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Local community groups across the Wilsons River catchment have worked together with the traditional custodians to create a series of beautiful places to reconnect with nature and culture. You can visit five of these locations on the ‘Reconnecting to Country Driving Tour’ and read more to learn about the Reconnecting to Country project. These places are still being cared for and co-created by their local communities.
Reconnecting to Country ran between 2008 and 2012, and was funded by the NSW Environment Trust. It was a partnership project managed by Rous County Council, Widjabul custodians and Sustainable Futures Australia. Thousands of volunteer hours were contributed to this wonderful project that created six special places, two historical publications, two new Landcare groups, and many community events combining hands-on rainforest regeneration work and cultural experiences.
Working groups of community volunteers from four areas in the Wilsons River catchment area worked together from November 2008 on their local Reconnecting to Country projects. In the final ’on the ground’ phase, including the community events and open days in 2010 and 2011 pictured above, volunteers got together with their local community and planted trees, helped to organise and publicise open days, documented the history of their local area, shared their stories, joined one of the newly formed Landcare groups, helped to develop cultural and educational interpretive material, and met the people who were involved with the project from the start, including local Aboriginal custodians.
The aim of the project was to turn the dry riverbed adjacent to Bangalow Pool into a constructed wetland with natural values. Stormwater entering the wetland is naturally filtered of nutrients, as is water overflowing from the weir, resulting in improved biodiversity and downstream water quality. Walking tracks through the wetland with interpretative signage encourage passive recreational use of the wetland and provide opportunities for relaxation, education and bird watching.
Slaters Creek Revegetation (North Lismore)
The aim of the project was to revegetate a section of Slaters Creek, a small urban tributary of the Wilsons River in North Lismore. The project sees the creation of a wetland and a bush-tucker garden; provides passive recreation opportunities for the public through a walking/cycle track and interpretative signage; creates employment for Aboriginal contractors; shares the cultural history of the area and involves the community in events at the site.
Coopers Creek Sub-Catchment
This project aims to inform the public about the cultural and ecological significance of the area. This is facilitated by encouraging access and recreational use of sites within the sub-catchment including Dorrobee Grass and Rosebank Recreation Reserve and through the production and distribution of a publication created by the community.
Wilsons Creek Project
This project aims to provide a focal point in the centre of Wilsons Creek where the local community, including kids, parents and teachers from the primary school can connect to country through being involved in bush regeneration activities and cross–cultural relationship building along the creek bank. Bush-tucker plantings and interpretive signage at the primary school are also part of the project and an Aboriginal bush regeneration team will be employed.