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Living Lightly column

Wooragee Landcare marks 30 years

By Karen Bowley, Member of Wooragee Landcare and Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health

Wooragee Landcare has been active in the community since 1989.  It was formed by local landholders with the aim to motivate and support landholders to engage in sustainable land management practices, improve the management of our natural environment and its resources for future generations.

Wooragee became the second Landcare group in Victoria, after Springhurst.

Early activities tackled the two main problems which were identified as weeds and rabbits.  Other issues such as creek and gully erosion, shelter belts, species identification, seed collection and fox control followed. The main weeds of Paterson’s Curse and St John’s Wort are now no longer a dominant part of the Wooragee landscape.

Thirty years on, Wooragee Landcare is still going strong.  While we are still vigilant about weeds, rabbits and fox control, we are also involved in special activities such as our Cultural Burn project where landholders can learn about indigenous land management techniques, and our Banksia Project which is growing and planting Banksia Marginata, once abundant, but now a declining species in our region.

We also focus on water quality, revegetation, offer education and social events and provide assistance, advice and encouragement for native flora and fauna rehabilitation and conservation.

Wooragee Junior Landcare, at the Wooragee Primary School, became the first in Victoria, also formed in 1989.  The whole school community was involved and guest speakers and local farmers came to the school on a regular basis.

The pupils learned the skills of seed collection and propagation and planted indigenous trees along a badly eroded stream bed off Edmondson Lane.

It was because of these initiatives that the Wooragee school, with a student population of 25, received the very first National Landcare Award for its contribution to education and commitment to make the environment a better place than when they found it.

To this day the school practices Landcare principles as part of its curriculum and with a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden, students learn about growing and cooking food.

Where ever you are, you can become involved in caring for your local environment.  There are urban Landcare groups too such as Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability (BULS) or Wodonga Urban Landcare Network (WULN).  What do you do to care for your environment?