Accolades for Wheatbelt NRM officer

  

Greg Warburton has lost count of the number of trees he’s planted and weeds he’s killed in order to protect native vegetation. After 15 years working in conservation, the Wheatbelt NRM officer has been awarded the top gong for an individual landcarer at this year’s State Landcare Awards. His fulltime job with the natural resource management group based in Northam doesn’t stop there, with his spare time spent volunteering with local conservation groups in his hometown of Toodyay. “I spent my youth growing up in Kalamunda where I developed a love of the bush and nature,” Greg Warburton said. “15 years ago my wife Vicki and I moved to Toodyay, and this passion has grown into a career and a lifestyle.” “I’m a huge advocate for community driven conservation because I believe people can achieve so much if they focus and work as a team.” This is evident with the volunteer work he does through the Toodyay Friends of the River and the Toodyay Naturalists’ Club, just two of many groups he’s involved in. Working with other local bird enthusiasts, Greg Warburton recently helped coordinate funding and work on a walking track and bird hide along a stretch of the Avon River near Toodyay. The 5.6 kilometre Bilya Walking Track included signage, seating, bridges, picnic tables and environmental weed control. “Through my work with Wheatbelt NRM our weed team spent many months surveying a 150-kilometre stretch of the Avon River from Beverley to Toodyay mapping infestations of Tamarisk and Bridal creeper using GPS,” Greg Warburton said. Both Tamarisk and Bridal creeper are listed as Weeds of National Significance, and were introduced as ornamental plants, but have consequently become highly invasive. “These weeds are impacting severely on our waterways and need on going chemical and mechanical control. “My motivation in Landcare is to try to restore and protect some of the land that has been poorly managed during European settlement.” “It’s very satisfying to see how landcare can improve degraded landscapes and water ways ,” he said. “This can be done much more effectively with the help of the community.” Greg Warburton helped start the landcare group Friends of the Dale near Beverley and C.A.R.E (Conserving the Avon River Environment) and has worked with the Friends of Mortlock. These groups are now actively engaged in re-vegetation, sediment removal, fencing and erosion control. “At the State Landcare Awards presentation the governor His Excellency Mr Malcolm McCusker summed it up perfectly,” Greg Warburton said. “Everyone in landcare is a winner, whether they win an award or not, because the work they do is so important.”