The picnic this year was such a fun day from awards to pizza and soup, ‘Bushcare the Musical’ (staring the Bushcare Officers) to an informative snake show all while enjoying a beautiful winter’s day in the Megalong Valley.
Below are some highlights from the awards.
The Masters Award
The Masters Award recognises outstanding long term participation within the Bushcare Program. These are elders of our Bushcare community who have made a consistent long term contribution to their sites. This year two people will be awarded for this role as they are very much a dynamic duo.
Our first recipient took one of the earlier courses in Bush Regeneration at TAFE in the early 1980s under the tutelage of Jill Dark, acknowledged by many, as holding legendary status in the Blue Mountains.
In 1992 when Council initially employed an officer to manage Bushcare this person was very much a driving force behind the newly formed Birdwood Gully bushcare group. She was also involved in the early development of many other bushcare groups around Springwood including Deanei Reserve, Else Mitchell and Fairy Dell as well as the Bushcare Network. She is a keen local history buff, very active in the conservation movement, has encouraged many volunteers over the years and has been a vocal advocate for weed control and the environment in Springwood. Our first recipient for the Masters award is Elizabeth Mitchell
Our second recipient has also been actively involved in the Bushcare program and the Blue Mountains conservation network. A keen bird observer and bushwalker, they moved from Hobart up to Springwood in the mid 2000’s. Becoming very good friends with Elizabeth Mitchell, they have since become a very active member of Birdwood Gully Bushcare. Our second recipient for the Masters award is Liz Field
Both Liz Field and Elizabeth Mitchell have spent many, many hours on top of their regular Bushcare days working behind their property and doing a great job encouraging the neighbours to control weeds in their places along the back of Boland Avenue.
The Landcare Awards
The Landcare Award is for individuals who have made strong contribution to their Landcare Group. Landcare is the same activity as Bushcare but on land not managed by Council – which can include private property, schools & Crown land. A high proportion of our natural areas in the Blue Mountains are in this category, so the program is vital to our overall conservation goals.
This year’s Landcare Legend is the epitome of a good neighbour – hosting afternoon tea for new residents and assisting many local residents with weed identification and control, always ready to help with hands on work and bringing the community together to help anyone suffering ill-health or frailty.
She co-ordinates the monthly Bushcare group but her Bushcare commitment extends to assisting fellow residents to manage weeds on their own properties. She was central to establishing and ensuring the Bushcare / Landcare group since it started almost 10 years ago. She also bakes awesome cakes and attends remote Bushcare whenever she can!
Her generosity sharing her time and expertise was demonstrated particularly following the 2013 bushfires when there was a serious outbreak of Broom in St Georges Parade. She spent time with residents showing them how to deal with the Broom and working with them to control it. Her advice was well received and not only yielded good environmental results but strengthened community relationships at the same time.
Her capacity to do so much to support the local community continues to inspire and amaze the residents and community volunteers of Mount Victoria. Our recipient for the Landcare Award is Marianne Bates.
Hard Yakka Award
Michael Alexander accepting his Hard yakka Award from Mayor Clr Greenhill
The Hard Yakka Award acknowledges consistent support to a Bushcare Group. These people are hardworking volunteers who have added immense value to their groups and the natural areas in which they work.
This year’s Hard Yakka Award goes to a foundation member of Banksia Park Bushcare Group since it started in 2010 and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare group since 2010. He’s also very active in the Leura Park Bushcare Group and in the Gordon and Leura Falls Catchment Group. Always good-humoured, supportive, gentle, respectful and co-operative as well as hardworking and thorough – he’s an absolute bonus to all these groups. A lively advocate of Bushcare in the local area, he has hosted a stormwater workshop on his property, encouraging and supporting neighbours to implement weed management on their property. We are proud to recognise Michael Alexander with this year’s Hard Yakka award.
The Bushcare Legend
The Bushcare Legend of the Year Award is the highest level of recognition we can give individuals within the Bushcare Program. It recognises sustained efforts over many years. Legends are people who have provided leadership in the Bushcare program, as their contributions go beyond any particular group or site and extend to the broader Blue Mountains Bushcare community.
He is known as being stubborn, passionate, and ever-present, with a keen eye for detail and prepared to stand strong for Bushcare and the environment in many different capacities whether it be on the ground, at the lectern, street stall or the computer.
This person has been a member of many Bushcare Groups throughout the Mountains, starting with co-ordination of Summerhayes Park Bushcare Group and extending to Valley Of The Waters, Braeside, Charles Darwin Walk, Central Park, Coates Park, Everglades and most recently Marmion Swamp. They have also been involved in a range of Swampcare and Bushcare Events for a number of years, and been an active and committed member of the Bushcare Network for quite some time. In recent years, he founded and is the Co-Ordinator of the Jamison Creek Catchment Group. For the last few years, they have also been the volunteer photographer of the Bushcare Picnic! Congratulations to our Bushcare Legend of the year – Lachlan Garland, the winner of the “Golden Trowel”.
‘Bushcare the Musical’
There was a new addition of the musical this year where the Bushcare Officers put on a historically ‘accurate’ depiction of the history of Bushcare. We all had a giggle and sang along to the songs. We had great feedback from the volunteers and had requests for next year
Neville shared his knowledge on the snakes of the Blue Mountains when the afternoon tea was served. Bringing out one snake at a time to show us the features and explaining their habitat.