Landcare alive and well in the Shire of Kojonup

Volunteers Chris Lewis and Sue O’Halloran with Landcare Officer Jane Kowald and her daughter Claire at Kojonup’s Myrtle Benn Reserve.

One of Kojonup’s most treasured and popular visiting places, Myrtle Benn Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, is reaping the benefits of funding provided under the South West Catchments Council’s (SWCC) Strategic Groundworks Program.

Shire of Kojonup Natural Resource Management and Landcare Officer, Jane Kowald, used the grant to complete on-ground work at Myrtle Benn Flora and Fauna Sanctuary and reinvigorate the Friends of Myrtle Benn Group.

“It’s been almost five years since the Shire of Kojonup last had a Landcare Officer,” Mrs Kowald said.

“We also used funds to control weeds, build nest boxes for red-tailed phascogales and host community engagement events at Myrtle Benn Flora and Fauna Sanctuary. The community response and support has been fantastic.”

The Shire of Kojonup contributes to the project by providing four staff to help at the monthly working bees. It also installed some much-needed directional signage and provides ongoing administration support to Mrs Kowald.

Regular volunteers at the Reserve, Chris Lewis and Sue O’Halloran, really appreciate the difference it is making having Mrs Kowald in the role
“Jane has provided motivation and coordination for our efforts and is also a focal point for the Sanctuary,” said Mrs Lewis, who has been volunteering at the Reserve since the 1960s and is responsible for the herbarium located at the Kodja place.

Ms O’Halloran said she’d been coming to the reserve for many years. She was one of Myrtle Benn’s students almost 50 years ago and said it was partly where her love of native orchids began, the other part being her parents influence.

“Jane is also fostering knowledge and interest in native plants and animals by bringing school children here for activities,” she said. “It is so important that this happens when children are young.”

The funding was also used to control bridal creeper and sharp rush in the Shire of Kojonup.

The Strategic Groundworks Program has provided funding over three years to 13 community Landcare groups within the South West Catchments Council region who directly facilitate and engage the community in Landcare and sustainable agricultural activities on private and public land.

The funds go towards on-ground works to protect biodiversity, sites of ecological value and to support the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. In addition, the funds assist to build capacity within the Landcare groups to engage the community and increase knowledge and skills.

This program is delivered by the South West Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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