Everyone was invited to attend a supervised session in bushland close to them. Over 35 locations, in sand dunes of Banksia scrub at the Gold Coast, along the Yarra in Eucalyptus regans forest and in the tribal lands of the Wajuk people amongst a paperbark forest of the Spectacles wetland outside of Perth. People from as young as 5, to a sprightly 85 gathered from different groups and organisations. Trees for Life in South Australia were able to mobilise some of their 3000 strong contingent and friends of Narrabeen lagoon, important coastal wetlands in NSW had an informative day attracting dedicated newcomers. Council led bushcare groups were rallied in North Sydney, Blacktown, Canada Bay, Camden, Randwick, Wollongong and of course Willoughby Council, where Bushcare’s Major Day Out all started.
“We had had great success in Willoughby the past few years, said Don Wilson, Convenor of Bushcare’s Major Day Out “and we thought the idea of a national day that gave people the opportunity to participate in activities that helped the bushland and were supervised, could really help people understand some of the issues it faces and easily get involved”. So Bushcare’s Major Day Out was born, a day that like Clean Up Australia Day aims to alert people to the issues of bushland management and the part they can play by creating a positive and caring culture towards it.
And it is all for a great cause, our bush! Environmental weeds, dumping, stormwater discharge are all problems that are playing havoc with the bush, threatening its future value for our unique flora and fauna, and as great places future generations to play in and learn from.
Activities for this year’s Bushcare’s Major Day Out were varied and designed to attract new volunteers. Mandy Wilson of Willoughby Council organized Willoughby and North Sydney Councils to join forces for the day attracting over 70 people. Their local mayor and councillors worked alongside professional bushcarers at a wonderful Middle Harbour location. Large banners advertised the activities to local dog walkers, passers by and other families who were out and about and it was followed by Rotary cooked BBQ. A Newcastle Council officer led an incredibly successful day that included a large plant give away, children’s activities, frog pond building and introductory bush regeneration attracting dozens of new volunteers eager to help out on the bush at Booragul.
The first ever national Bushcare’s Major Day Out was made possible with funding and promotion from Willoughby Council & Landcare Australia and was scheduled to coincide with Landcare Week. “Landcare were looking for some way of raising the profile of Landcare in the larger towns and cities and Bushcare’s Major Day Out fitted with their ethos. We know that people love participating in these kinds of activities, sharing a yarn, a good morning tea and doing something positive.”
With all the talk of sustainability, Bushcare’s Major Day Out has a great place in the calendar of important national events. “Next year” says Don, we are hoping to have a popular and public figure support and promote us, somebody like Macca on a Sunday. We’d like a sponsor to get us on TV and the internet, and most importantly we have the date Sunday 9th, September 2012. Again it will be part of Landcare week, spring will be just beginning and we have enough lead up time to generate maximum interest and participation”.
So tell your friends, it is a day for everyone to get involved. Bushcare’s Major Day Out is our national day for the bush, a day to do your bit, meet your neighbours and understand how important and how solvable some of the problems in our bushland are.
For more information check out the great website www.bushcaresmajordayout.org and those interested groups can sign up for next year by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.