Mid Lachlan Landcare is pleased to introduce Trudi Refshauge. Her skills in education, journalism, agriculture and Landcare have enabled us to offer her the roll of Education Officer. Trudi’s role is to engage with local schools and the wider community about environmental conservation and agricultural sustainability. She also presents to visiting schools and universities that take part in our Educational Tours.
Trudi is a beef producer from Wyangala Dam where she practices Holistic Management and has developed her own version of low stress stock handling. Regularly spotted stopping boat traffic near the dam where her stock run on both sides of the road, drivers are often surprised to see her stop/go hand signals work equally effectively on her herd of cattle.
Trudi has spent the last decade developing and leading a successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen – Garden Program at Wyangala Dam Primary School. In that time, the school community has gained a wealth of experience growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing a range of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Trudi has also introduced her students to learning about healthy soils and biodiversity through native seed collecting and propagation, building a shrub and tree corridor on a travelling stock route, bird watching, worm farming and building a Bee B&B Hotel.
Trudi has been heavily involved with the Hovells Creek Landcare Group (HCLG). Two decades ago, it started with many devoted hours helping her horticulturalist mother-in-law (to-be) propagate native seeds and grow seedlings for any landholder in the district who wanted them. She has since partaken in biological weed control and native seed collection programs and actively planted out numerous native shrub and tree corridors. Trudi has held voluntary positions of Press Officer and Secretary for the HCLG and hosted a number of functions for HCLG in her and her husband’s historic homestead. Her influence has extended over 60,000 hectares of land in the HCLG region.
In 2015 Trudi was contracted by The Great Eastern Ranges K2W (Kanangra Boyd to Wyangala) Link to join a group of teachers to develop an educational resource for Primary Schools supporting biodiversity and in particular, the threatened Squirrel Glider.
Trudi is skilled at writing, and in 2011 was a prize winner in Orange Library’s Banjo Patterson Writers Short Story Competition. She has had a range of environmentally focussed articles published in the local Cowra Guardian.
Spring is approaching and with it comes the beautiful woodland wildflower season. Woodlands have a rich understorey comprised of many forbs, lillies, grasses and even some spectacular orchids. After all the winter rain we received in the Mid Lachlan, it’s likely that a good flowering display is on the cards. As the weather warms up head out to TSR’s such as Badgery’s on the Reids Flat Road or a bit further afield is Crowther TSR on the Olympic Highway. Conimbla and Nangar National Parks have beautiful walks, or get along to an old cemetery such as Koorawatha, Canowindra or Toogong, and enjoy the diversity!
On-going monitoring of Squirrel Glider nest boxes installed as part of the John Holland Squirrel Glider Conservation Project have revealed some interesting nest building behaviour. Squirrel Gliders were first detected at the project site in November 2014. They began occupying nest boxes by January 2016, just over a year after installation. Monitoring has shown that so far at least three individuals are using the nest boxes but remote cameras installed have provided a snapshot of what they get up when the sun goes down.
Photos taken each night reveal gliders busily building nests by carrying small branches of eucalypt leaves in their tails, gliding in from nearby trees and coming and going up and down the tree trunk. Up to 40 images are taken each night as they move to and from the nest box. Busy little critters!
Mid Lachlan Landcare (MLL) and the Age of Fishes museum (AOF) recognised and celebrated a partnership with teacher Steve Lans, the young people he works with, and Bede Polding College by holding a small presentation ceremony during his visit to Canowindra recently.
In May 2002, Steve Lans brought a group of 12 students from Bede Polding College (near Windsor NSW) to Canowindra to visit the AOF and to do MLL’s Salinity and Erosion Tour. Since that first visit, Steve has brought 15 groups made up of 371 participants. We also know that at least five other school groups have visited the district on his recommendation.
Over this time, Steve has gained the respect and admiration of AOF and MLL staff. He is a very skilled, professional educator, and groups he has brought have always showed open, inquiring minds, and demonstrate a high level of engagement and communication. Steve is a great advocate of practical applied scientific learning. He has managed to overcome many obstacles to make these visits happen and has always exhibited positive energy. Steve is also committed to getting the best for his students and from his students. He shows everyone respect and he certainly has ours.
Andrew Wooldridge, a key driver in MLL’s education program said “We have noticed Steve has had a very positive influence on many lives. I have met several of Steve’s former Bede Polding students when they were attending the University of Canberra or the Australian National University. They all go out of their way to tell me how Steve and the course he runs has impacted on them, their study choices, their career choices and their life choices”.
“MLL had the unique opportunity to host one of Steve’s former Bede Polding students Ashleigh Zarlengha, for professional development as part of her university course last year. Ashleigh did many different tasks with MLL and the Department of Primary Industries during that time but she was very keen to be able to be a presenter on the Bede Polding Earth and Environmental Science Landcare Tour – a tour she had done herself as a HSC student with Steve several years before. Mid Lachlan Landcare staff shared the great experience with Steve of standing in a paddock and watching Ashleigh deliver high quality scientific content to Bede Polding College students“.
It has been a busy time over the last two months for MLL with visits and field-based study tours from St Andrews Cathedral School, Scots College Sydney, Shellharbour Anglican School, Bede Polding College and MacKillop College ACT. Our staff and representatives from partner organisations deliver tailored content that may include sustainable and regenerative farming systems, food processing businesses, climate change and adaptation, soil and water management, biodiversity, geology, soil influence on land use, and sustainable living.
Mid Lachlan Landcare was recently successful in obtaining funding for a 3.5 year part time position for a Local Landcare Coordinator. Our committee has appointed Tracee Burke in this position and she’s currently transitioning into the job. Welcome Tracee!
Tracee is from Gooloogong and has been involved with Kangarooby Catchment Landcare for a number of years. She is passionate about farming and conservation, and holistically manages a small beef cattle property. She is also specialised in local native plants, seed collection and propagation, and has a good understanding of local Landcare issues.
Tracee hopes to increase support for the smaller Landcare groups in our area, and will work with them to increase their knowledge, activities and membership, and will also assist our Grazing Project Officer Scott Hickman with our successful local project Growing the Grazing Revolution.
Stay tuned for information about upcoming projects and events. Our aim over the coming months and years will continue to be focussed on delivering positive environmental change through education and on-ground works. If you have any questions about Landcare activities in the district, please feel free to contact us via email, you can also subscribe to our mailing list, blog post via our website, or Like us on Facebook.
In partnership with Central Tablelands Local Land Services, Mid Lachlan Landcare is undertaking a new project to encourage and support sustainable land use across our district.
The project aims to assist farmers by providing personal support that will enable them to engage in improved grazing management practices. It will also provide technical and personal support to help farmers understand ecosystem repair priorities on their farm, and will include a number of paddock tree projects.
It is increasingly understood that biodiversity and productivity on farms can be managed in a sustainable way and the long-term viability of our farming land to produce economic goods and deliver ecosystem services depends our ability to successfully work with the land and the climate to build sustainability into farming businesses.
If you would like more information or to become involved please contact Mid Lachlan Landcare by emailing email@example.com
Our seed collected in partnership with John Holland Country Regional Network has been collated and handed over to Tom North, National Seed Bank Curator at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
Work will begin on the woodland species Creamy Candles (Stackhousia monogyna), Black-anthered Flax Lily (Dianella revoluta) and Smooth Flax Lily (Dianella longifolia) to better understand their seed storage behaviour and germination biology. The research will be conducted by Honours student Gabrielle Vening from Charles Sturt University, who’s project aims to develop improved germination protocols that will assist conservation seed banking and make the species more viable for use in restoration activities.
Almost 70 landholders attended a recent Grazing Management Field Day held in partnership with South East Local Land Services at Boorowa. Dr. Terry McCosker and David Marsh were our guest speakers at “Allendale”, the Marsh’s family farm.
David spoke passionately about how he changed his management practices towards regenerative agriculture in order to improve on-farm ecosystem health that supports a profitable business and maintains a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. Over many years he has developed his farming techniques by constantly questioning conventional farming practices through observation and critical thinking.
Dr. Terry McCosker, an internationally acclaimed teacher and co-founder of RCS Australia raised a number of topics with the audience but stressed the importance of understanding and implementing Grazing Management Principles including:
Both Terry and David stressed the importance of planning and in particular the use of grazing charts which provide a management tool that assist landholders to make good decisions, remain in control, maintain profitability and manage livestock and ecology.
If you would like more information about the field day or to become involved please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grazing Project Officer Scott Hickman, recently held the final round of local area meetings for the South East Local Land Services Grazing Management Project. Planning for spring grazing management was the key topic discussed, in particular grass management, and animal production and health. Thoughts were also shared about planning for variable conditions during the upcoming summer.
Still to come is a field day to be held on 5th November with Dr. Terry McCosker and David Marsh at “Allendale” Boorowa. Everyone is welcome.
Thanks to everyone for coming along to the meetings and our previous field day with Dick Richardson. For more information about this project, please contact South East Local Land Services.
Mid Lachlan Landcare is pleased to announce our new project with John Holland Pty Ltd Country Regional Network. Over the next few months, in partnership with Young District Landcare, we will be locating and collecting seed from three woodland plant species considered to be significant components of White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland, one of Australia’s most threatened vegetation communities and local to our area.
Creamy Candles (Stackhousia monogyna), Black-anthered Flax Lily (Dianella revoluta) and Smooth Flax Lily (Dianella longifolia) are being targeted because they have shown to have a poor response to germination. Collected seed will be tested for germination and dormancy at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. It is hoped that the tests will inform on ways to improve germination so that these plants can be included in planting and direct seeding activities in future restoration projects.