Landcare Volunteers recognised at award ceremony in Launceston

Three Launceston Landcare groups were recognised at the organisation’s state awards on Saturday. 

Helen Eastburn of the West Tamar Landcare Group received the Individual Landcarer Award. 

Mrs Eastburn, together with her husband Ross, founded the group in 1992. 

“We started the Landcare group because we had a problem of soil erosion on our property and we didn’t quite know how to deal with it,” she said. 

“So we were advised by the government department that we should start a Landcare group.”

Mrs Eastburn called a public meeting at Exeter High School and it had a “wonderful response”, she said and that’s how the committee started. 

“Then we found that there were other people having problems on their properties and we started doing more work,” she said. 

“The work we did on our property and neighbouring properties was huge and actually took quite a few years.”

The group still has about 20 active members, with a lot of the group still being original members.

“That’s what is so good about our Landcare group, it’s such a diverse range of people,” Mrs Eastburn said. 

She found out she was nominated for the award last week, but taking the home the win was a surprise, Mrs Eastburn said. 

“I hadn’t prepared any speeches because I knew that the work the other Landcare groups are doing in Tasmania is amazing,” she said. 

“I was also told the finalists for the individual awards were really worthy recipients, So I feel incredibly humbled. I was genuinely surprised and taken back.”

Mrs Eastburn said it was something she really wanted to share with her husband, because he is the other half of the team. 

Youngtown Primary School took home the Junior Landcare Team Award for its hard work planting more than 4000 native trees, shrubs and grasses to revegetate their local reserve. 

The school has also invested learning time and teaching skills to the project.  

Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer group won the Landcare Community Group Award. 

The group’s John Duggin accepted the award and said the group was very honoured to be recognised for the award.

“We enjoy talking to international visitors to the wetlands and tell about all the different species,” he said. 

Landcare Tasmania’s chief executive Rod Knight said biennial awards were important to recognise the work of volunteers and what they do to conserve the land and environment.

“We honour the finalist and the winners, but we value the hard work that everyone of our 200 Landcare groups and 3500 volunteers do,” he said. 

“These awards shine a light on their individual and collective contribution.”

Guests and members of the public participated in three field trips in and around Launceston before the award ceremony. 

Tours were held at Westbury, Youngtown Primary School and the Tamar Island Wetlands. Some of the locations were chosen because they were award finalists. 

The winners are now automatically finalists in the National Awards held in 2018. The awards were held a Josef Chromy Wines.

Other winners: 

Partnerships for Landcare Award – Kingborough Council

Excellence in Sustainable Farm Practices – Dairy Tasmania’s Clean Rivers and FertSmart projects

Young Landcare Leader Award – Adam Holmstrom, from Glebe Hill Bushland Reserve Landcare Group

Indigenous Land Management Award – Glenorchy Reconciliation Group

Coastcare Award – Turners Beach Coastcare