Above: “The Woady is a great group to be involved with”, says Alice Knight.
Alice Knight is the current chair of the Corangamite CMA board. She has been involved in Landcare in the Woady Yaloak catchment for nearly 30 years. Alice shares her thoughts on the past and the future.
My family has a long history and interest in this area. Around 50 years ago we purchased a bush block that had been relatively untouched since the gold rush and gave it to the Australian Conservation Foundation to preserve. Children love it, and it’s a great place for walks.
My brother Kevin was the inaugural chair of the Pittong Hoyles Creek Landcare Group, and shortly after, the Woady Yaloak Catchment Group was formed. What a great success story this has been. We have supported local landowners to be involved in projects across their boundary fence and worked with neighbours to change the landscape and improve productivity.
We believe people become involved in Landcare to do Landcare, not to attend meetings. We make it as easy as possible to support members to participate in on-ground activities and invite all members to tell us what they would like to do. The committee then goes about finding the funding to support their plans. No landowner gets 100 per cent funding for a project, as we believe co-investment is the key to our success.
We are fortunate to have a good working relationship with the Corangamite CMA. Landcare as a whole needs better relationships with regional bodies. Regional bodies understand local issues and are the major source of our funding.
Hundreds of people have visited our catchment over the last 20 years and we really enjoy telling our story. Do we tell our story well enough to government? I’m not sure, but we have a great human-interest story that everyone loves to hear. We need to keep telling this side of the story.
We support members when things are tough. We have run very successful social events where members get to see they are not the only ones hurting and can speak about their problems with others. This community spirit has improved relationships over the years in the same way it has improved the landscape.
“This community spirit has improved relationships over the years in the same way it has improved the landscape.”
The last 30 years have flown and I guess the next 30 will do the same, although I won’t be around to see them. I will always be passionate about supporting Landcarers to increase their productivity and farm sustainability and encouraging the next generation to do the same.
Wherever we travel in the world people want the same things – a cleaner environment, more opportunities for their children, and farmers managing the landscape in the best possible way for the future.