From city to bush
Building bridges to Boorowa volunteers in 2014
For the past 20 years, Bushcare volunteers from North Sydney Council have travelled five hours to Boorowa in southwest New South Wales as part of a unique Landcare partnership that brings together like-minded people from the city and country.
Birthed from a desire for city dwellers wanting to do something proactive to help address issues in the bush, the Building Bridges to Boorowa program is a partnership between North Sydney Council, Boorowa Community Landcare Group (BCLG) and Hilltops Council.
Every year around 40 Bushcare volunteers make the journey in September to spend three days assisting landholders with revegetation projects.
Over the years, the tree planting partnership has seen more than 60,000 native trees, shrubs and ground covers planted on local properties. The results have helped reduce soil salinity and erosion, restored habitat, improved water quality and created wildlife corridors.
It’s no small task preparing an area for planting. Substantial work is undertaken by local landholders in the lead-up to these weekends to ensure the volunteers can maximise their impact and operational objectives are met. Each planting area needs to be fenced off to protect the new trees from livestock, weeds treated, and the soil needs to be loosened to allow for easy planting. But the efforts are well worth it. What a group of volunteers can achieve in a weekend can take a landholder a year to complete.
Volunteers brave all sorts of weather conditions. They’ve planted in the cold, the wind, the rain and even the heat. But while the weather may change, the warm country welcome and hospitality has remained the same and many seeds of friendships have been sown along the away.
While much has been achieved through the Building Bridges to Boorowa program, its benefits go far beyond impressive statistics. It is the friendships that have grown alongside these plantings that truly symbolise the value of this program and the model it provides for others to embrace.