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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Don a Landcare Champion in a piece of paradise

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Landcare Champion Don Durrant at his Afterlee property. Photo Tree Faerie.

Local Kyogle legend Don Durrant has been honoured in an award ceremony for his services to the planet.

Winning Landcare projects were announced last week at the NSW Landcare Awards at Broken Hill Civic Centre, where Landcare champions from across NSW came together to celebrate impressive achievements in the Landcare community.

Hosted by Chris McCulloch, Business Partner for Landcare at Local Land Services, the awards celebrate incredible efforts to protect NSW land, water and biodiversity.

The ceremony saw award winners from diverse categories, including farming, coast care and Indigenous land management announced by representatives of award sponsors and NSW Landcare community champions/stalwarts.

Don, who was awarded the title of Landcare Champion, is a founding member of the Kyogle Landcare group and among other things, is a farmer, market gardener, builder, fencer (the paddock kind, not the en garde kind), bushwalk leader, protester and larrikin.

Growing a piece of paradise

For many years Don has been nurturing a special piece of paradise near his home at Afterlee, near Kyogle. He is reforesting land, cleared by previous owners, back into acres of rainforest which he has painstakingly tended. Don provides opportunities for continuous learning and skill development for the broader community by regularly hosting field days on his property.

Don is very humble about his win, and says he loves every minute of his efforts. ‘l am honoured to be able to give back and I just want lots of others to do the same,’ he said. ’The world is in trouble and we all need to get off our bums.’

Don says there were a lot of deserving folk nominated for awards. ‘I met a lot of very deserving people in Broken Hill. I am humbled and encouraged all at once. My big hope is that my efforts encourage other people to get out there and do similar stuff. It is easy and there is a need.’

NSW Local Land Services CEO David Witherdin, with Landcare Champions Don Durrant, Nerida Croker who was awarded Grand Champion for the category and Jane Ireland.

A celebration of Landcare in NSW

Stephanie Cameron, Chair of Landcare NSW, together with Richard Bull, Chair of Local Land Services, paid tribute to award finalists and champions. ‘The Landcare Awards Gala Event in Broken Hill is a great celebration of Landcare in NSW. The awards recognise individuals, groups and partnerships across the state as well as, and most importantly, First Nations custodians caring for country,’ Mr Bull said.

‘On behalf of the Landcare NSW community, I congratulate all the nominees and recipients of the awards. Landcare is about communities working together to create positive outcomes for the environment and the agricultural landscape across NSW. It has never been more important that we continue to support and recognise the dedication and commitment of our Landcarers and recognise their tremendous efforts,’ said Mrs Cameron.

Grand champions of the NSW National Award categories will go on to represent the whole NSW Landcare Community at the 2020 National Landcare Awards in Sydney.

Great work being carried out by our Landcare champions

Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish, commended recipients of the NSW Landcare Awards on their outstanding accomplishments. ‘It’s an honour to be able to recognise the great work being carried out by our Landcare champions in NSW,’ Dr Norrish said. ‘The Landcare Awards program provides landcarers the ideal opportunity to get together and celebrate the individual and collective achievements of landcare in the community.

‘Landcarers across Australia deserve to be acknowledged and we’re looking forward to seeing NSW winners represent their community at the National Landcare Awards next year.’

Don Durrant said it’s very nice to have his endeavours recognised, but there were 57 nominations in his category and they all did wonderful work. ‘They all deserve recognition and appreciation for their contributions and to each and every one of them l say a great big THANK YOU.

‘To all of the many people who have helped and encouraged me (and you are many) l am very grateful and a bit emotional at this time too. l love what l do and l do what l love. Planting trees is really easy – it is a great necessity and extremely rewarding.’

The entire cohort of 2019 NSW Landcare Award winners are:

Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award – Nerida Croker

Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award – Floating Landcare

Australian Government Landcare Farming Award – Amarula Dorpers

Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Award – Land to Market Australia

Virgin Coastcare Award – Take 3 Ltd

Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award – Martindale Creek Catchment Landcare Inc

Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award – Megalong Valley Public

Indigenous Land Management Award – Aunty Francis Bodkin

Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award – Richie Benson

BCF Give Back to Fish Habitat Award – Gunning District Landcare

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