Thanks a million Robyn

Thursday 16 May, 2013
Robyn Rattray-Wood believes a healthy environment and quality of life go hand in hand.

Robyn Rattray-Wood believes a healthy environment and quality of life go hand in hand.

"For example, looking after our land and waterways also improves our agricultural systems," Ms Rattray-Wood, who runs a 450 acre cattle property near Merton with her husband John Fraser, said.

"Good environmental practices have many benefits: we've improved degraded land by fencing off waterways and through revegetation that supports the development of biolinks between adjacent roadsides and the Strathbogie Ranges. These provide corridors for birds and other wildlife, which in turn helps with pest control. Trees and other vegetation provide shelter for stock, which is good for their wellbeing."

Many neighbouring landholders, recognising the benefits of good land management to agricultural production, have adopted similar practices.

Robyn Rattray-Wood

Photo:  Robyn Rattray-Wood

Ms Rattray-Wood's commitment to sustainable land use has also led to a long-term involvement with the Merton Landcare Group, most recently as President.

The group's approach emphasises the broader social benefits of Landcare activities.

"Our message is that Landcare is part of the community, not separate to it," Ms Rattray-Wood said. This sees the group not only driving projects such as rehabilitating the Merton Common and developing a shared pathway circuit of the township, but initiating local social history projects.

Educating the community about the value of protecting remnant vegetation is another of the group's roles.

"We were approached by Mansfield Shire Council to become a 'friend' of the Goulburn Valley High Country Rail Trail and have committed to maintaining a 3km stretch near Merton," Ms Rattray-Wood said.

The project builds on work done by Merton Landcare since 1996 to maintain a stretch of the rail reserve between Merton and the cemetery. As well as revegetation and pest control, the group has installed signs that provide information about the history of the railway in Merton and the value of native flora and fauna, including hollows in dead trees.

The commitment to community-based projects has paid off.

"When we asked the community to 'adopt a patch' along the shared path around the town, we were really thrilled by the number of people who took up the opportunity to help weed, water and generally care for their garden patch," Ms Rattray-Wood said.

Merton Landcare Group is one of 94 Landcare groups in the Goulburn Broken Catchment and is supported by the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network based at the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority's (CMA's) Yea office.

Goulburn Broken CMA CEO Chris Norman said the Goulburn Broken CMA relied on volunteers who gave up their time and "did their bit" to help the environment, to deliver its programs.

"Volunteer Week, with its theme of 'Thanks a Million', is the perfect time to recognise and thank people such as Robyn who are helping us protect and enhance the Catchment's natural resources," Mr Norman said.

"The Goulburn Broken CMA is committed to improving the resilience of our waterways, biodiversity and landscapes but we can only do this with the support of community members," he said. "I encourage anyone who is keen to get involved in natural resource management to contact us to find out more about the various volunteer groups we support and work with across the Catchment."

For more information about the Merton Landcare Group, phone Robyn Rattray-Wood on 0419 805 709.

To find out more about Goulburn Broken CMA programs and activities visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au