A LITTLE group from the Muswellbrook Shire celebrated a big win at the 2019 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference and Awards in Broken Hill last week.
Martindale Creek Catchment Landcare (MCCL) was named the NSW Australian Community Media (ACM) Landcare Community Group grand champion in front of more than 300 people.
The event acknowledges the incredible endeavours to protect NSW land, water and biodiversity, in a diverse range of categories, including farming, Coastcare and indigenous land management.
And, MCCL was delighted to be among the nominations - let alone triumph.
"We were excited to win the award," said secretary Marion Woolley, who represented MCCL along with president Pauline Sykes and vice-president Ishbell Collins at the function.
"It recognises our efforts and achievements in caring for the 'community as a community'.
"We're a fairly young group, forming in December 2014, so we were surprised [with the victory].
"Although, we were encouraged to attend, which meant we were a one-in-three chance of winning.
"The others [regional champions] in our category included Bangalow Koalas Inc and Bouddi Bushcare.
"But, we're now the grand champions.
"It's really nice recognition for all of our work."
MCCL's main focus is on weeds; their identification, suppression and eradication.
"As a Landcare group, we - the landholders of Martindale, Horseshoe and Bureen - became one 'manager' of the entire Martindale Creek catchment," Mrs Woolley said.
"And, the issues we tackle have a broad-reaching effect.
"Martindale Creek flows out of the Wollemi National Park and is a tributary of the Hunter River.
"So, we provide a forum for members to collaboratively improve the resources and support structures available for natural resource management within our catchment by bringing people together to implement enduring and well-supported solutions; develop policies and programs which encourage and educate the community in sustainable natural resource management; represent and advocate on behalf of the Martindale Creek community, as well as the Martindale Creek Catchment Landcare.
"To date, MCCL has managed several initiatives, which include Coolatai and St John's Wort Eradication Project; Honey Locust Eradication Project; Green Cestrum Control Program; and Wildlife Trail Camera Surveys.
"These projects, together with the education and training provided to landholders, has given them the impetus to tackle what was, in some cases, an overwhelming problem."
Landcare NSW chair Stephanie Cameron and Local Land Service counterpart Richard Bull paid tribute to the award finalists and champions.
"It was a great celebration of Landcare in NSW," the latter said.
"The awards recognised individuals, groups and partnerships across the state as well as, and most importantly, First Nations custodians caring for country.
"On behalf of the Landcare NSW community, I congratulate all the nominees and recipients of the awards," Mrs Cameron added.
"Landcare is about communities working together to create positive outcomes for the environment and the agricultural landscape across NSW.
"It has never been more important that we continue to support and recognise the dedication and commitment of our Landcarers and recognise their tremendous efforts."
MCCL will now represent NSW in its category at the National Landcare Awards in Sydney in 2020.
Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award - Nerida Croker
Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award - Floating Landcare
Australian Government Landcare Farming Award - Amarula Dorpers
Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Award - Land to Market
Virgin Coastcare Award - Take 3 Ltd
Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award - Martindale Creek Catchment Landcare Inc
Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award - Megalong Valley Public
Indigenous Land Management Award - Aunty Francis Bodkin
Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award - Richie Benson
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.