Our Committee

Hunter Region Landcare Network Committee December 2015

Hunter Region Landcare Network Committee December 2015

John Hughson


0478 214 498

I have been a Landcarer for about 20 years. First as a volunteer working on a green corridor at Toronto, I was the Chair of Lower Hunter Urban Landcare Network before becoming the first Chair of this Network. I was employed as a Landcare Coordinator / Landcare Projects Officer by Lake Macquarie City Council for 14 years, where I further developed my skills as a Landcarer, as a trainer and as a project manager working with local government, the environment and the community. I am also a foundation member of Landcare NSW, a community led Network of regional representatives from across the state. I held several executive roles in that Network, including that of member of the LNSW Council. I am also the Chair of the Regional Landcare Facilitator project steering committee, where I hope to support the Landcare community engagement elements of that Australian Government funded, LLS hosted position.

A foundation member of Landcare NSW Inc. representing Lake Macquarie’s Landcare community, John is also the current Chair of the Hunter Region Landcare Network, Chair of the Hunter’s Regional Landcare Facilitator Steering Committee, and a member of the Hunter’s Great Eastern Ranges team.

Fran Corner


I live in Tanilba Bay and I am also a life member of the original Hunter Region Landcare Network. I believe Port Stephens has more bushland, larger projects, more long term projects and a fabulous set up with council support in the form of 355C committees receiving $1500 pa for parks committees, training, insurance, supportive staff, regular catered Port Stephens wide Parks Fora/ Forums, paid attendance at Tidy Towns Awards and last year some funding for the Landcare Muster in the Hunter. My reason for becoming active to reinvigorate Landcare in the Hunter came from the state muster in Newcastle in 2013. It was a wonderful event that should have celebrated the achievements of Port Stephens projects but instead fizzled out with a too expensive dolphin watch that was cancelled. Some Port Stephens people did get to the Muster but it was not a positive experience for us. I work with several groups like Tilligerry Habitat and Tilligerry Tidy Towns on crown and council land and in co-operation with other local groups like Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council. I would like to see Port Stephens groups re-embrace the concept of Landcare.

Leslie Pearson

Committee Member

I have been a member of HRLN since March 2011 and a member of the management committee since September 2012. I am involved in the property management of St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock having prepared the College property plan in 2011. I have been a member of the college council since Feb. 2008. I presented a poster at the National Landcare Conference in Sydney 2012 detailing sustainability as a fundamental part of the SPCCC property planning on the 40ha property beside Black Creek at Nulkaba. Property developments related to my brief include the development of walking tracks along Black Creek of which 1.6km have now been completed, the development of tree planting activities and fostering the establishment of a Junior Landcare Group as an active part of college life for students. The college was recognised in the Tidy Towns Awards, 2012, for its planning and development of student understanding of the Black Creek environment.

Jenny Castles

Deputy Chair

I have lived in Shortland for 47 years and worn many hats on many environmental committees. I am one of the original members of the HRLN and have attended almost every meeting since its formation. I have always been very passionate for the network. The Shortland to Wallsend Landcare Group was formed by a group of us 28 years ago and it was the first registered Landcare group in the Newcastle Local Government Area. The group are still a very active but in reduced numbers. Another environmental hat that I wear is the volunteer Landcare facilitator at the Wetland Centre Australia at Shortland. At this site I am also a Board Member and a Site Committee Member. I have been volunteering at the wetlands for 15 years facilitating the 4 Landcare groups on site. I am very excited that the new committee is revitalising HRLN. Cheers Jen.

Wendy Heys


I have been an active member of Shortland to Wallsend Landcare, an urban Landcare group in Newcastle, for some 20 years. We work under the auspices of Newcastle City Council and this arrangement takes the bureaucratic load, such as insurance and WHS training, from our shoulders and allows us to get on with the jobs we enjoy. I am now part of a cohesive team working for the betterment of Landcare and Landcare groups in the Hunter. My goal is to help shape a network that is accountable, transparent, inclusive and collaborative.

Louise Duff

Committee Member

Louise Duff has been involved in natural resource management and community engagement since 1988. She has worked extensively with Landcare volunteers and managed 4 not-for-profit organisations with a mission for conservation, including Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, the Hunter Wetlands Centre and Trees In Newcastle. Louise is currently the Hunter Region Manager for WetlandCare Australia, a subsidiary of Conservation Volunteers Australia. In the past 2-years she has managed revegetation projects planting over 46,500 trees at riparian sites around Newcastle. She is passionate about biodiversity conservation, and believes it is a mutual responsibility of governments, corporations, community groups and individuals. Louise feels that outdoor experience and a love of nature are essential foundations to achieve a more sustainable society.

Carmel Brown

Committee Memeber

I grew up in country NSW, helping my parents create gardens in our schoolyards and principal’s residences. At Stanbridge, we’d open a canal plate and flood the garden! At Tingha my father jackhammered out rocks himself to make a playground, and about a hundred gum trees were planted.

We had family picnics on bush creeks most weekends, and camped on the coast most holidays. I guess that’s why I chose to live at Catherine Hill Bay 20 years ago, despite the cottage having boards hanging off – the village, bush and beach were like home.

Our garden here is full of lilly pillies, callistemons, grevilleas, frogs, lizards and birds.

When my son became a Cub Scout, I soon took over coordinating 1st Swansea Scouts Landcare. We saw the hall become surrounded with bushes, the lake edge change from kikuyu to native plants, and best of all, local Indigenous elders joined us in planting a bush tucker garden.

Catherine Hill Bay Dunecare/Landcare then restarted and we joined them regenerating the dunes on Graveyard Beach and the banks of Catherine Hill Bay Ck, at the south end. The CVA week long visits and regular enthusiastic residents dwindled to just a couple of us, and for a few years we just kept all the walkways to the beach clear, replanting the pigface in bare areas.

2013 brought some welcome interest: Damien Hawcroft and other locals took on regenerating the slopes and dunes in front of the Surf Club and BBQ area, and I took over coordinating. These public areas look vegetated and cared for now.

Other areas are still black, burnt in October 2013, but we’ve gratefully received loadsof Landcare plants and are taking this opportunity from nature to get these into the formerly bitou areas.

Why am I still in Landcare? I’m continually inspired by the people in Catho still fighting to protect history and community; my bit is giving the flora and fauna a helping hand.
I’ve also joined the Lake Macquarie Landcare Network in 2013 and then became the Chair, so I represent us on the Hunter Region Landcare Committee, too.