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Alby Wooler and a group of friends formed the Capricorn Coast Landcare Group in 1987. Alby was also the person who launched the Junior Landcare programme in 1997 in local schools around the area; a programme that has since spread not only nationally, but also globally. In 2005 he received the Queensland Individual Landcare Award, and was runner up in the National Individual Landcare Award. In the same year he was voted Livingstone Shire Council Citizen of the Year, as well as receiving the Queensland Premier’s Award for Senior citizens. The community was devastated when Alby passed away in 2017.

 

At the AGM that year, a new president was installed; and at the beginning of the new year we lost the secretary, treasurer and co-ordinator who all departed for fresh pastures. With a whole new team in place we took up the challenge of not just keeping the group going but building on the great work that had been done over the past 30 years. Since that time we have maintained the Envirotrail that Alby established in the grounds of Yeppoon State School and have tended and extended the Fig Tree Creek regeneration site he and his team started in the heart of Yeppoon. Last year we also began a coastcare project on the dunes at Farnborough Beach that is supported by Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

 

Besides these major undertakings our small but dedicated team have also carried out weeding projects around the area as required. Our volunteers have even begun a weeding program on Humpy Island in conjunction with Queensland Parks & Wildlife whenever they have access to their barge. This year, with the support of Livingstone Shire Council, we are supporting a new ‘Friends of Kinka Beach’ group, and are looking to establish more such groups of locals to help us with our work.

 

At Cap Coast Landcare we recognise that caring for the environment is not just about weeding out feral plants and planting of indigenous species to regenerate our precious native flora and protect our native fauna. We are also heavily involved in marine debris clean ups, recycling and encouraging people to use the cash for containers program. We are also involved in a ‘drain buddies’ program to record the types of waste that are released into our waterways by carelessly discarded rubbish. Our volunteers are regularly involved in beach and island clean ups organised by other environmental groups in our area; and last year we organized our own trip to Great Keppel Island for 50 volunteers to clean up 4 beaches in remote areas of the island. We appreciate that it is not enough to clean up our beaches and bushland, but we must also educate the members of our community to reduce the amount of harmful plastics they use, and to dispose of their waste sensibly.

 

We also recognise that caring for the environment embraces caring for community. We work with the Yeppoon State School Junior Landcare group once a week during schooldays. We are also currently involved with a four year Springboard project run by the global Lendlease organization, wherein they work on community projects with local environmental groups.

 

The Landcare stall can be found at local environmental and community events; and Landcare is represented on various council-run committees. Our volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and varying age groups. Our oldest volunteer is seventy five, and our youngest is a five year old wildlife warrior who is passionate about saving the environment. We encourage our volunteers to come along when they feel like, and to leave whenever they need; but we always try to encourage them to stay for morning tea and a chat. They choose whether they want to weed, to plant, collect rubbish or just stand with the hose and water a few plants. It’s not about what you achieve, it’s about getting involved and being part of it all.

 

I once asked Alby what he would say to anyone wanting to join Landcare, his advice was simple: “Get involved. You get out of life what you put into it. Landcare is a good mix of people of all ages and from all walks of life, who come together to work for, and share in, a beautiful future.”

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Trish O'Gorman
What a great story Malcolm - thanks for sharing.
Very good coligs nice photo
Thanks for sharing this Malcolm.
3 people like this.
Trish O'Gorman
What a great story Malcolm - thanks for sharing.
Very good coligs nice photo
Thanks for sharing this Malcolm.