A McLaren Vale community group that began as a project to restore local creeks has won a major Landcare award.
The McLaren Vale Biodiversity Project (MVBP) was recently announced the winner of the ‘Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare’ Award at the SA Community Landcare Conference in Bordertown. The project is a joint initiative of Friends of Willunga Basin, Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges (AMLR) and local industry.
Accepting the award, MVBP co-founders Geoff Hayter and Jock Harvey said “the third party endorsement we have received through the Landcare Award has given all of our volunteers a great sense of pride and satisfaction … this award is a big thank you to all the volunteers that are making a tangible change to their local environment.”
Geoff Hayter is Chair of Friends of Willunga Basin, while Jock Harvey is owner of Chalk Hill Wines.
Staff from the Willunga office of Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges (AMLR) have provided technical, moral and financial support to the project, through training, safety equipment and logistics. This support ensures that MVBP can follow the direction of the priorities of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board to achieve successful environmental outcomes.
Natural Resources AMLR Sustainable Agriculture Officer Jeff Edwards said the partnerships and community ground-swell and ownership is what has made the project such a success.
“The group’s main membership is made up of young families who bring their children out to field days where they can make a change from a young age and leave a legacy,” he said.
MVBP was started in 2015 with the aim of removing weeds such as feral olives from selected creek lines and roadsides within the Willunga Basin. MVBP volunteers have been working to replace weeds with endemic species and to maintain those plantings while they establish. At Coriole winery, for example, volunteers are removing boneseed and olives from a Grey Box woodland, a nationally threatened plant community.
MVBP member Ben Paxton from Paxton Wines said the project was about “leaving the landscape in better shape than you found it.”
MVBP will represent South Australia at the 2020 National Landcare Awards.