Environment Benefits from Landcare Love
BY DI SNEDDON
It is National Landcare Week and Muswellbrook’s Stephen Thatcher says the organisation has never been busier or more diverse.
Stephen is chair of the Hunter Region Landcare Network, is a direct member of the Muscle Creek Landcare Group and the Muswellbrook Sustainability Hub.
The Network covers a huge area from Murrurundi to Lake Macquarie and from July 1, the Mid Coast also came under the regional network and there is no quick answer when you ask what the groups do.
To give readers an understanding of the projects, there are 200 Landcare Groups involved in different projects at Lake Macquarie alone.
Projects range from weed eradication, community gardens, bush fire recovery, farm practice workshops, revegetation, erosion improvements, tree planting, protecting and improving koala habitat, coastal and waterway projects and the list goes on as does Stephen’s involvement with the Landcare Network.
Stephen said he thought he retired in 1995 after working with the Water Resources Commission and this was at a time when Muscle Creek Landcare was just starting up. Stephen hosted that initial meeting in his home. About 30 people were in attendance with ambitious goals of improving Muscle Creek to the point that muscles could return to the waterway.
The Regional Network was first muted in 1996 and formed at Tocal Agricultural College in 1998 largely to get volunteers working on projects and not bogged down in administrative duties.
There are now six employees with offices based at the Wetlands Centre in Newcastle.
Stephen is inspired by witnessing the outcomes of Landcare Work in the past.
Walking along the track at Muscle Creek he stops regularly to see how past projects are progressing and you can sense his satisfaction as he points out what has been done and what is planned for the future.
Landcare Week is from August 1 to 7 to acknowledge those who are actively restoring, enhancing and protecting the natural environment in their community. New volunteers are always welcome.