“Landcare actually started with community, landholders banding together to solve problems, which makes it quite unique.” Natasha English is Project Manager at Bellinger Landcare and she wants the shire residents to know- Landcare, a not-for-profit organisation, is there for all.
So Natasha- how can Landcare help the average newbie to the Bellingen Shire?
We can help landholders to understand environmental issues on their parcel of land and what sustainable agriculture is all about. Landcare can liaise between landholders, government and technical experts and even help landholders to secure funding for environmental projects.
How reliant are you on the help of volunteers to get your work done?
“Volunteers run our organization, without their energy and commitment there would be no Bellinger Landcare. Landcare volunteering gives participants new skills and enables participants to be part of the solution, a chance to reverse some of the damage we have imposed. Your local Landcare group would appreciate any time you can spare, whether an hour a week or an hour a month, or once a year during Landcare Week. It is often said that when you become a member of Landcare you don’t just inherit a new group of friends, you become part of a family.”
Are you currently working on any big projects- what is the agenda for 2107?
I’m working on a project called the Jaliigirr Landscape Connections in the Great Eastern Ranges, which is a Bush Connect Project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and auspiced by the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance (this alliance is a fascinating model of how people can work together to achieve excellent environmental outcomes) check out their new website www.jaliigirr.com.au. Very simply this project is focused on reconnecting vegetation corridors across the landscape including areas in the Upper Bellinger right up to Dorrigo. We will be holding a community event sometime this year. Our other significant project is the Bellinger River Freshwater Habitat Project, which was instigated after the turtle deaths in 2015. A large part of this project is workshops around river health that we will run this year and our Bellinger River Landholder Booklet available for download at our website: www.bellingerlandcare.org.au. This is a free booklet for anyone living in or around the tributaries of the Bellinger River, containing some historical and indigenous perspective on the river and tips on how to manage your riparian zone (that is the banks of the waterway running through your property).
So- is there life away from the office? Who is the real Natasha?
I will start gently- what made you come to Bellingen?
Access to good schools for my kids and to be near this unique community.
Best memory of childhood was?
Growing up always near a beach, Bondi, Newport, Bilgola and Yamba (all in my bones) and living and going to school in France for 2 years when I was 6 years old.
Friends say that I?
Always create an energy that might turn into a party!
I go to great lengths to avoid..
What are you reading?
Something on Defiant Children and a draft of my sister’s new book.
It’s pretty uncool but…
I like eighties music.
The developed world could slow down.
What really annoys me is…
Vehicles on beaches.
Oh me too!!!
The best lesson my parents taught me was…
You don’t have to get married, explore the world but try to go to university.
The last big belly laugh I had was…
With my sister visiting from America over Christmas. I took her to a Professional Wrestling event (Australian equivalent of the WWE) at Sawtell RSL, as I was taking my 11 year old, who is hugely into the WWE. We thought wrestlers were supposed to be fit…not the case…shook with suppressed laughter every time I looked at her. It was very surreal, an absurd situation. You had to be there…
Who inspires you?
People who are at ease in the world and it shows.
How do you relax?
Reading, looking for new music, swimming in the ocean.
Favourite shire eatery?
I don’t know if I have favourite. I love the family vibe of 5 Church Street, the fact you can go there at 5pm and feed your eight year old hand cut chips, but I have enjoyed other places too.
Best coffee in town?
Favourite country to visit and why?
Cuba, like no other place you will ever visit followed by large lashings of Mexico straight after. I might throw New York City in there too.
In the movie Natashagate, who would play you?
I’m drawing a blank here, possibly Claudia Karvan. She always gets the job done.
The Bellinger Landcare office is open Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 3pm. 1a Oak St Bellingen, 6655 0588.