What is Landcare?
Most Australians have heard of Landcare and recognise the iconic logo of two hands forming the shape of Australia. But what is Landcare?
The Landcare Ethic – a philosophy, influencing the way people live and work in the landscape while caring for the land (soil, water and biota).
The Landcare Movement – local community action founded on stewardship and volunteerism, putting the philosophy into practice.
The Landcare Model – a range of knowledge generation, sharing and support mechanisms including groups, networks (from district to national levels), facilitators and coordinators, government and non-government policies, structures, programs and partnerships influencing broad-scale community participation in sustainable resource management.
At its heart, Landcare is about caring for your land and the land in your local area so that it will support our society and maintain our natural resources for generations to come.
Depending on where you live that might mean looking after your farm, nature strip, local bush reserve, beach – all kinds of land. Through Landcare, individuals and communities get the support, knowledge and resources necessary to do this work.
This poem by Max Schlachter, who was the Mount Alexander Region Landcare Facilitator from 2012-2015, captures the work and heart of some of our local Landcare groups:
Max’s Landcare Verse
It’s hard giving up a job you love,
Even if there was no shove.
So just before I take my cue,
Here’s a verse to say “hooroo”.
Baynton Sidonia is a group
Whose seminars are of repute.
They’re bringing back the local flora,
Noted on by first explorers,
But not seen much in recent times –
That Banksia seed is hard to find.
Langley isn’t far away
A ‘stone’s throw’ as they sometimes say.
It’s there you’ll find the Jimmy Poulter,
A creek that has been finely altered.
Once a mess of woody weeds,
Now the home of native trees.
Just up the track in little Barfold,
Where Needle Grass has got a foothold,
Jan and Barb and all the rest
Are giving it their honest best.
They’ve done a trial, and bought a Squirt,
Even made a book of what they’ve learnt.
Metcalfe doesn’t have a shop,
But don’t go through without a stop.
Or else you’ll miss the beaut cascades –
A water park that nature made.
The houses there have a lovely trait,
Landcare signs on every gate.
Malmsbury boasts a sprawling common
That might have sat there all forgotten,
Until the likes of John and co.
Decided it should not be so.
Pathways, plantings and willow-free,
Is that a platypus I see?
Down the road to Taradale,
Famous for its lofty rails.
The Gorse has copped some hefty flack,
Ninety feet below the track.
Landcare here has waxed and waned,
So does the moon; we don’t complain.
ELMA’s home is Elphinstone,
The place that rock’n’roll calls home.
The members have some vision in them,
They’ve planted up an arboretum.
And now the pub is back, hooray!
Let’s all hope it stays that way.
Over the Calder to Sutton Grange
(you’ll notice that the rocks have changed)
They’ve got their planting down to an art,
From Pilchers Bridge to the Mt Alex Park.
On Tree Day no one else comes close
To planting half what they can boast.
Still amongst the granite tors,
A group that very rarely bores.
Apples, quarry’s, pines and oaks,
Stone Henge too, and that’s no joke.
High up on their list of goals:
“We’ll fix the bridge, then take the tolls”.
Just up the road, but not too far,
North Harcourt Sedgwick Landcare starts.
Of weeds and rabbits they’ve done fair share,
These pioneers of Vic Landcare.
Forty thousand trees in one weekend?
What can’t be done with help from friends.
Here the Bushlands deserve a mention,
Chewton’s very own invention
Glen and Cate, Karen and others,
All helping the land as it recovers.
Radiata is going out
And Bluebell Creeper is getting a rout.
Golden Pointers love Forest Creek,
From the Res down to the Monster Meet.
At 21 years they’ve seen a bit,
Smiling and working with plenty of grit.
The birth of democracy and killing of weeds
Are things that they combine with ease.
Post Office Hill was spared the fate
Of being sold for real estate.
Instead its history is preserved
By POHAG – now there’s a word!
Working close with Chewton’s young,
It’s hard to tell who has more fun.
Down the highway, down the road
Is Chewton Landcare’s own abode.
Whitehorse Gully is looking splendid,
Thanks to those that love and tend it.
Now Parks has groomed the infestation,
Wattle Gully is the new sensation.
Castlemaine Landcare doesn’t dally,
With the work at Happy Valley.
Powered up on bakery treats,
Volunteers can do such feats.
The blanket made of Gorse is gone,
And native plants have come right on.
Float downstream like a fallen leaf,
You’ll soon arrive in Campbells Creek.
A creek with Friends, and Landcare too,
Climb the gorge for a better view.
The word ‘persistence’ hardly begins
To capture the spirit of Mr Higgins.
Moving up the hill a fraction,
McKenzies Hill is full of action.
Nesting boxes now abound,
Where hollows once could not be found.
And what about the structure plan?
You’d better have a word with Jan.
Kalimna Park is right in town,
A lovely place to stroll around.
The Eltham Coppers flutter there,
Not knowing that they’re very rare
Its Friends are mighty loyal ones,
Forty years and still not done.
The folks that live in Barkers Creek
Are pretty jolly when they meet.
Working bee or social occasion,
Either way it’s a celebration.
But one thing really hits a nerve –
Naming rights to their reserve.
In Muckleford there’s Landcare too –
Where roads are straight and corners few.
They’re planting out to hold the water,
Calling roadside weeds to order.
Pride of place, the Buloke grove,
Safely fenced from browsing foes.
Down the hill and down the map
Is Guildford Upper Loddon’s patch.
The group has members far and wide,
And utes with writing on the side.
The weeds that way will wilt with worry,
Just from catching sight of Maurie.
The Friends at Vaughan have more than springs,
They’ve got a slide that fairly zings.
Families flock to the leafy arbor,
Especially those with railway ardour.
And when you’re bored of these amusements,
Sit still; observe the leeches movements.
Sandy Creek’s without a hall,
But Landcare’s there for one and all.
The group’s seen plenty through the years,
Though nothing beats the one-eyed steer.
And a project name that really tickles –
‘Up the Creek Without a Prickle’.
Newstead Landcare loves its river,
And all the joys that it delivers.
They’ve got a plan for restoration
Of its natural vegetation.
But maybe what is best of all,
Knowledge shared in the local hall.
To some a MULGA is a tree,
But it means something else to me.
It’s Maldon Urban Landcare Group,
And like a tree it’s got strong roots.
With an eye on Maldon’s past,
The weeds are getting quite a blast.
Over the hill in Nuggetty,
Live members of the NLPG.
Land protection is their game,
But history too is in the frame.
Locals old and locals new,
Help each other to get through.
On the farm and at the river,
Baringhup Landcare’s on a winner.
Healthy soils for growing food,
And wildlife habitat renewed.
The local kids have played their part,
Every one knows how to plant.
Cactus Warriors are a special breed,
Of people fighting a Triffid weed.
Their weapons take on many forms –
Needles, barbecues and market stalls.
But what keeps members coming back?
The chance to wear a sparkly hat!
Well that’s the lot, for now at least,
A better crowd you’ll never meet.
Goodbye, and thank you, it’s been a blast
From my very first day, to this, my last.
Click on the links below to learn about the work of four different groups from our region.