This summary of the recent NSW Landcare & LLS Conference in Broken Hill has been written by Craig Pullman, Regional Landcare Coordinator from North West Region. It’s hard to summarise a whole conference in two pages, but Craig has framed it as a showbag of goodies for those who couldn’t go, written in an entertaining and clear way:
Once again, farmers, conservationists, and those of us in between, came together. Some of the heavy issues and elephants in the room facing Landcare in the new Program were addressed up front. The large number of participants each had a voice thanks to some very nifty tech (Slid-o) which allowed everybody’s questions and comments to be facilitated and addressed in the Muster or Panel sessions. Grass Roots had a loud voice in this big forum – very impressive. The vibe of the whole show was summed up beautifully in this poem. Standing ovation. Worth a look.
The many speakers covered a diverse range of engaging topics. Their presentations are now available here .
The ones I spoke to are eager to share their ‘behind the scenes’ stories of how their programs succeeded and failed. Following are a couple of my choice recommendations from the presentations, around topics of interest.
- Adrian Zammit (Landcare NSW). Growing and developing a state peak body for Landcare NSW. I reckon this is compulsory reading. Adrian articulates where we are and where we should be going. Sam Stratton (LC Marketing and Comms) suggested Adrian is looking to visit the NW around March. Any ideas about opportunities, meetings or activity that may benefit us or Adrian are welcome – please raise it.
- Dr Karen Williams (Molonglo Conservation Group). Building resilience for Landcare and our landscapes in the face of an uncertain future. Karen spoke about balancing Corporate with Community. (read Govt Department with Grass Roots).
Youth engagement. This is a perennial issue for many organisations. If you think this is the future, here are some very successful and inspiring programs. The key is to read between the lines about how they actually got the kids engaged.
- Sally Hughes (Corowa District Landcare). Inspiring young landcarers to build healthy landscapes. Sally was a dynamic and energised young speaker
- Boorowa Educational Excursion Program (Beep). Year 5 farm kids teaching year 10 urban kids
- Ingrid Garland (National Waterbug Blitz and Envirocomm Connections). Bugs indicate water quality. Citizen scientists gather data. Kids dig it.
- Alison Osborne (Biodiversity Conservation Trust). The power of the individual in private land conservation. These slides explain what BCT is looking for and how the funding pots of money work. Very useful context for applications
- Sarah Connelly (Inland Rail). Inland Rail are looking for biodiversity projects to offset their construction route, under the NSW Biodiversity Offset Scheme
- Leigh Mcloughlin (Landcare NSW Government advisor) reminded us that asking for taxpayers money requires us to engage, represent and report etc. with the authorities and bureaucracy charged with protecting taxpayers money. Leigh also spoke about the importance of positive engagement with our local Members.
The presentations from the classic grass-roots Landcare groups moved me from inspired to just downright jealous. The work of the Greening The Hill group at Broken Hill is incredible, in a tough town in dry times they are kicking goals on 39 different fields. If you need a spark, look at the pres Greening the Hill Mk 2, from Simon Molesworth AO QC (Broken Hill Landcare).
The keynote speaker was Mr Charlie Arnott – A fine lookin’ rooster with impressive chest hair and a dynamic Landcare group that are wonderful Instagram fodder. Besides farming and art, Charlie has lots of skills and one of them is his flair for presentation and marketing in the online sphere.
The technical presenters are excellent resources. The slides do not do the speakers justice as they explained complex material very very well. In particular, check out:
- Susan Orgill on soil biomass
- John Leys on the off-farm impact of dust storms (maintaining groundcover is important for urban populations too!)
There were some good trade exhibits in addition to the Northern Slopes Landcare Association with their attention-grabbing sideshow freak cacti kept in a box. In particular…
- DPIE Climate Resilience and Net Zero Emissions (CRANZE). Resources available are the Climate Change Snapshot and the Adapt NSW brochure. Good science in a digestible format
- Saving Our Species program
- SureGro Products. Reveg gear (innovative plant guards, mulch mats, erosion control, soil ameliorants etc.) Very interesting to small or urban planters. Dale the rep can host a decent NRM preso and forum.
The networking opportunities were endless for a newbie. It was a great chance to mingle with some of our locals but importantly I could established contact with key folks in the wider organisation with a ‘face to the name’ of most of the Landcare NSW team, and of course the Regional Coordinators. The program for the Regional Coordinators is clearly still finding its feet. Since the conference however the Workplan template and an RLC Induction Meeting are both now in play.
In one word my biggest takeaway from the three day conference for the 2019-2023 Landcare Program is: COLLABORATION.