Green dreams become reality thanks to Landcare groups
Published on 06 January 2022
The fruits of thousands of hours of labour by Lake Macquarie Landcare volunteers have been revealed in a series of dramatic ‘before and after’ photos taken from the air.
The images, taken above the same sites in Warners Bay, Wangi Wangi, Catherine Hill Bay, Blacksmiths and Redhead in 2007 and late 2021, show the extent and success of efforts to remove weeds and revegetate key areas with native species.
Bare patches of ground alongside Bunya Park at Warners Bay have been transformed into a flora and fauna haven supporting recognised endangered ecological communities.
Sparsely vegetated dunes at Blacksmiths are now thickly vegetated and at much lower risk of erosion, and the Wangi Ridge Landcare site has gone from being choked with invasive weeds to a thriving bushland tract.
Landcare Coordinator Jason Harvey said the aerial photography was a stunning reminder of the tireless work of volunteers across the city, and the significant, long-term benefits that flowed as a result.
“Day-to-day and week-to-week, it’s sometimes difficult to see the bigger picture of how we can change these important natural spaces for the better – often with just a small group of dedicated volunteers,” he said.
“But as these photos show, over the years their work has had an incredible positive impact in restoring habitat and removing invasive weeds.”
In 2021 alone, and despite COVID forcing a significant reduction in on-site work, Landcare volunteers in Lake Mac contributed more than 9500 hours of work.
They planted more than 5000 native specimens, propagated more than 55,000 seedlings and cleared invasive weeds from more than eight hectares of land – the equivalent of more than 12 soccer fields.
Warners Bay Landcare volunteer Annette Ryan said her group had transformed what was once a bare, mown area with 7000 native seedlings over more than a decade.
Lizards, snakes, bandicoots, possums, tawny frogmouths, frogs and other wildlife have returned to the area as a result.
“As a Landcarer, you learn to be patient and persistent. You’re investing time and effort into outcomes that may not be realised during your lifetime,” Ms Ryan said.
“Landcare groups are doing the stitches all over Lake Mac to improve the tapestry of our environment, and in turn the quality of Lake Macquarie itself.”
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser congratulated Ms Ryan and all her Landcare colleagues across the city.
“The amazing work of our Landcare volunteers is both hugely appreciated and incredibly beneficial to our environment and the native flora and fauna that live among our suburbs,” Cr Fraser said.
Mr Harvey said Landcare volunteers, too, often benefited on multiple fronts from their hard work.
“We hear a lot about the social aspect of volunteering, then there’s the opportunities to learn and develop skills, and the chance to make a tangible difference in our community,” he said.
Ms Ryan described her time among the shrubs, trees, creepers and vines at Warners Bay as her “green therapy”.
“I couldn’t be without it,” she said.
“I enjoy being with people from all walks of life who can see possibilities rather than problems.”
Landcare efforts are supported by Lake Macquarie City Council and a range of other funding efforts.
Go to lakemacquarielandcare.org for more information.