Landcare volunteers celebrate 20 years of digging Lake Mac

An army of green-thumbed volunteers is preparing to blow out the candles on 20 years of caring for the environment in Lake Macquarie.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Lake Mac’s Landcare partnership, pulling together the efforts of more than 200 Landcare groups across the city and Lake Macquarie City Council.

Coordinator Jason Harvey said the model had seen local grassroots groups restore, rehabilitate and conserve huge tracts of land over the past two decades. “Lake Macquarie Landcare is a community-based organisation built on the successful working partnership between passionate local volunteers and Council,” he said.

He added that Lake Macquarie Landcare’s recognition in 2016 as the best Landcare partnership in Australia demonstrated the initiative’s ongoing success. “Without our amazing volunteers, this organisation would not exist,” Mr Harvey said. “We are indebted to them always, but this week – being National Volunteer Week – presents the perfect opportunity to show our thanks.”

Lake Mac’s 800-plus Landcarers contributed more than 16,400 hours of work in 2018, worth almost $1 million to the City. They cleared an estimated 163,000sqm of invasive plants such as bitou bush and lantana, replacing them with 11,300 native seedlings.

“We have groups right across Lake Macquarie, working on foreshores, sand dunes, creek lines and bushland reserves,” Mr Harvey said. “They are an excellent way to get out and do something for your local community, to meet new people and to learn new skills. “And if there isn’t already a Landcare group nearby, we’re always keen to discuss the potential of starting a new one