A Darwin group’s 20 year commitment to improving a creek catchment and opening it to nature walkers hasn’t just created a beautiful space, it has forged friendships and cultivated wider appreciation for a healthy environment.
The Ludmilla Creek Landcare Group, who are finalists in the Northern Territory Natural Resource Management (NT NRM) Awards being held on November 23, have transformed the creek catchment area north-east of the Darwin racetrack.
President Tony Cox said much of the area had changed completely from a degraded landscape dominated by weeds two decades ago, to a welcoming space with a healthy mangrove system and self-sustaining native vegetation systems.
In the past eight years, the Ludmilla Creek Landcare Group, made up of mostly local volunteers who live nearby, has planted more than 1,200 native plants, created walking tracks and engaged with fellow neighbours and businesses.
Areas within the catchment that were unpassable before, now attract 30 to 40 people a day, who come to enjoy a nature hike or walk their dogs.
“I think Darwin is very blessed,” Mr Cox said.
“Whether it’s by good planning or by accident, but to have so many relatively healthy, untouched mangroves and natural vegetation habitats so close to the city, and in many cases along our foreshore, I think that’s something many cities around the world would like to have.”
Mr Cox said the area’s natural beauty and friendly atmosphere continued to be a draw card, even for members who had moved out of the area, but kept coming back for monthly working bees.
“We enjoy each other’s company and everybody’s developed a greater understanding and appreciation of natural systems and how they operate.”
The Ludmilla Creek Landcare Group’s story is one of more than two dozen being celebrated at this month’s NT NRM Awards, where the group is a finalist in the category for Urban NRM Group.
The NT NRM awards recognise the achievements of Territorians who contribute their time and energy to sustainably managing the land, water, soil, plants and animals that make up the Territory’s natural environment.
There are 25 finalists, vying for 10 awards this year, including the People’s Choice category, which is decided solely by votes from the public.
Territory Natural Resource Management chief executive Karen May said the Awards gala dinner was part of a three-day conference that attracts hundreds of Territorians including pastoralists, Indigenous rangers, scientists, government staff, researchers, Landcare workers and volunteers involved in managing fire, weeds, feral animals, cultural and natural assets.
“The Northern Territory is home to 67 sites of conservation significance, 189 threatened species, 7 feral animals and 17 weeds of national significance,” Ms May said.
“Working to protect these assets and manage the threats is a huge job.”
Ms May encouraged everyone to visit http://www.tnrmconference.org.au/awards to see the great work being done by this year’s finalists.