On Friday 16 November, the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority hosted its inaugural ‘Champions of the Catchment Event’ at Garan Vale Woolshed.
Conceived by John Carter and attended by over 95 local landcarers, the event offered locally-flavoured alternative to the state and national Landcare Awards with their constraining categories. The rules for these awards were for them to be local, and inspiring – really – no rules and no categories. The selected winners represented four entirely different ways of delivering on the theme.
On Saturday mornings Bronwyn Richards and Helen Lynch sell food from their own 1.5 acre Braidwood backyard from a small stall just off the main street. The first award recognised their humble enterprise which also includes free range Christmas turkeys and the occasional ham, really pushing the boundaries of a cottage garden.
The second award was to the Ramm/Tozer family for the long sighted, sustainable & innovative management of their mixed sheep/cattle farm 'Barwood'.
The third award was for the Marshall family’s transformation of 'Sunningdale', from a run-down cattle property to a diverse and productive farm and arboretum. This also showed the complexity of problems and solutions and included stories of goats, willows, yeoman’s ploughs, hard work, family solidarity and the passing of the decades.
The evening was capped off with a presentation to the Windellama Landcare group, for their longstanding community spirit and effort in tackling erosion problems on grand scales. A truly warm and inspiring group of people. The catering and camaraderie shone through as Phil Shoemark (a man of few words) took to the stage to make the final award.
Kristy Moyle is to be congratulated for organising a great event, and the food provided by Vanilla Catering was delicious. Place Stories made by Michael Gill and Chris Payne gave windows into the lives and farms of four champion landscapes.
Tours ran to champion's properties throughout Saturday. The champions' stories will be screening at Landcare's Biodiversity and Farming Fair on Friday the 30th of November in Ryrie Park.