FEW things draw a consensus from The NSW Nationals, The Greens and Labor – but Landcare is one of them – and a historic harbourside planting by a bunch of Boorowa schoolkids has once again brought farming and environment to the same table.
An early rise and coach trip north for 40 students has kicked off the first bush-to-city reciprocal visit in the 17-year history of the Building Bridges to Boorowa program.
The program has seen North Sydney Bushcare volunteers plant more than 40,000 plants during annual weekend trips to Boorowa since 2000.
This week it was the Hilltop shire’s turn to repay the favour, with teams of kids from Boorowa Central and St Joseph’s Boorowa swapping clay-based soils of southern NSW for the sandstone aggregate around the North Sydney Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability.
Local Banksias and Tegrefolia, Kangaroo grass, Flax Lilly and Mat Rush from a volunteer-manned nursery were placed into soils previously laden with coal dust, with teams working to extend the remnant Angophora Foreshore Forest that is found around Sydney Harbour.
Even our state pollies called a truce, via Macquarie Street’s Parliamentary Friends of Landcare group, with Katrina Hodgkinson, Greg Alpin, Mick Veitch, Jodie Harrison, Penny Sharpe, and Jeremy Buckingham getting their hands into the soil.
Boorowa landholder Steve Jarvis, who took part in a question-and-answer session with Ms Hodgkinson and North Sydney Bushcare’s Sissy Stewart, offered his thoughts on Landcare as this:
“Landcare has been an education for me, it’s been an education for a lot of farmers,” he said.
“Our countryside needs the trees. It’s about looking after biodiversity. And in this Landcare is working.”
“If you look at a picture of the Boorowa area from 25 years ago, compare it to now, it’s a totally different story.”
“I think farmers get a bad rap in many ways. But in a region like Boorowa it comes down to economics as well as environment.
“I’m a sheep producer. Trees give shelter and protection to my sheep.”
The next Building Bridges to Boorowa voyage south will take place in September.