Farming for the land’s future

Drought not only affects the land, crops and livestock but also the outloook, not only of farmers and their families, but entire communities. When the season is tough, sometimes it’s easy to loose sight of the positive.

A one day event, to be held in Bathurst in November, aims to focus on the positive aspects of economic and environmental sustainability of farming in Australia.

Organised by Greening Bathurst, the Our Farming Future conference will center on the themes of working with nature and climate change.

The one day conference will be held from 9am-5pm on Saturday 10 November at the Flannery Centre, 341 Havannah St, Bathurst.

Bruce Pascoe, author of ‘Dark Emu’, and Dr Charles Massy, Cooma grazier and author, will be the keynote speakers.

Charles Massy is a fifth-generation sheep grazier turned ecologist and his most recent book which explores regenerative agriculture in Australia through the stories of it’s innovative practitioners, ‘Call of the Reed Warbler’, has achieved wide acclaim.

Ten farmers from the region will also be sharing their good news stories on the day.

Conference registration is $50 ($25 concession) and includes lunch and web access to outcomes. Attendees are invited to stay for post conference drinks and finger food at an additional $20. To register online visit:

Watershed Landcare would like to support members of our community to attend the conference and we are offering 3 paid registrations for farmers from our district to attend. Please contact Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, to register your interest:

Additional scholarships are available through Greening Bathurst. Contact for more information.

A decade of Green Day

Watershed Landcare’s Green Day celebrated it’s 10th birthday last week. This year’s event was the biggest ever, with over 800 kids from 16 schools attending the environmental expo.

Photo credit: Simone Kurtz courtesy of the Mudgee Guardian.

On September 16, year 5 and 6 students from local schools visited the Mudgee Showground to experience a day centred around the theme Go WoW or Go Make a Difference – War on Waste.

And we even had a celebrity special guest to help us celebrate. This year’s keynote speaker was Craig Reucassel, host of ABC TV’s Logie award winning series War on Waste. Craig’s humorous and entertaining presentation built on the topics explored in the TV series, such as food waste and packaging, and challenged the children to consider their impacts on the environment and consider alternatives.

Students also participated in a range of hands-on and educational workshops centered around the themes of reduce, reuse, recycle and waste impacts. Over 30 presenters from organisations including Oz Harvest, Clean Up Australia, NetWaste and the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW gave the children a broad appreciation of the scale of the waste issue, the associated problems, and importantly, how they can do their bit to tackle the problem.

“The feedback we have received from participating students and their parents has been very positive. There’s real enthusiasm from students, they get a buzz from the day and the take home messages stay with them for quite some time.” said Watershed Landcare Coordinator, Claudia Wythes.

Green Day would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Watershed Landcare would like to thank Central Tablelands LLS, Mid-Western Regional Council, Moolarben Coal Operations and Peabody Energy for their contribution.

“A huge ammount of man hours, all voluntary, goes into organising Green Day. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all our speakers and volunteers for donating their time and making the event such a success.” said Ms Wythes.

“Also a special thanks to the volunteers from Mudgee High School who chaperoned the school groups to their workshops. Even with a record number of kids, everything ran very smoothly and no one got lost.” she continued.

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare and is a part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

Saving the beautiful small Purple Pea

Did you know that there’s a rare plan growing right on Mudgee’s doorstep?

The Small Purple Pea, Swainsona recta, is a slender, erect perennial herb growing to 30 cm tall. It flowers from spring to summer, with each flower stalk bearing up to 20 bright purple, pea flowers.

Once widespread in grassland and open woodland of south-eastern Australia, the species is now listed as endangered with only a few scattered populations existing in NSW, the ACT and Victoria.

Over the past 60 years it’s know range has been drastically reduced due to loss and degradation of habitat. Increased grazing pressure, land clearing and competition from invasive weeds have all contributed to the decline of the Small Purple Pea.

The Central Tablelands LLS have launched a project to work with community and local government to protect this beautiful endangered plant. And you can get involved.

The project, funded by the Federal Government’s National Landcare Program, will undertake works to assist in the recovery of Small Purple Pea populations in grassland and woodlands around Mandurama, Wellington and Mudgee. Activities will include identification workshops, on-ground surveys to find new populations, weed control and fire management.

“With the Small Purple Pea being endangered we are lucky in Mudgee to have two viable populations on our doorstep. Its exciting to see these populations being looked after and its great to be able to get the community involved in this project.” said Evelyn Nicholson, Central Tablelands LLS Land Services Officer.

“All community members, regardless of skill level are welcome to come and take part in our surveys in the Avisford reserve or over at Wellington which will hopefully identify new populations of the Pea and help protect it further into the future.” she continued.

The project will kick off with a couple of Small Purple Pea identification workshops and members of the community are invited to attend. Come along and learn more about the plant, it’s threats and how you can assist in the recovery of the species.

The Mudgee ID workshop will be held at the Mudgee Common/Flirtation Hill on Sunday 23 September from 10:30am-1:30pm. For more information or to RSVP contact Evelyn Nicholson on 0427 637 907 or email:

The Wellington ID Workshop will be held at Burrendong Arboretum on Monday 24 September from 10:30am-1:30pm. For more information or to RSVP contact Libby McIntyre on 0429 019 309 or email:

Lunch and refreshments will be provided at the workshops.

Volunteers are also needed to conduct regional surveys between 17 and 28 September. No skills are necessary as all training will be provided. Contact Evelyn Nicholson to register your interest.

Celebrate biodiversity month

September is Biodiversity Month. But what is biodiversity anyway?

Although in common use today, the origin of the term is relatively recent. Wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann, first used ‘biological diversity’ in his 1968 book but it was only in the 1980s that it came into common use in science and environmental policy. The term’s contracted form ‘biodiversity’ first appeared in publication in the late 80’s and since then has achieved widespread usage.

‘Biodiversity’ is often used interchangeably with the well defined terms, species diversity and species richness, but it’s also more than that; referring to the variety and variability of life at all levels of biological organisation – from genes to entire ecosystems – encompassing every living thing that exists on our planet.

Biodiversity month is held in September each year and aims to promote the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity, both local and global.

As humans, we depend on biodiversity for our food, clothing, health, well-being and enjoyment of life and there’s a lot we can all do to help protect and improve biodiversity.

Whether it’s in our towns and cities, bushland or waterways and oceans, reducing our environmental footprint and being conscious of the impact that our every-day actions and consumer choices have, can have an enormous impact on this intricate and interdependent ‘web of life’.

84% of our plant species are unique to Australia.

Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many unique to this continent. More than three quarters of our plants and mammals, and 45 per cent of our birds species are endemic. And if you include the rich variety of marine life, from the cold southern oceans to the tropics, we are the most biodiverse developed country in the world.

So get out there and enjoy it! The Australian landscape, it’s species and ecosystems are pretty special. Take the time this month to appreciate the unique beauty and character of our local environment.