Magazine article Ecos

Grassroots as Important as Ever Says Landcare Pioneer

Magazine article Ecos

Grassroots as Important as Ever Says Landcare Pioneer

Article excerpt

Landcare's 20th birthday celebrations from 7 to 13 September this year provided an opportunity for Australians to reflect on the movement's significant legacy.

It was Landcare that introduced thousands of farmers and others with a connection to the land to ideas like whole farm planning, fencing to land type, collective neighbourhood approaches to rabbit and weed control, and planting indigenous trees for salinity control and gully stabilisation.

Today, around 100 000 volunteers--members of more than 6000 Landcare and Coastcare groups across the country--continue to plant trees and shrubs on degraded land, fence off streams and gullies to protect regrowth, establish wildlife corridors, set up sustainable farming research trials and restore wetlands.

The Landcare national program began in 1989 when--with impetus from the National Farmers' Federation's Rick Farley, the Australian Conservation Foundation's Philip Toyne and others--Prime Minister Bob Hawke announced government support for a national program, declaring the 1990s as the Decade of Landcare and pledging an unprecedented level of national funding for landcare and nature conservation.

'They were heady days, infused with optimism underpinned by the solid foundations of community enthusiasm, bipartisan support, the NFF--ACF partnership and a decade-long funding commitment,' recalls Australia's first National Landcare Facilitator, Andrew Campbell, now a consultant. …

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