Published 1st March 2023. Written by Maddison O’Brien
Clean Up Australia Day is this Sunday! Landcare has a long history of supporting Clean Up efforts. This year, Watershed Landcare has partnered with the North East Wiradjuri Company (NEWco) to Clean Up Drayton’s Valley Reserve, just outside of Rylstone, on the 18th of March, and you’re invited!
NEWco was approached by Crown Lands and are now the managers of this unique site. They have exciting plans to create a new place to create a new space for holding cultural activities in the bush, and the Landcare community now has an opportunity to get involved and lend a hand.
Local Wiradjuri woman and NEWco Project Officer Emma Syme will lead the day, and I caught up with her to discuss the project. “The site has been earmarked for heritage protection, environmental protection, and recreation, so we’re aiming to incorporate all three of those,” Emma said when talking about their ideas for the site. “We want to develop a Caring for Country program for Indigenous kids and connect with the community by running tours and educational programs.”
Emma and Bryan from North East Wiradjuri Co at Drayton’s Valley Reserve. NEWco is in the process of developing the site to be a place of cultural education.
Stage one of the project includes cleaning up the site, doing some weed control, and building a car park and toilet facilities. Not only will the reserve be a site for education, but NEWco plans on improving the natural environment and conducting monitoring of the incredible biodiversity that can be found there. “We’re stoked because the other thing is, we’ll be able to do some cultural burns out there and start implementing Indigenous Land Management practices,” Emma said.
The clean-up day will bring together the community at this beautiful place. “Everyone who lives in the area has a responsibility to protect the environment and the Country that provides them with the oxygen that they breathe. The environment around here is important; there are so many different ecological communities. Just look at the difference between Capertee and here (Kandos) and then over to Mount Coricudgy, and even that distance has several different vegetation communities and animals associated with it. So I think It’s important for people to understand that. We also want to teach people about the importance of our waterways and river systems, and we want to connect with people as well.” Emma replied when I asked her why people should get involved.
Emma & Bryan from Newco took me out to the site; it is vast, with so much diversity of native species, and the birdlife activity was captivating. “There’s a lot of bush tukka plants out there for us, culturally significant plants and animals. It’s really special.” Emma said. So come along and see for yourself. Limited spots are available for this great day in the bush. Registration is essential. Go to watershedlandcare.com.au/events for more info.
This initiative is made possible by the NSW Landcare Program. A collaboration between Landcare NSW and NSW Local Land Services, supported by the NSW Government.