Together, Dave Carr and Chris Whackett are working with Uralla, Armidale, Guyra and Walcha Councils to improve the condition of our urban riparian and bushland areas.
Dave Carr. Project Director, High Country Urban Biodiversity Project (HiCUB).
How long have you been with HiCUB?
I have been the HiCUB Project Director for around 18 months.
How did Uralla get involved in the HiCUB project?
HiCUB is a NSW Environmental trust project funded by money raised through fines for things such as pollution. Over 3 years ago, they called for Councils to put up projects for urban sustainability. A Uralla community group was keen to get involved, but the criteria stated that they had to have ten thousand people living in the area. They spoke with Armidale, Walcha and Guyra Councils and Southern New England Landcare, and between that group they had the numbers to gain a successful bid.
Describe a typical day at work?
I look after a team of six people. My job is mainly chasing projects, making sure that they on track, or getting everything in order. For example, I might be up at Mother of Ducks Lagoon in Guyra showing contractors the site we have chosen to sustain. Or, I might be out spraying to prepare for tree planting. I also measure creeks in preparation for engineering work, and I also do lots of flora and fauna surveys.
What current projects are you working on?
We’ve got hundreds of projects going on at the moment. It’s full steam ahead. To name but a few, in Uralla we are doing quite a bit of work in the creek. We built a lot of what we call rock flumes, which stop creek erosion, preventing the bed of the creek washing away. We had a community tree planting project happening at Alma Park in mid October. This gave the Uralla community an opportunity to beautify their area. We recently had ‘Woodland Week’, which is a whole lot of flora and fauna study and discussions. It was a survey on our local reptiles and bats. It was about showing locals what is living in their bush.
How can Uralla residents get involved with HiCUB?
There will be a number of community plantings happening in the immediate future. We have a regular working bee in the Uralla bushland. People in Uralla are invited to join Chris to regenerate native bushland. Anyone who is interested in participating can go to our website: www.hicub.org.au
All of our activities are listed, and we up- date it regularly.
Chris Whackett. Bush Regenerator with Southern New England Landcare (SNELCC).
How long have you been with HiCUB?
I have been involved with HiCUB since November 2010. I have been employed as a casual bush regenerator, which involves me going to bushland areas and precincts around Armidale and Uralla. There are community plantings happening all around the region, and they get me to delegate and get people to participate.
Where did you learn to care for the land?
I completed a Diploma in Conservation and Land Management down in Melbourne a few years ago and was working for a bush regeneration company down there before I moved up here.
Describe the work you are currently doing in Uralla?
Since the beginning of the year, I have worked in two main areas. The first one is up on Mt Mutton. That’s a really good mixed Stringybark woodland; it’s like a remnant patch, basically. Some of the best native bushland in Uralla, it has a lot of woody weed issues and a few other emerging ground cover problems.
The other area we are working on is the Glen; we are cleaning up woody weeds and planting new trees and shrubs.
How do you manage to get assistance from volunteers?
We run working bees twice a month on Mt Mutton and once a month at the Glen. Anyone from the community is invited to join us to learn how we are looking after things.
This concept of encouraging locals to assist hasn’t been done much in Uralla before, so we think it will take time to build interest. I must say though, some of the areas that we are regenerating are popular walking areas, and some locals are noticing what we are doing.
Most locals see it as a really good thing. The word is definitely getting around now, and I would like to encourage anyone to come along and help.
How is the Juvenile Justice program involved?
We have a couple of kids at the moment who are coming up to help once a week.
It’s a terrific way to help these kids to re-engage into a working environment and to get them out into the great outdoors.
They seem to be really enjoying it, and we love the idea of getting local kids involved.
Why should people get behind these projects?
A lot of our native bushland is very fragmented, due to building and construction.
Although we are not as built up as some major cities, I think people would be surprised at just how much diversity of wildlife, fauna and flora that still persist. They face threat and pressures these days, with a lot of areas becoming islands.
Getting involved in local land rejuvenation gives one the opportunity to get to know and enjoy this greater back yard that we are living in.
It’s also a great way to meet people.