This is branded content for Landcare Australia
The 32nd biennial State and Territory Landcare Awards are back to honour the thousands of individuals, groups and organisations involved in Landcare.
Communities nationwide are urged to nominate either themselves or a local champion dedicated to safeguarding and protecting the environment and our vital agricultural lands.
From volunteers and farmers, to landholders, landcare groups, First Nations people, the next generation of landcarers, and environmental community groups, the Landcare Awards program acknowledges the diverse range of individuals and organisations committed to addressing local environmental issues.
Louise Turner, a previous Landcare Award winner, is the projects and business manager at Western Landcare NSW, and her work supports Landcare activity across 40 per cent of New South Wales.
Ms Turner said what she loved most about Landcare in Western NSW was its diversity.
"As an organisation, we strive to be inclusive and value all ideas as relevant and important," Ms Turner said.
"We listen to our volunteers, members, staff, our leaders, and the voices of our future.
"We must celebrate their contributions because without them, the future of our landscapes would be at risk."
Andrew Stewart, a fourth-generation farmer, manages Yan Yan Gurt West Farm in Victoria alongside his family.
Recognised for his sustainable agriculture achievements of combining generative grazing and agroforestry, Mr Stewart was honoured with both the Bob Hawke Landcare Award and the Australian Government Landcare Farming Award.
Reflecting on his accolade, Mr Stewart said Landcare stories need to be shared throughout Australia and celebrated to help spread the message of the wonderful achievements throughout Australia.
"The act of coming together in family and community groups and improving urban and rural landscapes is a powerful and positive story for our nation," he said.
"Landcare groups and individuals can showcase their achievements by nominating for the Landcare Awards.
"The process of putting a nomination together is rewarding, as it makes individuals and groups record and reflect on their achievements in a deep and meaningful way."
Mr Stewart said being a finalist and then an award recipient was an amazing experience in networking and sharing knowledge from other regions in Australia.
"The entire process of the Landcare Awards, including the publicity, has given our family and community greater motivation and confidence about sharing our Landcare and agroforestry journey, and many contacts and opportunities have arisen," he said.
Dr Ian Cresswell is the co-chief author of the 'State of the Environment Report 2021' which acknowledges the benefits of Landcare.
Dr Cresswell said many parts of the Australian environment are under pressure from the impacts of climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and resource extraction.
"Landcare plays a key role in promoting environmental conservation and sustainable land management and helping repair and restore our natural environment," Dr Cresswell said.
"Not only is that good for the environment but it's good for us too - regenerative land management and Landcare volunteering have been shown to have human health and wellbeing benefits supporting improvements in mental and physical wellbeing, belonging and community resilience.
"Let's celebrate all who participate and help to raise their profile in the community.
"I urge us all to take this opportunity to celebrate the great work of Landcare and to nominate your local champion for the work they do for all of us."
Former senator and renowned environmentalist Bob Brown praises the purpose of the Landcare Awards.
Mr Brown said Landcare exemplifies the resilience of individuals coming together from all walks of life to safeguard and nurture our agricultural lands and natural environment.
"The Landcare movement is built on collective spirit and environmental stewardship: it is an inspiration on our planet where environmental loss is so prevalent," Mr Brown said.
"It's great to see the Landcare Awards program honouring the wonderful diversity of people involved in preserving our natural landscapes, strengthening communities and leading innovations in agriculture and conservation right across Australia.
"So, I encourage everyone to join us in acknowledging the extraordinary achievements of the Landcare community by submitting nominations for the Landcare Awards."
Dr Shane Norrish said Landcare represents the strength of people from all walks of life working together for a common purpose - to protect and manage our vital agricultural lands and natural environment.
"The 2023 State and Territory Landcare Awards shine a light on Landcare's greatest asset - the diverse range of people involved in Landcare activities responding to local issues," Dr Norrish said.
"Whether it's their dedication to preserving the natural landscape, their commitment to their communities, or their leadership in the agricultural sector, these accomplishments remind us that the spirit of hands-on environmental stewardship that underpins the Landcare movement is stronger than ever before."
Nominations are now open for and will close at 11.59pm AEDT on Friday, March 1, 2024.
For more information, click HERE.
This is branded content for Landcare Australia