Catchment Keepers

Catchment Keepers is a series of workshops funded by the National Landcare Program ‘Smart Farms Small Grants’

Murrumbidgee Landcare are conducting a series workshops designed by and for women farmers and farm partners. The workshops are being conducted in eight locations across our region, Including Hay.

The workshops engage local women in a program of discussions, farm walks, academic insights and workshops focused on kick starting programs at a range of scales. Through the workshops, we hope to empower women to take on-farm leadership and custodian roles. We will help support participants to take on the responsible tenure of the natural resources, land, water and native species on their properties, by building understanding and confidence to take a leading role in producing healthy food from a healthy landscape.

1# Introduction to Catchment Keepers

Friday 15th October International Day of Rural Women ‘recognises the critical role and contribution of rural women.’

The perfect day for our first Catchment Keepers Workshop! With wonderful guest speakers showcasing their amazing work: Dimity Comb – Speckle park breeding, Michele Groat- Environmental water, Joanne Diver, Backyard Garden Enthusiast Marg Bull – Revegetation & Regeneration at Oakville.

The wonderful workshop also included Basket weaving with Debbie Wood, Sip n Paint with Debbie Donohoe and Ceramics with Joanne Diver

#2 Tree Health and Native Bees

Jade Auldist from Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc recently ran the second Catchment Keepers workshop in Hay.  The workshop focused on ‘tree health for habitat, revegetation and regeneration’ with Jannelle Beard and ‘Australian Native Pollinators’ with Joanne Diver.

Jannelle Beard (Product Development Coordinator, Land Management Agribusiness SkillsPoint) discussed the effects of damage to leaves, a healthy root system, tree trunk structure, reaction wood in response to tree stress and how to identify signs and symptoms of health or stresses to trees. She also outlined the three main sections of a tree and plant; a crown (leaves), a stem or trunk and a root system. “Each one of these sections carries out specific functions necessary for survival. A tree is in a state of dynamic interaction and balance between the root and shoot so that if one of these sections is damaged, the whole tree will suffer and symptoms may appear in any part of the tree”.

Joanne Diver focused on native bees and how to welcome these pollinators into your garden. 15 participants learnt that 70% of native bees, nest in the ground and 30% are timber nesting bees. And the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) was Introduced in 1822.

“There are over 1700 Native bees in Australia, 1650 of those species have been names. The Solitary Bee does not live in a colony and does not produce honey, but serves as a valuable pollinator in our gardens. The Sugar Bag or Trigona Bees are social bees that live together in an organised way, there are only 11 species of the 1650 or so named species that are social bees. Some solitary bees work together for instance a Hylaeus bee may work with another to guard the entrance of their nest.”

Joanne’s presentation also included hands on learning with participants creating Bee hotel/Inns and continuing their ceramics (follow up from the first workshop).

#3 Principles of Grazing

Jade Auldist from Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc ran the final 2021 workshop in the Catchment Keepers series in Hay in early December. 

The first speakers of this workshop were Tanisha Shields from Western Local Land Services and Sally Ware from Riverina Local Land Services.  Their talk focused on landscape systems including grazing management and mapping software packages.  A large display of native plants and native plant literature was made available to the participants and there were paddock tree giveaways. 

Local landholder Michelle Spence was the next speaker and she talked about the grazing operation that she runs at Lake Waljeers and Little Lake with her husband Dave.  Michelle also showed clips of cattle mustering from the air and ran a gentle yoga class for the participants.

The final speaker was Joanne Diver from The Backyard Gardening Enthusiast in Albury, who had a diverse display of dried native plants and encouraged everyone how to make a small native plant display or boutonniere. 

#4 Renewable energy, revegetation, seed ball rolling and networking

Another wonderful Catchment Keepers workshop was held on Friday, April 29th. The workshop included amazing presenters and wonderful activities. Our local catchment keepers walked away with new knowledge, confidence, and friendships.

#5 Native Garden Plants, Local Discovery, Women’s Networks, Direct Seeding, Quadbike Safety & Networking

The final Hay Catchment Keepers Workshop was held on September 26, with twenty keen participants in attendance.

Joanne Driver, The Backyard Garden Enthusiast, was back to teach everyone about native plants in the garden, design and management. She also presented on native garden plant propagation where everyone was involved in a practical session having a go themselves!

Samantha Davies also returned with her follow-on drypoint etching workshop where participants created their own native plant etches and beautiful prints.

Sally Ware, Riverina Local Land Services Senior Land Service Officer (Rangelands/Grazing), was on hand to speak about a recent significant discovery of rare native yam daisies known as Microseris walteri, on a travelling stock reserve near Hay.

We heard from Sandra Ireson, Hay Inc Program Manager, about opportunities in network organisations including the Rural Women’s Network, Australian Women in Agriculture, The Thriving Women’s Conference and The National Rural Women’s Coalition.

Returning this time as a participant and presenter, Jade Auldist, Riverina Local Land Services Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator, outlined how the Hay Plains Landcare Direct Seeder is used and available for member revegetation sites.

Attendees watched a Landline ABC News film on Quad Bike Safety and learned how quad bikes are high risk vehicles and were responsible for nearly 300 avoidable deaths since 2001. Safety signs were provided and information about government rebates for roll bars and a link to order their own Quad Bike Safety Toolkit were included in their take-home packages.

Debbie Donohoe, Hay Art Inc President, detailed how we could all be involved in Hay Art and Murrumbidgee Landcare’s Plants of the Plains Art Exhibition in celebration of the native plants in our region.

To wrap up the day everyone created their own acrylic poured paint wooden serving board.

Feedback from the day was very positive and Murrumbidgee Landcare is hopeful for additional funding to continue similar workshops in the future.