In 1996, a student Landcare Society was formed within the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment to promote awareness of land degradation issues. With the assistance from staff members, this student group is now largely responsible for the organisation and management of Landcare activities. Membership is open to students of all faculties in the University and current membership is around 30 - 50 students. Elections are held each year to appoint a new Landcare group executive, with office-bearers coming from various undergraduate years.
The main activities of the Landcare Society are centered on the University's sheep property "Arthursleigh", near Marulan in the Southern Tablelands. Each year a tree planting and education weekend is organised in which around 30 students participate.
Other activities have included Olympic Landcare (wetland re-vegetation), visits to the Narrabeen Coastal Environment Center and bush regeneration on Scotland island.
The Landcare group also obtained a Sydney Catchment Authority Grant to re-vegetate and to monitor water quality in a major gully after remediation and stabilization works. As part of this grant the group designed a low-cost monitoring system for water quality.
Generally "Arthursleigh" Landcare weekend activities include:
- tree-planting for gully stabilisation
- information on tree planting techniques and seed collection from Greening Australia
- discussions on pasture and landscape management
- riparian zone management discussion
Assessment, evaluation and outcomes
- Although participation is voluntary, students enrolled in AFNR 1001 can use the activity as an alternative to one of the assessment tasks. Students in later years have the opportunity to combine Landcare activities into a professional experience activity.
- Student feedback has been very positive about the Landcare group's activities. Junior undergraduates have commented that the activities reinforce knowledge obtained from different units of study, while the more senior students have benefited from the opportunity to develop leadership skills and self-confidence through organising and running activities.
Faculty liaison officer:
The Program is partly made possible by the generous support of the staff at "Arthursleigh". The Program is funded by contributions from the students and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.