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Landcare – Fiona Bruyn

Landcare – Fiona Bruyn

Landcare – Fiona Bruyn

Landcare – Fiona Bruyn

Landcare – Fiona Bruyn

Landcare is a wonderful community based initiative, in conjunction with Mitre 10, that's aimed at taking care of our unique environment to do something practical about protecting and repairing our environment. There are more than four thousand volunteer community Landcare groups in Australia including coast care, bush care, urban land care, river care and sustainable agriculture groups that are tackling land degradation in every corner of Australia. There are plenty of ways you can do your bit starting at home and in the garden.

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on the planet including plants, animals, insects, fungi and even miniscule microbes that live in the soil, water and air. As the health of our planet declines, we lose our irreplaceable biodiversity.
We do not yet know how important each species is in the whole web of life but each living thing has a purpose and we can’t afford to lose a single one of them.

One of the best things you can do with any unused space you have in your garden is to install a frog pond. Frogs are a great environmental indicator and the best sign of a healthy garden. You can use a plastic recycling tray as a base and simply bury it in the ground then fill with water. Rocks, logs and branches protruding from the water are striking features and they make it easier for the frogs to get in and out. When putting water in your garden make sure it's child safe. A non-corroding mesh just under the surface will restrict child access.

You can also create artificial homes in your gardens by putting up possum boxes and retaining old logs that lizards can live in. A fresh source of water will also encourage birds. Just be sure to keep it off the ground away from cats and refresh it regularly to keep clean. If you have domestic pets try to keep them inside at night and be sure to put bells around their necks to warn birds off.

Greenhouse emissions are caused by many of our daily activities, from running machinery, household appliances; even our own bodies create greenhouse emissions. These have been causing a gradual increase in the temperature of the planet that we refer to as global warming. This slow heating of the planet is having a devastating effect on our planet.
Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient white goods like washing machines and dishwashers. By buying equipment that complies with the Energy Star standard, and making sure its energy saving features are enabled, you can save money on your electricity bills and help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Plants absorb and filter greenhouse emissions so garden in every available space you have. Also protect and conserve existing trees and shrubs in your local area. Although it is not widely understood in the community, salinity is one of our biggest problems. Trees and shrubs act as giant pumps drawing water from deep within the soil. Removing this vegetation means that rain and irrigation filter into the soil and causes the water table to rise, bringing with it naturally occurring salts. As moisture evaporates from the soil, the salts are left on the surface that burns plants and leaves the soil lifeless and unable to support plant life. Try to use organic or natural based fertilisers in the garden. They contain fewer salts and the components are easily broken down in the soil by natural microbes.

Australia's soils are extremely fragile. They contain little organic matter and have a poor structure, so they can be easily washed or blown away. Trees and vegetation are essential for binding the tops soil together and keeping it alive. The best way to manage the health of your garden is to maintain the health of your soil. Adding mulch to your garden beds will also prevent the soil from drying up and blowing away. Garden beds with retaining systems will ensure soil does not wash into storm water drains carrying fertilisers and other pollutants with it. Weeds are also a massive problem in Australia, both on land and in our waterways. Pull out weeds as soon as you see them in your garden.

Australia is one of the driest continents on earth and our water is in very limited supply. The water we do have is very susceptible to pollution by what we allow to wash down our storm water pipes as well as the chemicals and fertilisers that leach from our gardens and enter our waterways. Use detergents and washing powders that are biodegradable or low in phosphates. If you have an irrigation system, install a timer. Keep a bucket under taps and collect any water that may be wasted for the garden. A bucket in the shower will enable you to collect water that is wasted until it reaches the right temperature.

Through Australia's people and communities, the Landcare movement is making a big difference in caring for our country. So do your bit and join your local Landcare group, make a donation or get together with neighbours, friends or relatives to start your own Landcare group. If you can’t manage any of these options there are plenty of other ways you can help.




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