Blue Mountains Posts

Blue Mountains Volunteers Rally Despite Covid Challenges

By Greater Sydney Local Land Services
Posted: 21 May 2021
Landcare and bushcare volunteers in the Blue Mountains have continued to rally for the local environment despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19.

A Greater Sydney Local Land Services survey has found volunteer groups contributed more than 8600 hours of environmental service in the 2019/20 financial year.

Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Coordinator Madeleine Florin said the work equated to around $360,200 worth of conservation efforts to protect and restore the area’s world-renowned bushland.

“The Blue Mountains is home to 64 groups compromising of more than 800 regular and casual volunteers carrying out activities including bush regeneration, tree planting, community education and advocacy work,” she said. “Local groups include those supported through the Blue Mountains City Council bushcare program such as the Upper Katoomba Creek Bushcare group, the RSPCA bushcare group, the Katoomba Falls Bushcare group and the Minne Haha Falls Bushcare group.

“These groups have all worked together to protect and preserve the Katoomba Creek catchment, their collective efforts have dramatically reduced weeds thus helping keep them out of the World Heritage Area.

Ms Florin said the latest data showed nearly 1000 groups engaged in bushcare or landcare activities, with 8850 regular volunteers and 4700 one-off volunteers, contributing more than 150,000 hours of environmental work.

“This equates to an incredible $6.3 million in in-kind labour costs which is a truly remarkable achievement given the lockdown and impact of COVID-19 in 2020 which we estimate reduced the total number of volunteer work by about 50,000,” she said.

“Overall the number of active volunteers increased by 13 percent compared to the last survey in 2017/18 and there was a 20 per cent increase in hours contributed.” Ms Florin said landcare and bushcare volunteers were integral to the protection and maintenance of our unique natural environment.

“They are very much the unsung heroes of our natural environment, working quietly behind the scenes purely for the love and passion for what they do,” she said.

GS LLS provided $220,814 to landcare and bushcare groups, supporting them to continue work restoring and maintaining environmental assets.

Funding was provided to the groups via the NSW Landcare Program, the NSW Environment Trust Every Bit Counts Program, Catchment Action NSW and the National Landcare Program.

 
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