Landcare Storytellers – Farmers and rural communities are working together to improve natural resource management through Landcare
By Julie Reid
Jiggi Catchment Landcare group (JCLG) is one of the more established Landcare groups on the North Coast of NSW. The group formed in 1992 while the alternative movement of the ‘Rainbow Region’ was at its peak.
Unlike rural communities that were coming together across Australia to form Landcare groups, with a vision of changing the modus operandi of farming rural Australia, our group set about creating a small forest habitat for wildlife behind the local school, an outdoor classroom for the students, our children. We were seen to be green, harmless and basically an extension of the hippy movement.
Twenty-five years down the track JCLG are one of the more successful Landcare groups in the region attracting large sums of money, primarily through grants from the NSW Environmental Trust. Our success can be attributed to strong partnerships, a strategic approach to natural area restoration, community education and more importantly to committed landowners.
The group strives to find pathways for building relationships between all sectors of the community. As the secret of the groups success filters through to the community and natural area restoration projects are promoted through social media and open field days, membership grows.
The group membership now has a broad socio-economic base and includes those members of the community that make their living from farming as well as ‘life stylers’. Farmers are being supported to undertake activities that improve landscape-scale conservation as well as site managed projects.
Financial assistance for environmental restoration works caters for organic farmers by designing and implementing habitat restoration projects that focus on physical removal of invasive weeds.
Farmer members have a sound knowledge of how to manage their land sustainably but are often overwhelmed when confronted with the abundance and resilience of weed species thriving in the high rainfall of the sub tropics.
Attendance at the many JCLG field days to learn weed control techniques is useful, but what is more beneficial is assisting landowners to access funding to pay a qualified bush regenerator to work alongside them enabling them to learn on the job and to get to a point where only follow up weed control work is required.
As JCLG moves into a quarter century of working with the community the group is no longer seen as the ‘hippies’ or ‘alternatives’ but have, through their successes, gained credibility and respect as a valued community organisation.
Farmers and rural communities are working together to improve natural resource management through Landcare.
Contact: Julie Reid, Taulangau Wildlife Refuge, 211 Davis Rd, JIGGI NSW
Ph: 61 2 66888320,