Happy Landcare Week! It has been a very happy week for Landcare across the region, with four trophies scooped up at the 2017 Victorian Landcare Awards. On the first day of spring, Landcarers from around the state gathered at Government House on the invitation of Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, to honour the achievements of those in our community.
Freshwater Creek’s Simon Falkiner has won the Excellence in Sustainable Farm Practices Award at an award ceremony at Government House, in Melbourne.
Mr Falkiner is an inspirational figure and was recognised for his work promoting sustainable farm management locally and region-wide, and his list of leadership achievements is long and impressive.
Locally Mr Falkiner hosts regular field days on his family farm promoting challenging traditional farming approaches to achieve improved soil health and crop and grazing management, and at the same time taking every opportunity to enhance the natural environment. He’s also keen to educate and engage the broader community on the values of biodiversity free from invasive plants and animals.
He speaks at local, regional and national events sharing his extensive land management knowledge. He’s involved in education and mentoring through roles at Marcus Oldham College, and La Trobe, Melbourne and Federation universities and NMIT.
He’s a former chair and current member of the Surf Coast and Inland Plains Landcare Network. And is the current president of the Surf Coast Rabbit Action Network established in 2016, taking on the challenge of developing a coordinated approach to rabbit control with a range of stakeholder and land managers. He’s a Corangamite CMA Community Advisory Group member and Regional Landcare Facilitator steering committee member.
Corangamite CMA Indigenous NRM facilitator Angela Jeffery received the Indigenous Land Management Award, recognising her role in a joint initiative to assist Wadawurrung people and the broader Aboriginal community in Corangamite participate in traditional fire practices for the health of Country.
Angela continues to work with Indigenous groups and community members across the region, focusing on building and strengthening relationships between the Corangamite CMA and the Indigenous community and their participation in natural resource management, Indigenous environmental and agriculture capacity development, and raising awareness of Traditional Owner cultural land values.
The Woady Yaloak Catchment Group received the Australian Government Excellence in Sustainable Farm Practices Award recognising their long history of planning, implementing and measuring sustainable farm practices across its 120,000 hectare area. Simon Falkiner was also highly commended in this category.
Kaye Rodden from the Barrabool Hills was highly commended in the Australian Government Individual Landcarer award category.
Corangamite CMA Land Health Manager Bret Ryan won the 2017 Dr Sidney Plowman Travel and Study Award. The award, named after Dr Sidney Plowman a pioneer in encouraging and inspiring landholders and communities to get involved in soil conservation, recognises an environment agency employee who demonstrates an outstanding contribution to reversing land degradation.
Corangamite CMA Chair Alice Knight congratulated all the award winners and said the Corangamite region was fortunate to have such individuals and groups working to improve land management and sharing their knowledge and encouraging others through their work.