Local volunteers celebrated at Bushcare Awards

The Bushcare community has continued to thrive, despite a second disrupted year due to COVID-19 lockdowns, and have celebrated another wonderful year at the annual Bushcare Awards, held on Saturday 30 October.

For the second year, the awards were done under COVID-safe environment, with the Mayor, Bushcare team and award recipients together at the Council Chambers, and the ceremony live-streamed for the whole Bushcare community to enjoy.

The annual Bushcare Awards are an opportunity to celebrate all the volunteers, and honour those who have made outstanding contributions over the year.

Speaking at the awards, Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “I want to start by acknowledging the work you do on the Country, the land, the bush around us. We’re always talking about policies to protect the Blue Mountains, and the thing we think might enhance it. Your role is different, you are on the land, tending it with your hands and with your hearts. There can be no more honourable a title in these times, and in this place, than ‘environmentalist. And I have physically seen Country healed because of the work you do; by your hands bringing it back. Not just in small pockets, but vast parts of the Mountains.

“Thank you for the thousands of hours you give to the Blue Mountains. Thank you for the passion and love you bring to what you do. And thank you also to the Council Bushcare Officers and leadership, who guide and teach you, and give you the energy to do this important work.”

Mayor Greenhill presented individual awards to Ian Power, who received the Hard Yakka Award, Fiona Lumsden who received the Master Award, Vikki Wilmott-Sharp who received the Landcare Legend Award, and Ryan Kembrey who was awarded the Environmental Warrior Award.

Bushcare Volunteer Jasmine Paygett presented the Junior Ryan Strathdee Memorial Shield to Daemon Silk. And last year’s Bushcare Legend, Ross Day, continued the tradition of passing on the Golden Trowel Legend Award to this year’s recipient Rae Druitt.

The award ceremony was also an opportunity to reflect on the unique challenges the bush and our volunteers have faced over the last two years, with fires, floods and a global pandemic, and to celebrate the resilience, determination and undying positive spirit Bushcare volunteers embody.

As well as enjoying talks on the importance of native bees and the pollination of plants with Megan Halcroft, and the amazing biodiversity of birds around The Gully with John French, a number of Bushcare groups celebrated milestone birthdays:

• 25 Years

  • Sublime Point Bushcare Group
  • Charles Darwin Bushcare group

• 20 Years

  • Mt Riverview Bushcare group

• 15 Years

  • Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare
  • Long Angle Gully Landcare
  • Valley Heights (Benoit Park) Bushcare
  • North Lawson Homeschoolers

• 5 Years

  • Bush Place Bushcare
  • Raymond Street Bushcare
  • Seed Collection Group

The Bushcare Program will also be celebrating a major birthday next year, when they turn 30. There are over 500 volunteers across 65 Bushcare groups working throughout the Blue Mountains, each one driven by the passion and hard work of the volunteers, and supported by Council Bushcare Officers.

To learn more about volunteering with Bushcare go to: bmcc.nsw.gov.au/envirovolunteers

Photo: Award recipient Rae Druitt with her Golden Trowel

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