Victorian Landcare Magazine - Winter 2019, Issue 75

Nature’s gym in the Yarra Valley

Explore other articles about

Health and safety Community

C331 p15a hero4

Above From left, Maureen Bond, Tessa Lockhart, Evelyn Feller, Karen Garth and Pat Schalken after a work-out on Clean Up Australia Day earlier this year.

Who needs a gym membership when you can be a Landcare volunteer in the Yarra Valley?

My membership of the Mt Toolebewong and District Landcare Group has provided me with a wonderful variety of outdoor exercise in fresh air and peaceful locations since the group began in 1993.

I love working out in nature’s gym for free, and each month I can choose which fitness program suits my needs.The activities my group provides in, and around, Healesville and the Yarra Valley enable me to improve my muscle tone, strength, heart and lung function, balance and spatial awareness, general and psychological well-being, brain function and health.

Landcare activities have improved my energy levels, endurance, motor and aerobic fitness, agility and flexibility. They assist me in managing my weight and have reduced my risk of developing chronic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease). There’s also the boost of a rich and varied social life and connection to my local community.

I can work at my own pace, and take a break when I wish – with no slave driving personal trainer to pressure me into going beyond my limits! I can meditate with the melodious sounds of the Badger Creek, Grace Burn Creek, Watts River and Yarra River trickling past, and the birds calling in the trees.

Nature’s gym is fun. I spend time with like-minded individuals, and my sense of achievement is reinforced when I revisit sites and see our growing vegetation and the increase in biodiversity it supports.

My mind is also kept active by performing Waterwatch tests, invertebrate surveys, checking wildlife monitoring cameras and keeping abreast of innovations in digital communications. And there’s no better sleep than after a good day’s Landcare activity.

Karen Garth is treasurer of Mt Toolebewong and District Landcare Group.

For more information: email


Yarra Valley

Above: Yarra Valley