2018 – Present
The group was keen to continue use of the Schoolmaster’s House as a significant community resource for community education about Landcare and to preserve, by digitising and archiving, an invaluable library created during more than two decades by the the Kooragang Wetlands Rehabilitation Project’s (KWRP) globally recognised success in restoration and rehabilitation of land which has undergone dramatic changes in use. Some members of the registered but unincorporated Kooragang Landcare Volunteers formed the Friends as an incorporated, registered and insured member of Landcare NSW. Friends maintains commitment to revegetation projects and to the principles of community education, self-education and maintenance in an area in the Hunter Wetlands National Park known as the Schoolhouse precinct. The Friends has an ongoing tenancy agreement with National Parks and Wildlife Service. We are continuing the legacy of KWRP by developing relationships with community groups, educators and local industrial neighbours and partnering with other Landcare groups. We maintain a close connection with our parent group, the Kooragang Landcare Volunteers, in the monthly planting days and other projects in the estuary.
Thus far we have enabled 1600 hours of volunteer labour, most of which, in the five months of occupation of the Schoolmaster’s House, has been dedicated to the library digitisation which is expected to take two years to accomplish. With the added benefits of fellowship and shared activity with others who care about the environment , every day is a pleasurable learning day, that it is not limited by age or physical capacity.
In 2019, thanks to a grant from Port of Newcastle, the existing plantings on the two hectares of the schoolhouse precinct will be extended and labeled as an arboretum to promote the value of local species.
To give and graciously accept kindness and respect to each member of the group, to understand the aims of Landcare, to be willing to learn, and to take the lesson from nature that aims are accomplished with consistency and commitment but cannot be hurried and there may be setbacks along the way.