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Landcare celebrates 20 years of volunteers

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Conservation

Landcare tree planting

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This week's Landcare Week is not only a celebration of efforts to help Australia's natural environment, but marks the 20th anniversary of the group's 100,000-strong, nation-wide volunteer network.

Landcare is one of the most successful community movements in Australia, with over 4,000 community groups across the country dedicating time and resources to caring for, repairing and managing our natural resources.

The volunteers work on a range of projects, from planting native trees and restoring bushland to protecting threatened plants and animals and tackling environmental issues in urban towns and cities.

Currently around three-quarters of Australian farmers are involved in, or benefit from, Landcare activities.

Thanking Landcare volunteers and groups yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, said much of Australia's vast landscape would be unproductive or severely degraded without the vision and dedication of everyone involved in Landcare.

"Landcare Week is an opportunity for us to recognise the vital work of Landcare volunteers and groups in making significant improvements to our parks, farmland, reserves and waterways," he said.

"With the challenges of climate change, sustainable food production and the protection of Australia's biodiversity, Landcare is as vital as ever."

Geoff Penton, Chair of Landcare Queensland, said while the Landcare movement has been a constant in an evolving natural resource management sector over the past two decades, his state has unfortunately experienced a decline in the number of local groups and projects being implemented.

Indeed, one of the biggest factors limiting the achievements of Landcare groups around Australia is lack of volunteers.

New Landcare Australia research shows that while 92 per cent of Australians have considered volunteering for an environmental organisation or community group, significantly less actually follow through with their intentions.

One of the main reasons highlighted for the lack of participation is that many people are still uncertain over how exactly to get involved.

But through its annual Landcare Week campaign, the group hopes to educate the public on the numerous ways they can get involved in their communities to make a real difference for future generations (see their website here.)

"Landcare groups really are unsung heroes, and many of us don't realise how much they actually do around the local community," said Landcare Australia's Sheena Martin.

"Lending these groups a hand makes a huge difference to what they are able to achieve, and is also a great way to get outdoors and meet new people."