Local landcare professional John Robinson will be sharing news from ‘downunder’ when he heads to the United States in July as the recipient of the 2008 Victoria-Virginia Landcare Fellowship.
Employed by Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, John is a highly respected Landcare Coordinator who has worked for many years with farmers and groups in the Maribyrnong and Werribee catchments to the west and north-west of Melbourne.
John was awarded the fellowship based on his years of practical experience with Landcare programs and his passion and energy for helping local communities and the environment.
In Virginia, he will spend time with several of the active Landcare groups to share his experiences as a landholder, member of Landcare and Friends Groups and as a Landcare Coordinator. He is particularly interested to learn how Landcare, an Australian initiative, has been applied in the United States.
During his four to five week stay in the US, John will present lectures and be involved in field days and discussions with environmental groups in that region.
John regards the Fellowship as an honour and says “the knowledge sharing aspect of the visit will be hugely beneficial.”
In both Victoria and Virginia, Landcare groups face similar challenges. They deal with sustainable farming, water use and biodiversity issues while urban and rural populations and pressures are growing. They help farmers and other landholders manage their enterprises and land well plus protect the natural environment and ecosystems.
Virginia now has several landcare groups, including Catawba Landcare and Grayson Landcare and is the home of the renowned Virginia Tech.
Dr David Robertson from Virginia Tech, says, ‘Having seen Landcare on the ground in Victoria, we’ve introduced several elements of the Australian experience to Virginia, including local coordinators, e-communications, state and corporate support, and promoting sustainable farming and forestry.’
David’s colleague, veteran advocate for sustainable farming, Jerry Moles, says: ‘The folks in Grayson LandCare are very excited about the coming visit. By enlarging the vision, new options become apparent. The welcome mat is out in Grayson County!’
Australian Landcare International (ALI), a small team working on adapting Landcare programs for overseas communities, has launched the Fellowship.
The team is excited by the way the Victorian creation ‘Landcare’ keeps spreading across the globe. At present there are Landcare organisations in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Jamaica, USA, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Great Britain and Puerto Rico.