2014 – Present
In 2014 the Martindale community hosted a project by another agency targeting riparian weeds. The results were disappointing and caused the community to come together and look for better solutions. Out of this was formed a steering committee, with the end result being the formation of Martindale Creek Catchment Landcare (MCCL) in December 2014. The Brown, Dixon-Hughes, Woolley and Sykes families led the steering committee and have remained strong participants in activities and on the executive committee since, notably Pauline Sykes, inaugural honorary president and Marion Woolley, inaugural honorary secretary. MCCL focuses on weed control, education, sustainable and innovative agriculture and community advocacy.
Working around Martindale, Horseshoe and Bureen in the Denman area in the Upper Hunter, the group focuses primarily on weed control. We have held workshops on woody weed control and how to identify our arch enemy, green cestrum. We have been able to provide members with a glovebox guide to weeds in the area, and are currently starting Stage 2 of our Green Cestrum Control Program, where we have received funding from our local Council to provide chemicals and free contract labour to control green cestrum. This will be a long-term project for which we will continue to seek funds. Prior to this project, we have had funding to run a four year project to control emerging local weeds – Coolatai grass and St John’s wort, as well as a separate project targeting honey locust in the Valley. Apart from our weeds, we have also been able to source funding to provide workshops on sustainable pasture management using regenerative agriculture practices, chemical training for members and training in woodland birds surveying. We also have purchased a set of remote trail cameras for loan to members to use to gather evidence of pest and native animals in the area.
We received the Muswellbrook Shire Australia Day Environmental Award in 2017.
Natural disasters take a large toll on the environment.
“On a personal level, being involved in Landcare, both locally and regionally, gives me a chance to use my skills for the benefit of my local community. I have built a career of working in the enviromental field and being able to share this knowledge and experience, rather than wasting it, is a fabulous thing! I do feel we are actually making a difference for our local environment.Working across a wide range of partners is also very rewarding.” – Pauline Sykes
Our biggest challenge has been the historic reputation of Landcare as simply tree-planters.
MCCL is rather proud of the fact that we as yet have only planted one tree at a memorial, although we encourage local farmers to look at the needs of their individual properties and rehabilitate them where needed. Gaining support form resistant landholders has been a task we have gladly undertaken, and it seems that trust is building within the broad community for our activities. Participation at committee level has remained among the select few and in time succession planning will need to be looked at if MCCL is to last long-term, as most of the work falls to the few. Relevance is a big issue, and the committee works hard to ensure that projects and workshops cater to genuine needs within the community.