Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network is a volunteer community organisation.
Every year we involve hundreds of volunteers in activities that help improve Warrnambool’s natural environment. For example, we were instrumental in the effort to save the Middle Island penguins; preventing illegal pollution discharges into the Merri River; and transforming Lady Bay foreshore from an area full of introduced weeds into a home for wallabies, echidnas and many native birds.
OUR VISION is:
People in Warrnambool and district enjoy and support a beautiful, healthy and diverse natural environment.
OUR GOALS are:
Improve biodiversity in Warrnambool and district.
Advocate for the protection of our natural environment.
Increase community awareness of key environmental issues.
Provide opportunities for people to develop ecological skills through participation in community environmental projects.
Work with other groups and agencies towards shared goals.
Lead and participate in onground environmental works.
Foster connection between people and the local environment.
Influence policy for positive impacts on our natural environment.
A Brief Background
In 1995 the Warrnambool City Landcare Group was formed after about 40 people attended a public forum to “express views and interest of various groups and individuals for the short and long term protection of the Merri River – including recreational, environmental, economic and cultural concerns”.
A committee of 12 were elected and the active group focused on a large number of issues including the Merri River health, South Warrnambool Wetlands, Russell’s Creek, Braithwait Street Tip and development of Industrial Park, Granny’s Grave, Levy Point and Kelly’s Swamp to mention a few.
The group was instrumental in enhancing Warrnambool’s coastal environment forming working relationships with City of Warrnambool, Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources, South West Water, Field Naturalists, Tarerer/Gunditjmara Co-op, South West Environmental Action Group, Deakin University, Warrnambool Stock Feeds, Merrivale Community Association and the general community.
After a very busy five to six years the group had some members move on, and those members left suffered from volunteer burnout by taking on too much. The group slowly became inactive and combined with a lack of membership, little was achieved.
A new push to rejuvenate the Group was held in June 2002 at Warrnambool Council Chambers where about 40 enthusiastic community members and representatives from Coast Action/ Coastcare, Glenelg Hopkins CMA, and government agencies attended.
A committee of 8 were elected and set to work evaluating assets, planning projects and seeking funding. The group’s regrowth encompassed a broader range of projects around the Coastal Reserve area between the Hopkins and Merri rivers and out to Middle Island in the Merri Marine Sanctuary. With this optimism and a need for broader funding opportunities is envisaged a name change. In 2005, coinciding with their 10th Anniversary, the Warrnambool City Landcare Group Inc formerly changed its name to Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Group Inc.
Since then the Group has continued to grow in stature and draw respect from government agencies and community. It has won numerous awards with the reVeg the Flume project, including National Landcare Award Finalist, State winners with Keep Australia Beautiful’s – Clean Beach Challenge and Victorian Landcare Awards and State finalist over many agencies including Victorian Coastal Council’s Awards of Excellence, Glenelg Hopkins CMA Environmental Achievement Awards and a Tidy Towns Award. Other projects to receive awards were the Weed Warrior Program with the Weed Buster Education Award, Middle Island Penguin Protection Project with the Glenelg Hopkins CMA Coastcare Award and the Maremma Dog Project finalist with the Victorian Coastal Council’s Awards of Excellence.. There was an also an individual Environmental Good Practice Award from Rotary East, given to Ann Park for her coordinating role with the Harris on Merri Revegetation Project.
Today the group is still very active and has a wonderful mix of volunteers from all walks of life and ages. Our members include university and TAFE students, researchers, teachers, environmentalists, and many community and family members passionate about our coastal, urban and rural environment. Our projects include Little Penguin monitoring on Middle Island and support for a world first Maremma dog trial to protect the penguins from fox predation. We have several revegetation sites and are planning for the Maam Biolink whcih will create vegetation corridors to link the Hopkins River and Merri River catchments. We participate in National Tree day, World Rivers Day, Warrnambool Sustainable Living Festival and many community events.
The Group is always ready to welcome new members and encourage their opinion and skills to enable the building of a balanced biodiverse environment in Warrnambool and district.
In 2015 we changed our legal name to Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network. This better reflects the fact that we auspice a number of groups and work in partnership with others. Currently we auspice Friends of Merri Marine Sanctuary, Friends of Victoria Park, Friends of Platypus Park and Merri Wetlands Protection Group. We work closely with MAD (Making A Difference) for the Merri, Deakin University, Warrnambool City Council and other groups and agencies.