Since 2009 B4C has supported and partially sponsored a ‘Twinning’ program to work with Gregory River Landcare and travel to the Southern Gulf to assist local groups and schools. B4C sent Ben Bruyenstyn this year. Gregory River Landcare & Mt Isa Landcare valued his contribution highly.
Ben described the trip as an amazing experience.
“Although these are small groups, the amount of work they do for the community and the environment is truly inspiring,” Ben said.
“From keeping the Gregory river pristine and helping out with the annual canoe race to building health food gardens for remote schools and teaching kids to fish, every action taken by this group is to the benefit of the whole community and generations to come.”
The program entails an eight day excursion to Gregory River – including herbicide treatment of Rubber Vine on the river, helping to organise the Gregory River Canoe Race, participating in the Landcare AGM and helping students at Burketown State School plant out their winter veggies in raised garden beds.
The school’s “fresh foods gardens” are now in their 10th year and Mark van Ryt of Gregory River Landcare believes, at the time of its establishment, it was pioneering for Australian schools.
The raised beds are planted using the “no dig” method. Each year they create layers of Lucerne and potting mix before planting seedlings in a top layer of potting mix. A timer is plumbed onto an irrigation system so the plants are self-watered three times per day.
In addition to the help from B4C, Burke Shire Council provided funding for the garden materials and Gregory River Landcare donated two extra raised beds (that were originally used at the closed Gregory Educational Facility).
There was also the popular canoe race. Enviro-bags to most of the paddlers, containing various rubbish bags, gloves, shovel and tongs to encourage campers to dispose of waste correctly. It also includes information on weeds and advice on correct camping protocol.
B4C looks forward to continuing the support. Ben says he would like to see more young people go and is investigation options via his Brisbane Intrepid Landcare group.
In September 2007 B4C’s Wayne Cameron and Roberto and Michelle Epple visited the Gregory River. Roberto (Swiss / French) was from the European Rivers Foundation and initiated a movement called the “big jump”.
Bulimba Creek Catchment had just won a prize from the International River Foundation.
Wayne came to help set up Gregory River Landcare Group as part of the “Twinning Project”.
They visited the Gregory Educational Facility to see if there was something they could do for the local children.
Roberto suggested two projects. The first involving artwork which all the remote schools in the region participated in. The second project was the school gardens which has continued ever since.
Read about 2018’s Twinning trip where we sent B4C’s Chris Gray.