“Wow! I just love being part of the ‘Bridges to Boorowa’. The amazing teams of Boorowa Landcare & North Sydney Council Bushcare together with the landowners need to be congratulated for all the planning, preparation and expense enabling us to achieve such a wonderful outcome and plant so many native trees in such a short space of time.” This is one of many testimonials from Merinda Hewat-Cameron, enthusiastic North Sydney Bushcare volunteer.
On Friday 7th September to Sun 9 September 2018, 31 volunteers and 8 members of the North Sydney Council Bushland Team joined Boorowa Community Landcare members and local landholders to plant a total of 4695 trees and shrubs to provide habitat for local wildlife around Boorowa in South West NSW.
The annual ‘Building Bridges to Boorowa weekend’ for the North Sydney volunteers is their connection to the country; their chance to experience good old-fashioned hospitality and support the local community through its challenging times. These volunteers stay in local accommodation, eat in the pubs, clubs & bakeries, purchase arts & crafts and handmade produce. The hospitality offered to the volunteers by the landholders who appreciate their support is overwhelming. It’s the relationships that have grown between these people that is an outstanding celebration of this 19-year-old partnership.
On the Friday afternoon volunteers planted 880 trees at Ingrid & Chris Corcoran’s property, ‘Ballagh’. They were joined by Boorowa Central Year 10 geography students, who had the pleasure of a reciprocal visit to the Coal Loader Sustainability Centre at North Sydney in June of this year. The students got an appreciation of the history of this programme and were able to chat to the city volunteers while they worked together. After a nourishing afternoon tea, volunteers were bussed to the second site. Peter & Elizabeth Mason have been involved in 18 of the 19 years, and this year at ‘Hawkhill’ 920 trees and shrubs were planted.
Day 2 started with platypus spotting on the Boorowa River at dawn, then the volunteers split into two groups. One headed for Geoff and Sharman Darnell’s property ‘Murloona’ to plant 325 trees; the second team went to David & Elaine Sainsbury’s property ‘Rosewood’ in Rye Park and planted 450 native tubes. After morning tea, the groups reunited at Ben Johnson’s property ‘Somersby’ to plant 1000 trees and then onto James Best’s ‘Elm Park’ to plant 640 trees.
From Elm Park they headed to ‘Little Forest’ Erik and Leanne Leihn’s property for a moving tribute to Ken Stewart a North Sydney Council Bushcare Volunteer and long-time supporter of the Building Bridges to Boorowa programme. Ken and his wife Sissi only missed the first year and the last two due to ill health. Friends Erik and Leanne kindly offered their property as a site for the installation of a plaque and memorial tree planting.
On Saturday evening, Boorowa Community Landcare Group held a celebratory dinner at the Boorowa Recreation Club to thank everyone involved. Dignitaries included Cr Brian Ingram Mayor of the newly amalgamated Hilltops Council. The Hon. Pru Goward, Member for Hume, was due to attend but was unable due to a family illness. Cr Wendy Tuckerman, former Mayor of Boorowa, was there to celebrate the weekends achievements. BCLG would especially like to thank Mayor Brian Ingram for pledging ongoing support for the Building Bridges to Boorowa programme.
After dinner, they enjoyed an interesting presentation by Graham Fifield, ACT Senior Project Manager Greening Australia on the conservation of the superb parrot through the implementation of Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR) and other vegetation restoration techniques. Kath McGuirk, the Chair of Boorowa Community Landcare Group gave a rundown of some of the other activities BCLG are involved with and the fun really began with the raffle, winners received jams, condiments and wine and luckiest of all won a bag of sheep poo.
Sunday morning was more relaxed, with some opting for a bush walk at ‘Kangiara’ while others planted some 480 plants on a capped mine site. Kath & Richard McGuirk said the Soil Conservation Service, a state government department, had undertaken soil conservation works on the tailings from the old gold mine as they contained arsenic, a by-product of gold mining.
The volunteers were farewelled with a final morning tea in the paddock with fresh scones, local made jams and cream.
Thanks to the BCLG committee, for their many hours of work and North Sydney Bushcare team for the coordination of their volunteers, unwavering support and enthusiasm over the weekend.
Thanks also to the landholders who spent months preparing their paddocks for plantings. As Nell, a NSBC veteran said, “Yours is magnificent land and deserves this care. We so much enjoy contributing & hope the opportunity continues.”
Thanks a million, to everyone involved!
Next year will celebrate 20 years; it should be a good one.