Conservation creates connection in Tarcowie

Blog story |
Conservation creates connection in Tarcowie

Over the past 22 years, Tarcowie Landcare Group has planted more than 100,000 native tube stock, eradicated countless invasive weeds and built invaluable community partnerships that have provided greater connection with the land.

The group’s impressive track record has been thanks to a passionate group of volunteers and landholders.

June Jenkins is one of them.

She became involved as a once-off volunteer who had travelled from Adelaide to assist with a creek regeneration project. June fell in love with Tarcowie and ended up moving there, and she has been hands-on with Landcare and caring for the environment ever since. While she is the current secretary and treasurer of the local Landcare group, June has also propagated thousands of tube stock over the past two decades – among them, a number of endangered species – in a makeshift nursery on her property.

She is just one small piece of the puzzle, and her commitment is reflective of volunteers across the country, none more so than the Tarcowie Landcare Group. When the opportunity arose for a Northern and Yorke Landscape Board Grassroots Grant, it gave the group the impetus to continue its work for the local environment.

And it gave June access to some much-needed new seedling tables to help make her work a little easier and replace the makeshift tables that had been knocked together over the years and were now “disintegrated and in a state of disrepair”.

“We’re a volunteer organisation, so we run on fundraising and funding,” June said. “Without the Grassroots Grants there are a lot of things we just wouldn’t be able to do.

“Some of our major projects would not have been possible without the grant – that’s a lot of fundraising we would have had to do by ourselves just to take on these projects. This type of funding is vital, it’s critical actually, to us being able to do these local projects.”

Conservation creates connection in Tarcowie
June Jenkins, secretary and treasurer of Tarcowie Landcare Group.

One of those projects has been integrated weed control. It is an ongoing battle to try and eradicate weeds that suppress native vegetation around Tarcowie – and there are many. Boxthorn, rice millet, gazania, chincherinchee and bone seed among them. “The soursob has also been a major focus for us along the creek lines,” June said. “It was a severe problem that we’ve been able to eradicate thanks to our work and being able to fund a contractor who was experienced in working in sensitive areas. “Over time it has made a huge difference. A lot of lillies and native plants have now reestablished.”

June acknowledges that caring for the land and keeping on top of the invasive weeds will be an ongoing project, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. “I know we’ll never finish this work in my lifetime, or anyone’s lifetime,” she said.

“But when we go and look at areas that we worked on 20 years ago and there’s big trees growing there now, and we see the birds and wildlife moving through, it’s just fantastic.

“It’s so rewarding, just in that sense alone, it gives you a real buzz to see little birds flittering around in the vegetation that I know we’ve planted.

“It’s a really nice, really satisfying experience.”

Keen to pass on their knowledge, Tarcowie Landcare Group enjoys a partnership with Orroroo Area School, with students involved in an annual planting day.

June said aside from the benefit to the local environment, the initiative was providing an opportunity for students to connect with the land.

“We plant one of the roadsides every year and the kids come out and help us plant out about 1000-1500 plants on the day and then enjoy a sausage sizzle,” June said.

“When you hear positive comments from the kids, it’s really rewarding.

“They’re making a connection with the land and what they have planted and that’s really important.

“Some of the students have even gone on to work for Landscape SA and I’d like to think part of their interest was sparked by our passion for what we’re doing here around Tarcowie.”

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