WA groups dominate Landcare awards

Countryman
Jeff Pow,  Ella Maesepp,  Jill Richardson and  Rhonda Williams, with  Per Christensen of Blackwood Basin Group.
Camera IconJeff Pow, Ella Maesepp, Jill Richardson and Rhonda Williams, with Per Christensen of Blackwood Basin Group. Credit: Countryman

Six WA landcare champions have been recognised as winners within the 2016 National Landcare Awards, announced last week in Melbourne.

The WA groups dominated the biennial awards, which saw the presentation of nine individual and community volunteer categories plus the People’s Choice Award. The WA winners represent the diverse work of the Landcare movement in WA, with natural resource management activities ranging from sustainable farming practices to community rehabilitation of an iconic river basin.

Department of Agriculture and Food WA acting director general Mark Webb congratulated the national winners on their efforts, which made significant contributions to the environment in local communities.

Rhonda Williams of Bremer Bay accepted the Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award for her work managing a sustainable and profitable farming enterprise with her husband Ross, including hosting 200 field days and 20 on-farm trials.

Australian Government Landcare Facilitator or Coordinator Award winner Jill Richardson of Katanning was recognised for 25 years dedication to furthering Landcare in WA, with Katanning Landcare Conservation District Commission, as a farmer with husband Adrian, and volunteer.

Southampton Homestead of Balingup was presented the Australian Government Innovation in Sustainable Farm Practices Award. Its philosophy is that all is connected and interdependent, with owners Jeff Pow and Michelle McManus putting this into practice to grow and process all food on their farm, enhancing animal welfare outcomes and regenerating soil.

The homestead also claimed the People’s Choice Award.

Announced joint winner of the Manpower Young Landcare Leader Award, Ella Maesepp of Katanning has worked as a landcare officer in the Upper Blackwood area for 12 years, delivering projects to protect biodiversity, manage salinity, increase agricultural sustainability and reduce carbon footprints.

Blackwood Basin Group at Boyup Brook was presented with the Fairfax Landcare Community Group Award and has been co-ordinating Landcare projects across the catchment for more than two decades, working with 54 catchment groups.

THE WINNERS

· Rhonda Williams, Bremer Bay – Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award

· Jill Richardson, Katanning – Australian Government Landcare Facilitator or Coordinator Award

· Southampton Homestead, Balingup – Australian Government Innovation in Sustainable Farm Practices Award

· Ella Maesepp, Katanning – joint winner Manpower Young Landcare Leader Award

· Blackwood Basin Group, Boyup Brook – Fairfax Landcare Community Group Award

· Southampton Homestead – People's Choice Award

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