield (Uralla Rivercare Group) – Uralla and Kentucky Creeks have both flooded several times this year. With all the rehydration they have had the return of blackberry, honeysuckle and bamboo along the creek. Most of the seven sites are looking quite good. Some riparian zones looking better than others. 2022 the group will be 21 years old – would like to plan an event to celebrate the achievements that are looking so good. Need a lot more pollution traps in future plans. Would like to look at another 10 year plan next year. Bev noted she has really enjoyed the board meetings. Bev thanked the staff and congratulated staff for all the success in funding.
    14. Helen Webb (People’s Park Group) – a small group that look after maintenance of some of the HiCUB sites on Dumaresq Creek in Armidale, which this year have been affected by flooding and soil scouring. Have been weeding these sites. Different sites have different weed problems e.g. privet, Chilean Needle Grass. Delightful to see all the plantings of ATG, HiCUB and Rivercare being enjoyed and appreciated by the residents and the small birds. Helen gets a lot of comments.
    15. Kate Boyd/Helen Webb (Sustainable Living Armidale Inc) – Helen is now the SLA Convenor, and working with Armidale Regional Council to get a biodiversity strategy that builds on some of the work by the Koala project. Also looking at a strategy for how the community benefits might be gained through the renewable energy projects in the region, and how this might play out. There could be a strategic approach regionally.
    16. Sara Schmude (Friends of Black Gully) – HiCUB plantings occurred around 2011, and the last lot were a virtual planting during covid with live music. Holding a festival in March and Sara will plan a membership drive at that time. The native plantings are doing well, with lots of wildlife evident. The riffle and pond structure is working well.
    17. Struan Ferguson (representing staff) noted that it’s a great team to work with, especially with a couple of new team members for Koala and Malpas coming on board now.
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