This month, North Sydney Council’s Bushcare program celebrates its 30th anniversary. For three decades, volunteers and staff have transformed 12 reserves from weed-infested rubbish dumps to flourishing bushland.

To mark the occasion, Stanton Library is exhibiting Bushcare memorabilia from 29 April until the end of May. People who would like to dig a little deeper, or take a trip down memory lane, can view a complete collection of hard copy and digital Bushcare newsletters that have been added to the Local History section and are available to the public.

The Bushcare program has been remarkable for its sustained collaboration between volunteers and Council staff which has led to new sub programs including Wildlife Watch, Native Havens and the annual tree planting trip to Boorowa in south-west NSW.

North Sydney Bushcare
National Tree Day Forsyth Park, 31 July 2022. Image: Andrew Scott

North Sydney Mayor Zoë Baker said Bushcare started a grassroots movement by residents caring for bushland near their homes. “Residents started pulling out the weeds in our remnant bushland and removing the rubbish that had been dumped.

“Today our bushland is thriving thanks to the commitment and hard work of Council staff and volunteers.

“Stretches of bushland are one of the distinguishing characteristics of Sydney. The regeneration work Bushcare volunteers do, means we don’t just have stronger, more resilient bushland but vital habitat that supports iconic species returning to our area, including the Swamp Wallaby, Long-nosed Bandicoot and Superb Lyrebird.”

Since 2007, the North Sydney Bushcare program has seen over 340 volunteers contribute their time to revitalising our local area. The anniversary recognises and celebrates the foundational work of the original, passionate individuals who not only began and shaped the Bushcare program but initiated a change in social attitudes towards the environment. One such individual is local resident George Barbouttis who was formally recognised for his 30 years of service to the program at the North Sydney Community Awards.

“One thing is you’re always learning about the bush, and the bush is always changing with the environment and the seasons. So, it’s a great learning experience”. George said.

But it’s not just personal satisfaction and joy that keeps George coming back, but also the knowledge that his work will benefit future generations.

“It’s not for me,” he said. “I’ve got grandchildren and I want to leave a better place for the grandchildren… I won’t see the trees that we plant now grow up, but my grandchildren will.”

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