A Year of Amazing Work: Updates from Landcare NT's 2023 AGM Members Forum
Landcare NT held their Annual General Meeting last Thursday, 30 November with Darwin based members attending in person at Melaleuca Australia, and members from Alice Springs joining in via Teams.
Emily Raso, Executive Officer of Landcare NT, opened the meeting with an Acknowledgement of Country and recognition of the Landcare Groups for their exceptional work caring for many of the unique and vital landscapes across the NT.
A forum was held with several Landcare Group members sharing their activities for the year highlighting the significant impact that volunteers have in their communities and in their natural environments. Activities such as removing invasive weeds and plants, clearing out rubbish, planting local native species and watering trees help to ensure precious waterways, coastal areas, mangroves, forests and arid landscapes are more resilient against threats of fire, biodiversity loss, erosion, climate and other stressors.
In addition to the incredible projects on the ground, many Members held events and educational seminars through the year creating opportunities for different community members to become aware of and involved with the important work happening across the NT. In Alice Springs, Centralian Land Management Association held their first Red Centre Rural Ladies Day, celebrating the contributions that rural women of the Central Desert Region make to life on the land with over 90 attendees. Liz Bird, president of the Centralian Land Management Association explained how social and community events such as this and many others are an important way for communities to stay connected providing greater resilience in the face of some of the unique challenges that occur in an arid environment such as flash flooding, fires and drought.
In the Darwin area Deb Hall, facilitator of Casuarina Coastal Reserve Landcare Group, shared an innovative joint project with Parks and Wildlife called ‘Adopt A Spot’ aimed at local eradication of invasive gamba grass on the reserve. The partners are working together to support volunteers who have Adopted a Spot and will map and remove gamba grass in the ‘spots’ across the Reserve with the support of Park Rangers, the Gamba Army and neighboring land holders.
Activities such as these provide valuable opportunities for collaboration with organisations with aligned values and goals, helping to strengthen Landcare efforts and sharing of resources.
The NT Field Naturalists’ Landcare Group president Andrew Bell was pleased to report an amazing 13,000 followers on their Facebook Page which has attracted both a local and international audience with its stunning photos and fascinating information on local flora and fauna. Focused primarily on education and advocacy, the Group has delivered a range of activities including walks with nature experts giving talks on topics such as spiders, and other local flora and fauna. They have also been involved in the Save Lee Point advocacy campaign to protect this remnant high value bushland.
Andy Peart, Coordinator for Weedwalkers Top End Landcare Group - one of Landcare NT's newest groups - reported on some of the more remote work that volunteers are taking on, which includes surveying and treating remote patches of gamba and other invasive plants in the Tabletop and Tableland Rangers areas within Litchfield National Park. Like Casuarina Coastal Reserve's Adoptaspot program, Weedwalkers Top End is about a continuing partnership with park rangers and management - using skilled and co-ordinated, safety-conscious volunteers to practically help deal with the overwhelming threat of invasive plant species, which pose a risk to our ancient savannah woodlands and monsoon forests over coming decades.
It’s not all work however, Andy points out, as the group get to enjoy the solitude and beauty of the wild and remote country they hike into and some pretty amazing swimming, camping and relaxing at the end of the day.
Want to hear more stories and updates on the amazing work our Landcare Groups are doing? Keep an eye out on our Facebook Page, where we will also soon be sharing our 2023 Celebrating Landcare in the NT document. To learn more about Landcare NT and our Group Members or to enquire about volunteering with a Landcare Group visit our website at www.landcarent.org.au. Volunteering not only helps protect our precious natural environments but is a great way to connect with your community, have some fun and enjoy some relaxing time in nature.