Green thumbs up for Landcare legends

Some of Lake Macquarie’s hardest-working volunteers were given a green thumbs up at the Lake Macquarie Volunteer Landcare Network’s annual Landcare Awards.

Crews from throughout the City came together on Friday night for the Lake Macquarie Environmental Excellence in Landcare Awards, which recognise the past 12 months of achievements.

Lake Macquarie Landcare Coordinator, Jason Harvey,said the Lake Mac’s 200-plus Landcare groups had cleared more than 163,000sqm of environmental weeds so far this year – the equivalent of about 22 football fields.

“Our tireless volunteers have contributed more than 16,400 hours to regenerating natural areas of Lake Macquarie in 2018, which equates to about $450,000 worth of labour,” Mr Harvey said.

“The Environmental Excellence in Landcare Awards shine the spotlight on some of the most outstanding achievers across our organisation, but they are also an opportunity to show our appreciation for every single one of our wonderful volunteers.”

The evening’s top gong, known as the Soaring With the Eagles award, went to Redhead Bluff Landcare group team leader, Brian Hilton.

The award is bestowed annually on a volunteer who has made a regionally significant contribution to the environment.

“Brian is a champion of caring for the land and encouraging younger generations to follow in his footsteps,” Mr Harvey said.

“His leadership, mentoring and campaigning have led to countless schools, community groups and local businesses contributing to the landmark Redhead Coastal Corridor Project.

“This project is creating a new vegetation corridor to connect Redhead Bluff with bushland further south, helping the migration of native fauna between these two areas.”

Other award recipients included seven-year-old Holly Brock – Lake Macquarie’s youngest Landcare volunteer, and Landcare veteran John Le Messurier – one of seven volunteers to receive an Achievers Award.

Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, said the growth of Landcare in Lake Macquarie demonstrated the close connection so many people in the community had with their local environment.

“A total of 10 new Landcare groups have been formed in the past year alone,” Cr Fraser said.

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