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Local Landcare heroes get state recognition

Two of the Mallee’s leading Landcarers have taken out coveted awards at the highly prestigious Victorian Landcare Awards.

Local Landcare heroes get state recognition

Mallee CMA chairperson Sharyon Peart with award winners Malcolm Thompson and Darren Perry.

Darren Perry was awarded the Indigenous Award in recognition of his inspirational and practical approach to preserving Aboriginal cultural heritage and enhancing the environment through his work with the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Long-serving Mallee CMA employee and Landcare stalwart Malcolm Thompson won the Dr Sidney Plowman Travel and Study Award, which he plans to use to travel to Western Australia to learn more about revegetating areas using native plants.

Both awards were presented last week at Government House by Governor Alex Chernov and Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith. Mallee CMA Board chairperson Sharyon Peart praised the award winners, saying their contribution to the region was outstanding.

“To have two local people win such esteemed awards really illustrates the level of knowledge and passion for the environment that exists in our region,” she said.

“Darren and Malcolm have both worked hard in their areas of expertise to make a tangible difference to improve our local region.”

Darren has a long working relationship with the Mallee CMA, which has included his involvement in Cultural Heritage Management Plans and associated protection works at Mulcra and Lindsay Islands. Darren, who is a Ngintait person, is also a member of the Mallee CMA’s recently-formed Aboriginal Reference Group.

“Darren’s commitment to environmental projects and to building an understanding of cultural heritage has changed attitudes as well as environmental outcomes,” Ms Peart said.

“His experience and willingness to share his knowledge has been pivotal to the success of major environmental projects at some of the culturally-sensitive sites in our region.”

Malcolm Thomson has worked in the region for the last 18 years and for the Mallee CMA since 2005. He has had a long association with Landcare and was a Landcare Co-ordinator prior to becoming a Community Support Officer.

“Malcolm’s award is recognition of his the enormous amount of work he has done over the years to revegetate important areas of the Victorian Mallee,” Ms Peart said.

“He’s particularly passionate about planting native trees and his long-held belief is that the best time to plan trees was 50 years ago – the second best time to plant trees is now.”

Ms Peart also congratulated the Red Cliffs Community Landcare Group and the Mallee CMA, which were also named as finalists in the Victorian Landcare Awards.

The Red Cliffs Community Landcare Group was a finalist in the Education Award, which recognised the important role Landcare can play in school communities. The group was started by the Red Cliffs Secondary College and is one of the few new groups to be formed in Victoria in the past year. The group is the vision of committed teachers and parents and a student body and has a mission to establish the Red Cliffs Secondary College as a “sustainable school”.

It aims to reduce the environmental footprint of the operation and activities of the new science wing with the use of solar energy, recycled water and rainwater.

The Mallee CMA’s Environmental Management Action Planning (EMAP) program was selected as a finalist in the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Award. This award was open to NRM organisations in any of Australia’s 56 NRM regions and recognised excellence and innovation in creating partnerships with Landcare groups to deliver natural resource and environmental management.

EMAP supports farmers with a whole farm planning and environmental management systems approach to assessing water, land and biodiversity assets.

The program has engaged to date 287 dryland farmers with land holdings of 814,776 hectares. This equates to 38% of the estimated Mallee catchment dryland area.

EMAP is delivered by the Mallee CMA in conjunction with the Department of Primary Industries and SunRISE 21 Inc. Funding is provided by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country and the Victorian Government’s Victorian Investment Framework.

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