I am delighted to let you know that the Red Hill Regenerators were last night (5 August 2021) announced as the national winners of the Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award! The award ceremony was to be held in Sydney at the national Landcare conference but this was converted to an online function including a gathering in Canberra that linked into the national hook-up.
It’s quite an honour to be chosen from all the state and territory finalists. The Award was presented by John Paul Maloney, the Managing Editor of the Canberra Times, which is part of Australian Community Media.
From l to r: Robyn Tulloh, John Paul Maloney, Ross Kingsland, Sarah Todd & Rob Douglas accept the 2021 ACM National Landcare Community Group Award
Red Hill Regenerators have been working on the Reserve since 1989 and we have made a significant impact in that time. You can read a summary of our entry below and feel proud that you have been part of this achievement.
Thank you to all of you who come out in all sorts of weather to work on the hill – weeding, planting, counting and in many other ways. I am constantly amazed at the combination of commitment, deep knowledge and relevant, broad experience that you bring to the group.
In particular, thanks to Michael Mulvaney our founder and guru who continues to inspire and guide us. When I accepted the award last night, I acknowledged Michael’s crucial part in our success and there was spontaneous and loud applause from the audience for his contribution – it was well deserved.
Thanks to Landcare Australia including Karissa Preuss and the team from the ACT, all the Landcare supporters including the Federal Government and Australian Community Media, our ACT partners, the ACT Government Parks and Conservation Service including our wonderful Rangers and the support we received from the ACT Southern Catchment Group.
Red Hill Regenerators Nomination for the National Landcare Awards – Summary
The Red Hill Regenerators (RHR) ParkCare group started in 1989, committed to restore the native bushland ecology of the Red Hill Nature Reserve, one of the largest remaining remnants of endangered Yellow Box – Blakley’s Red Gum grassy woodland in Australia.
When the group started, woody weeds such as pyracantha, cotoneaster and Cootamundra wattle occupied over half of the site and invasive weeds such as Serrated Tussock, Chilean Needlegrass, African Lovegrass, St John’s Wort, Verbascum, thistles and Patterson’s curse were becoming the dominant ground cover.
After 30 years and over 40,000 hours of work, there has been a sixfold reduction in woody weed cover, tens of hectares of serrated tussock reduced to the occasional scattered plant and over 8 hectares of Chilean Needlegrass infestation restored to native grasslands.
Extensive work has also been undertaken to halt what was once widespread track and gully erosion. In 1988, weeds dominated over 50% of the reserve, it is now down to less than 10%. in 1988, there were 21 ha of high-quality woodland, now there is over 130 ha. Not only has overall vegetation condition dramatically improved but populations of nearly all of the fifty threatened or rare plant species have flourished. For example, numbers of the endangered daisy, Button Wrinkelwort, have tripled and populations of Silky Swanson’s Pea, Yellow Burr-daisy, Tick Bush, Native Trefoil and Nawarra Burr have increased by at least an order of magnitude.
The Red Hill Regenerators works closely with the Parks and Conservation Service of the ACT Government and involves many groups including local primary and high schools, scout groups and businesses.
The site has become an educational resource and the group have hosted large numbers of visitors on guided walks, developed interpretive signage and distributed educational brochures to neighbouring communities. Through seeking and supporting community involvement, the profile of the conservation importance of Red Hill Nature Reserve has been raised to the point where, in ACT Planning and Land Authority planning documents, it is considered to be the most valued community resource by residents in all surrounding suburbs.