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2019 Muster for Landcare and partner organisations in the South East

June 2019

Peter Pigott

Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator

Land carers and staff in discussions at the muster

The South East Landcare community came together recently with the thought “We must work together like never before” top of mind.  We are experiencing change at rates and scales never previously experienced. Environmental, technological, social and economic changes are forcing us to consider whether what we do still delivers what we set out to achieve for our landscapes and the communities that depend on them.

Land carers and the organisations that support them come together in May each year at the annual Muster for Landcare and partner organisations in the South East.  The event is an opportunity for participants to hear about activities from around the region that are contributing to the goal of delivering resilient communities in productive healthy landscapes. In 2019 the 48 attendees represented between them over 147 groups and 3200 individual network members.  Joined again by the South East LLS board members, the muster set out to explore change in the following regional contexts:

Invasive species management – Local Land Services hosted a conversation about invasive species management with deer featuring as a priority issue for several areas.

Youth engagement was tackled with The Crossing – Land Education Trust leading a conversation about engaging young people in land management decision making.

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust presented information on their current programs and opportunities for organisations to partner with the Trust in the delivery of biodiversity conservation activities.

A conversation on getting through dry times, hosted by NSW Rural Resilience officer Ted O’Kane and the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program's Judy Carmody explored what different networks were doing to raise awareness of change and provide strategies and resources to address these. Key insight – there is no one size fits all as people are influenced by different factors.

A small farms network conversation hosted by Local Land Services focused on the challenges of working with absentee land managers and the opportunities that lie in peri-urban areas to engage land managers.  Key insight – absentee land managers respond to a different set of issues and this must be acknowledged when trying to reach them.

New NSW Landcare Program information was provided by Landcare NSW Council representative for the South East, Chris Post.  Key challenges with this program are the reduced level of funding available for Local Landcare Coordinators in the South East.

South East LLS Board Chair Allison Harker spoke of what LLS had achieved in its 5 years supporting land managers in the South East and introduced the board members. Allison’s messages for the groups were: Change is inevitable and we need to form strong community partnerships that are resilient, adaptable and outcome focused; State Collaboration in place – LLS delivery of $22.4M program with Landcare NSW; and South East Strategic Direction from the Board – value our Landcare partnership and want to work together to deliver common goals.

Participants explored change within their own context using the ‘Three Horizons’ workshop process. Themes emerging from this workshop included: better engagement with schools and youth, work with diverse perspectives and not just the ‘usual suspects’; and improve environmental literacy and the use of technology to motivate the wider community in addressing these changes.