Landcare and bushcare volunteers in the Blue Mountains provide 52,000 hours of service

A Greater Sydney Local Land Services survey has found landcare and bushcare volunteers in the Central Coast contributed 52,320 hours of environmental service in the 2021/2022 financial year.

Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Coordinator Madeleine Florin said their contribution equated to around $2.2 million worth of conservation efforts to protect and restore the area’s world-renowned bushland and $276,055 of avoided healthcare costs.

“The Central Coast is home to 84 groups compromising of 685 regular and 121 one-off volunteers carrying out activities including bush regeneration, tree planting (with 43,200 plants propagated), community education and advocacy work,” Madeleine said.

Local groups include the Community Environment Network’s (CEN) Wildplant Community Nursery.

“The Wildplant Community Nursery has been providing the Central Coast Community with provenance plants since 2009,” Madeleine said.

“Today the group is much more than just a community nursery. The nursery is a hub for the local community to find environmental information, join workshops, volunteer and learn from monthly talks from professionals and knowledgeable locals.”

CEN also supports five Landcare groups known locally as Green Teams. These groups rally together landholders who work together and want to learn more about private land conservation on their properties.

A Greater Sydney Local Land Services survey representing the state of landcare and bushcare in the Greater Sydney region for 2021/2022 has highlighted the integral role landcare and bushcare volunteers play in the enhancement, maintenance and protection of Sydney’s unique and beautiful bushland.

“Overall across the Greater Sydney region nearly 900 groups were engaged in bushcare and landcare activities, with 7,100 regular volunteers and 11,791 one-off volunteers contributing a total of 187,362 hours of work,” Madeleine said.

“This work is estimated to be equal to $7.8 million of in-kind labour costs which is a truly remarkable achievement given the first half of 2021/22 resulted in reduced numbers of workdays and volunteers due to COVID-19.

“While regular volunteer numbers declined by 30%, the number of one-off volunteers more than doubled compared to the last survey in 2019/20 and there was a 13% increase in the number of hours worked.

“Community health, wellbeing, citizen science, specialist skills and community education are all additional benefits that environmental volunteers provide to our region.

“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.”

Greater Sydney Local Land Services provided $183,949 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 National Landcare Program and other NSW Government funding.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services surveys landcare and bushcare groups across the region every two years to track the wellbeing of the volunteer community.

“This information helps us to understand the type of support these volunteers need and promote the benefits off environmental volunteering across the region,” Madeleine said.

Read the full report here.

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