All systems go for 31 Grassroots Grants-funded landscape projects

News article |

The Northern and Yorke Landscape Board has awarded more than $245,000 in Grassroots Grants funding to empower the community, First Nations, councils and volunteers to care for the region’s landscapes.

The 2023-2024 Grassroots Grants program will kick-start 23 new projects and extend the life of 8 existing projects that all care for our land, water and nature.

For the first time in 4 rounds, the Board has introduced a dedicated funding pool of $50,000 to First Nations-led projects. Three First Nations organisations received $10,000 each, while projects that support education about First Nations’ culture and connection to Country received the remainder.

All systems go for 31 Grassroots Grants-funded landscape projects
Nukunu Elder Lindsay Thomas with Zora Wilson and Leah Taylor after collecting saltbush seeds. Credit: Greening Australia

One of these projects is a Nukunu bush food and medicine garden. It will build on native seed collection work achieved through the Board’s Arid Seeding project, where Nukunu people together with Greening Australia collected 108 kilograms of native seed to regenerate and build resilience on pastoral properties near Orroroo.

The Grassroots Grant will allow Nukunu to make use of the remaining seed to grow a native seed bank and garden at Warnertown near Port Pirie. The project’s bigger picture is about supporting Nukunu people, including Aboriginal youth to work on Country and creating a shared wellbeing space for local mental health initiatives.

Nukunu elder Lindsay Thomas said winning the Grassroots Grant was another exciting step in what will hopefully become a long-term project.

“From little things, big things grow,” he said. “Our first priority is growing a bush food and medicine garden and down the track we’ll look at tourism opportunities like cooking and talking about bush foods. With the mental health side of things, we’d like to see people out there caring for plants and watching them grow because that’s good rehabilitation.”

All systems go for 31 Grassroots Grants-funded landscape projects
Pygmy bluetongue lizards are now only found in the Northern and Yorke region. Credit: Annette Marner

A total of 31 Grassroots Grants were awarded in the 2023-2024 round to a variety of community groups and volunteer organisations, Friends of Parks groups and councils. Some of the projects involve protecting sensitive coastal dunes on Yorke Peninsula, weed control along rail corridors, road reserves and recreation trails and uncovering a best estimate of pygmy bluetongue lizards (Tiliqua adelaidensis).

The pygmy bluetongue lizard is an endangered species found exclusively on sheep-grazed properties in the Northern and Yorke region, between Kapunda and Peterborough. Monitoring population size is critical to this reptile’s future, so Nature Foundation will use its Grassroots Grant to develop a method to monitor lizard numbers.

All of the successful Grassroots Grants-funded projects align with one or more of the Board’s Regional Landscape Plan priorities, which are biodiversity, communities, pest plant and animal control, water management and sustainable agriculture.

In the agriculture space, Grain Producers SA will use the funding to understand on-farm grain emissions while the Barossa Improved Grazing Group will upgrade weather stations and the Clare Valley Wine and Grape Association aims to determine integrated pest management practices for controlling light brown apple moth in vineyards.

The Grassroots Grants program is offered annually through the regional landscape levy, with the next round of applications opening in autumn 2024. View the list of 2023/2024 Grassroots Grants recipients.

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