Australia Day Landcare Awards 2020 award winners were Roger Clark and Steve Bunnell
‘For pioneering innovative revegetation practices & projects, as a foundation member of Boorowa Community Landcare Group’.
Roger Clark has always had a strong family influence when it comes to his principles of conserving the environment. Mostly this was learnt by osmosis from his father, Ron Clark, about revegetation and connectivity in the landscape. In 1972, Ron was concerned about the population of flora and fauna declining; he preserved a 40-acre remnant area on their property ‘Hillrose’ near Boorowa, NSW. After doing so, a visit from respected naturalist Rainer Rehwinkel identified over 75 species of vegetation in this area.
Roger became involved in Landcare when it started in Boorowa in 1989. Roger was on the Boorowa Landcare Committee for many years and with clear guidance and huge generosity of his time, did 2 terms as President.
Alongside neighbours Nola and John McKewan and other founding members including David Marsh and Tim McGrath, they instigated early Landcare projects.
The foundation members of BCLG noticed trees dying on their properties; they sought funding and motivated landholders to deal with the issue in what was dubbed the salt shaker project. This project started 30 years ago to deal with rising water tables and dryland salinity which was poisoning the country side with salt. The results of this project identified salt resistant tube stock, promoted the importance of perennial plants and trees in the district and transformed the landscape.
Roger’s strong Landcare commitment became an example to others with many field days and events hosted at ‘Hillrose’. The Clarks have been involved in many monitoring programs, including piezometer data used in the Boorowa Catchment Plan. Nicky Taws from Greening Australia has done many bird surveys to compare number and type of species in remnant vegetation with re-vegetated areas.
However, it was Roger’s bringing the Direct Seeding method of planting to NSW which has helped to transform the Boorowa district. He had seen a trial in South Australia, where trees had been planted using a direct seeding machine and was excited by the results. Roger was responsible for the BCLG Committee sourcing sponsorship to purchase a Roden 111 seeder and being the first in NSW to use the technique. Direct Tree Seeding is suitable for all types of planting including windbreaks, habitat, and biodiversity plantings. A large area can be sown in a short period of time and he felt that this would make tree planting achievable and manageable for himself and other primary producers. When asked what his greatest challenge was, Roger identified it ‘to be ecologically sustainable and economically viable.’
Boorowa Community Landcare Group in 2020 is also focusing on resilience in dry times. Biodiversity of plants and animals and the importance of a covered soil, managed pastures and managed bushland to rehydrate the land for higher production and improved landscape health.
‘For outstanding service to Boorowa Community Landcare Group and passion for on farm revegetation.’
At the Australia Day awards ceremony in Boorowa in 2020, Steve Bunnell was recognised for his dedication to the Landcare community.
With family and a fulltime job in administration in Sydney, Steve constantly juggles distance and time to devote to his property near Harrys Creek, Boorowa NSW.
His interest in Landcare was sparked by a conversation with Steve Jarvis at a pasture assessment field day at David Marsh’s property near Boorowa in 2013. It was here he met many local landholders and Boorowa Community Landcare Group (BCLG) Committee members. He was introduced to several knowledgeable presenters and the STAC (Sole, Toe, Ankle and Calf) method of assessing pastures.
He became a member of the Landcare group at the next Boorowa Show, planted his free trees and he was hooked. Since then, he has regularly participated in various Landcare events including soil erosion and water workshops, grazing group paddock walks and supported the North Sydney Bushcare planting weekends. Being a member of the Landcare community enabled Steve to expand not only his skills and knowledge, but also his social network.
In 2015, after seeing a call for help seeking new committee members to execute a grant opportunity, Steve joined the Committee and has since been an active member and an excellent treasurer. His skills and accounting experience have brought a noticeable professionalism to BCLG’s financial reports and he competently manages the finances of the groups’ current multifaceted projects. He has executed this role with due diligence and a high degree of accountability, but humbly says ‘his job has been made a lot easier working with a great Committee.’
Steve actively promotes Landcare in the community and enjoys the interaction it brings with other community groups and Natural Resource Management (NRM) organisations like Local Land Services and Greening Australia. Steve has been a strong supporter of the BCLG Re-Gen Grazing Group and has found participating in and hosting farm visits to be a great mentor program.
Alongside Steve’s passion in the community, is a connection to land and the importance of revegetation and protection of our natural resources. Steve has prioritised biodiversity protection and perennial plants on his property and literally battled blizzards while planting trees on his farm.
He said that the greatest challenge for Landcare in NSW is the constant uncertainty of funding to support the local groups capacity to deliver events and on ground works.
Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Landcare groups offer support, organise community activities and provide networks for interaction and pathways to recovery. The Boorowa Community Landcare Group is grateful to all it’s hard working volunteers and this year celebrates Steve Bunnell for his service to the community.
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