by Monica Nugent
Birriban Katoomba High School Landcare Group was recognised at the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Local Land Services Regional Landcare Awards Ceremony on 15th May. They won both the Indigenous Landcare and the Junior Landcare category.
Last year Gary Rule, Katoomba High’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer, approached David King, BMCC Bushcare Legend of the Year 2015, for assistance to connect students to country. Supported by Elly and Becky Chatfield, Monica Nugent from BMCC Bushcare and the Science department’s Steven Ahern, a new sport option: “Birriban Katoomba High Landcare” was born. Greater Sydney Local Land Services has funded the purchase of tools and a second bush regeneration supervisor who will commence shortly.
Birriban is connecting another generation with country, teaching them about the Aboriginal pathways from the Gully to the Kedumba River and the Indigenous history and culture associated with their local environment. It is engaging young people through on-ground conservation work, horticulture and creative arts and working with neighbours to undertake more sustainable property management.
Students are working on the school’s remnant bushland located on Banksia Streamlet in Katoomba. Guided by members of the local Aboriginal community, school staff and a Council Bushcare Officer, they are enjoying the outdoors environment in a non-competitive environment, building teamwork skills and learning bush regeneration, horticulture and agriculture as well as Indigenous knowledge.
This latest effort means volunteers are undertaking Bushcare on all of the remnant bushland and across all tenures in the Banksia Streamlet sub-catchment. It is a great example of interagency and community co-operation with Katoomba High, Council, Greater Sydney Local Land Services, National Parks and local residents all involved.
The combined efforts of Council’s Banksia Park Bushcare, Birriban and the NPWS managed Vihara Landcare and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare Groups compliments Council’s Leura Falls Creek Protection project and helps secure funding for contracted bush regeneration on important natural bushland and the adjacent Blue Mountains National Park.