Winsome's OAM for Landcare achievements
Published on 08 February 2024
A heartfelt congratulations to the remarkable Winsome Lambkin for receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to conservation and the environment.
Winsome is the guardian for three Landcare sites: Floraville Ridge and Rainforest Reserve, Fossil Wing Creek and Cold Tea Creek Landcare, and is an active member of the Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteer Network. It's great to see her commitment and passion recognised.
Winsome has shared the following about her journey and receiving this award:
"Landcaring skills are learnt ‘on the job’, beginning with knowledgeable input from experienced people followed by personal observations. An example of this is ‘Don’t start at the edge of an area!’ as the edges host most of the weeds, often because of the extra sunlight and rain. Begin your weeding under a tree, perhaps, as the birds will have dropped/ pooped out seeds of natives, and weeds, and you’ll be rewarded almost immediately. If you’re hand weeding, wait until after rain has softened the ground and the weeds will just slip out, otherwise each plant needs to be scraped and ‘painted’ with poison or ‘cut and painted’. Both tasks are much more tedious and time consuming. Of course, these methods are the most suitable for some weed species.
Over my twenty plus years of Landcaring, I’ve been instructed by the best known Landcarers in the Hunter Region- we all know who you are - and yet every person I’ve spoken with has imparted a snippet of information. ‘Make reasonably neat piles of lantana so it can be rolled over if any takes root or weeds grow into the pile.’ ‘Leave fallen timber in situ as it is home to some creatures.’ ‘Tramp down disturbed soil to lessen erosion.’
I love the sayings that Landcarers pass on.
‘If you can’t stay for ten years, don’t start.’
‘If in doubt, don’t pull it out’.
The BIG question often asked is ‘What will happen when the group leaves a site?’ Yes, the area will revert to some degree but the healthier site will be more resilient and hopefully someone else will take care of it. It will always be better than when you started.
One of the personal benefits of landcaring is exercise and its free! Walking into the site (often on uneven surfaces), carrying equipment, bending, stretching, pulling, reaching and balancing are all involved – much like a gym class!
An additional benefit is ‘mindfulness’. By concentrating on your surrounds of the natural environment, differentiating between weed or native species, identifying bird calls, sighting tiny creatures scurrying away from your work area, you are totally engrossed in ‘living in the present’. (You can do this by taking timeout to immerse yourself in any natural area.)
I have three quite different sites which I care for. I’m attracted to each one for a different reason.
I have worked in Floraville Rainforest Gully for 20 years. It’s an enormous site in a steep sided gully and the work there will never be finished! The range of plant species is amazing just because it is rainforest! ‘Looks like a jungle’ someone exclaimed! How true! Its story is too long to tell here.
I was drawn to Cold Tea Creek, at Belmont South, about 6 years ago when I noticed the discarded rubbish and the infestation of weeds. I’d previously worked there 25 years ago, as a novice landcarer with a now disbanded group. I felt that with a little input, I could free-up the natives they had planted. That area will be a ‘show piece’ with the soon to open FAST cycle and walking route.
Just over 4 years ago, I moved home and discovered a Council reserve just 80 metres from my new front door! With a site plan drawn up, I can spend an hour there any time! It’s a small area with powerlines, sewerage inspection vents, two tracks and the picturesque Fossil Wing Creek which is named after the unique fossilised beetle wings, dated at 252 million years! (No you can’t see them except at the Australian Museum in Sydney.)
I’m honoured to be a recipient of this Order of Australia Medal. For over 20 years I have been passionate about working on sites and educating others on our natural environment of flora and fauna, including fungi and pioneer species. It brings me great joy, satisfaction and reward on each visit.
This Award also gives me the opportunity to acknowledge that the leaders of our country recognise the importance of landcare volunteers. Locally, Lake Macquarie City Council and local politicians have given exceptional support to around 180 groups of landcarers in that area. Raising the awareness of landcare through this award may inspire more people to join us.
I have learnt my skills from TAFE, from Bush Regenerators, people with skills in birding, hydrology, fungi, plant identification, methodology in weeding..the list is extensive. I also have learnt from each person I’ve spoken with from their snippet of information.
Thankyou for this award which inspired me to continue with my passion for Landcaring."