Our presenters 

The much-anticipated program for the 2022 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference is sure to delight, with an incredible line-up of presenters and panels from Landcare groups, ecologists, universities, government agencies and First Nations custodians who will challenge delegates to rethink how they can best care for land and waterways. Check out the line-up below.


Dr Chadden Hunter

Few people have more stories from the wild corners of the world than Dr Chadden Hunter. He has worked alongside Sir David Attenborough for over 20 years, documenting everything from snow leopards in Pakistan to anaconda in the Amazon. Chadden has produced some of the world’s most famous wildlife series; Planet Earth 1 & 2, Wild Arabia, Frozen Planet and Seven Worlds One Planet, and has won over 20 Emmys and Baftas. He
spent three years in the Arctic and Antarctic directing the Frozen Planet series where he learnt that -40C was cold enough to freeze his eyes shut.
His anecdotes are as inspirational as they are entertaining – sometimes heart-breaking, often humorous, always riveting.

Shane Fitzsimmons, Commissioner of Resilience NSW

Shane Fitzsimmons
Shane Fitzsimmons, Commissioner of Resilience NSW, will inspire the crowd in Tweed Heads as the keynote speaker for the NSW Landcare & Local Land Services Conference in 2022. 
Commissioner Fitzsimmons will draw from his experiences as the former Commissioner of the Rural Fire Service (RFS), guiding NSW through the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season, to delve into a range of thought-provoking topics. “Our recent experiences – from drought and bushfire, storm and flood, to COVID-19 – have shown us that collaboration is key to improving response, recovery and building resilience into the future,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said. “This event is an opportunity to reflect, consider lessons learnt, and identify ways we can better work together and with the community to improve outcomes for all into the future. “After being so actively involved in the bushfire response as the NSW RFS Commissioner, I’m now in the unique and privileged position of working with those same communities through their bushfire recovery as the Commissioner of Resilience NSW. “As part of this event, I will share my personal experience of the 2019-20 bushfire season, provide an update on the recovery operation and outline my vision for a more aware, more prepared and more resilient NSW.”


Plenary Speaker – Rob Kooyman (MSc, PhD)

Man leaning on tree and looking up 

Robert Kooyman (MSc, PhD) is a botanist and ecologist with a focus on evolutionary ecology, paleobotany, and rainforest community ecology. For more than 40 years he has lived, worked, and conducted research in the forests and rainforests of Northern NSW, and more broadly in Australia. Robert has published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles in high impact journals in rainforest ecology and related fields. His publications have been included in Nature, Science, Annual Reviews, Journal of Ecology, Global Ecology and Biogeography, American Journal of Botany, Annals of Botany and many others. He has contributed substantially to improving our understanding of the origins and assembly of the Australian and SE Asian rainforest floras, and has undertaken research in rainforests around the world. His current research projects are focused on the origins, biogeography, and assembly of rainforests and Gondwanan lineages in Australia and Southeast Asia, targeted research with NSW NPWS and UNSW on rainforest plant species and community fire responses, and genetic research with Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney on rainforest biogeography and the dynamics of community assembly related to climate and other abiotic variables. He is currently a Research Fellow at Macquarie University, a Research Associate with Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, and a Research Associate with Missouri Botanic Garden, USA.

Bill Walker, Elsdon Charlton, Nigel Blake

Yaegl Wadyarr- Heritage and Habitat on the Lower Clarence

Yaegl People’s native title rights and interests over areas of land and waters on the Lower Clarence was determined by the Federal Court in 2015. Yaegl Traditonal Owners are taking every opportunity to re-establish themselves as custodians of their country. One of the priorities for the newly formed Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC was to get back on Country, to manage and protect Yaegl cultural heritage and restore habitats according to cultural practices. Yaegl Wadyarr land management team was formed initially to fulfil bush regeneration contracts with NCLLS, Clarence Valley Council and Crown Lands. The team are now employed by our corporation and have undertaken numerous projects with NCLLS on country that protect Heritage and Habitat. Activities including installing and monitoring nest boxes, mapping and reporting the location and condition of unknown scarred trees to the elders, protecting hollow bearing trees from future fire, maintaining weed control sites in EECs, cultural burning and producing heritage and habitat plans for other reserves. Yaegl Tradtional Owners and the Yaegl Wadyarr team will give a personal account of their activities on country. 

Gabrielle Stacey (Fern Creek Landcare)

Group of people sitting amongst freshly planted trees

Transforming Landcare through inspired marketing to younger people

Fern Creek Landcare, part of Lake Macquarie Landcare, undertook in 2020 the restoration of a 9ha valley to restore the environment to support the endangered Squirrel Glider species with Commonwealth funding. The project required a large workforce of up to 50 volunteers on site on any one day. Gabrielle Stacey who joined the group in 2019 as assistant coordinator to Peter Dalton coordinator, took the responsibility of marketing the project through social media to the younger generation. Through this medium she enlarged the pool of volunteers from about 30 to about 140 in less than 3 months and transformed the age profile of the group from over 50 to below 30. Working together Gabrielle and Peter engaged the variety of educational qualifications of the younger generation and their talents and enthusiasm to transform the capability of the group enabling it to not only complete the 9ha restoration but also commence a 50ha restoration of the NSW National Parks Awabakal Reserve lagoon catchment. These methods are transformational for generational change of Landcare. 

Frances Witt (Traditional Owner for the Gumbaynggirr Wenonah Head Aboriginal Corporation), John Allen (Project Support - Gumbaynggirr Wenonah Head Aboriginal Corporation) and Lelia Kamphorst (Bushfire Recovery for North Coast Local Land Services)

Landscape shot

Cultural, Environmental and Social resilience on Native Title Land – Case Study

The bush fires of 2019-2020 resulted in significant impacts on both people and the environment. The NSW Government Bushfire Stimulus Recovery funding enabled Traditional Owners, Aboriginal Rangers and local community members to begin healing country whilst incorporating measures to improve social and individual well-being.  Wenonah Headland is a parcel of land managed under Native Title by the Gumbaynggirr Wenonah Head Aboriginal Corporation. This case study outlines the journey of how the land came to be once again managed by the Traditional Owners. It will present the cultural and environmental values of the site; threats to the land including fire, invasive weeds, 4-wheel driving, illegal camping and environmental vandalism; and the innovative indigenous-led management actions to begin healing country. These involve sharing of culture, traditional knowledge and science, indigenous art, sustainable use of products and education via experiential learning which underpins Aboriginal philosophy. 

Kate Steel, Josie Banens, Oliver Costello (Lismore City Council & Other)

Fire, rainforests, resilience: Nightcap resilience project healing country and community
The Summer of 2019/20 saw massive shifts in the ecological and cultural landscapes of the Nightcap and 
Terania communities in and adjacent to the World Heritage Gondwanan Rainforests of Northern NSW. This presentation is about the renewal of life and community resilience here on Widjabul Wyabul country.  Out of the ashes of the most intense bush fires in the forests’ recent history, the Nightcap Resilience Projects were initiated.  With site action planning, bush regeneration & revegetation, community engagement, working with Traditional Owners, training & resource development, Nightcap Resilience covers a broad range of actions seeking to connect community and heal country.  The Projects are a collaborative effort between local government, Traditional Owners, Landcare and landholders, with high expectations and a deep sense of respect for local communities of landholders and custodians who have been building resilient approaches 
to life in this diverse, intrinsically valuable place of life-source connection. 

Jasmine Payget (Parramatta River Catchment Group)

Group of people standing on a dock by body of water, waving at camera

Catchment Changemakers – revitalising community leadership on river restoration

The Catchment Changemakers course was established to encourage volunteers to become more active and capable in running activities and groups.   

The Parramatta River Catchment Group is fortunate to have four Riverkeeper Ambassadors who undertake on-ground work and education.  Based on their feedback and support, the Catchment Changemakers course was designed for skill development so that participants would feel able to undertake independent community education and action.  The participants applied to join the course and have a strong interest in caring for the river. They needed a structure to convert that interest into process or projects that can make a measurable improvement to the catchment ecosystems. The course included a catchment crawl and 7 workshops with both content about the Parramatta River Masterplan, as well as processes of establishing and running a collaborative project.  Essential to the course was a pilot project that was tested after Workshop 5 of the course. 

The Changemakers are organising education and action projects for communities that have changed their relationship to local areas. There are now greater numbers of opportunities for rivercare as residents value the ecological as well as the mental well-being values of waterways and riparian areas in the catchment.

Mr Ian Hanson Mr Troy Northey, Dr Tatjana Nedelkoska (NSW DPIE)

Early Change Monitoring – Rethinking our approaches to identifying native vegetation clearing and engaging with our landholder community

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has been monitoring native vegetation clearing using satellite monitoring for many years. The State-wide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) involves comparing satellite images of the same area every twelve months to detect vegetation changes. SLATS is a comprehensive tool but does not allow for rapid identification and prompt responses to unexplained clearing. It can take up to 24 months before DPIE is ready to contact landholders about SLATS-detected clearing. In 2020 DPIE introduced Early Change Monitoring (ECM) to compliment SLATS. ECM can identify unexplained clearing every four weeks. This paper discusses how ECM has been used as an early intervention tool by DPIE to rethink its approaches to native vegetation compliance. Besides its compliance purpose, the ECM findings have been also used by DPIE and LLS to engage with landowners and educate them on improving the protection of biodiversity and native vegetation. 

Maddy & Hannah (North Coast Regional Landcare Network)

Rising Strong: Adapting Landcare and building (bio)bridges

The Rising Strong Project is a community-focused climate adaptation education project based in the Northern Rivers.  Delivered by North Coast Regional Landcare Network in partnership with Tweed Landcare, Brunswick Valley Landcare, Richmond Landcare, Border-Ranges-Rivers Landcare Network and Upper Clarence Combined Landcare, the project was born of a desire to amplify the impact and collaboration between regional Landcare Networks on shared issues- in this case, climate change and biodiversity.  The project tells a story about community resilience, how we learn to change our viewpoints, leaning into uncertainty and the potential for Landcare to act as an adaptation pathway. The presentation will share the highs, lows and lessons of the project’s delivery, along with a key output of the project- an 8-minute video about creating ‘biobridges’- habitat corridors which help conserve biodiversity in a shifting climate.  The project is funded by the NSW Environmental Trust. 


Rachel Clarke (NRM Regions Australia)

Carbon connections: sharing knowledge to enable and empower regional NRM organisations in carbon farming
The rapidly evolving carbon market offers exciting opportunities for land managers and organisations to access necessary funds to support the rehabilitation of land: from revegetation projects, to pasture management, to protection of our coastal ecosystems. At the same time, engagement in actions to draw down CO2 offers a tantalising opportunity to address the climate crisis that poses such a severe threat to our natural environment, our farming industry, and our communities. This presentation will describe the approach NRM Regions Australia is taking to engage and collaborate with the regional NRM community, researchers, industry, and on-ground carbon farmers to share knowledge and enable action to maximise the benefits from carbon farming and avoid possible adverse outcomes 

Andrew Lawson & Paul Martin (Australian Centre for Agriculture & Law, University of New England)

Group of farmers standing in a field

Rethinking the case for rural stewardship
Across Australia, landcarers are doing great work, usually on a shoestring budget. Voluntary good stewardship, as demonstrated by these landcarers, is needed to protect its rural environment, maintain sustainable agriculture, and engage rural communities. But the investment system does not provide enough resources on a sustained basis for this frontline rural stewardship, and the funding system is burdensome on good stewards. It is essential that we rethink how we fund the work of good stewards funding system, to renew and recharge landscape protection and restoration to meet Australia’s increasing sustainability challenges. The Australian Centre for Agriculture & Law (AgLaw Centre) has worked with NSW Landcare, The Nature Conservancy, the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative and the Australian Land Conservation Alliance to document the evidence of the need for meaningful reform, and to propose a way to address the funding problem. Our intention is to support meaningful reform of how Landcare and other stewardship are resourced. 

Simon Abbott (LLS) & Kenneth Major (Thunggutti Local Aboriginal Land Council)

Thunggutti Landscape Healing Project

Rethink, Renew, Recharge, reflects the journey that Thunggutti Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) has been on since the 2019 Bushfires impacted community: culturally, emotionally, and physically. We have rethought, or more accurately recognized the ancient understanding that the health and wellbeing of community is intrinsically connected to the health of country – our environment and our waterways. We have established partnerships across several government agencies and NGO’s, renewing connection to country –Bush Regeneration, cultural burning, riparian repair, weed management, and fencing; accessing funds to build capacity for long-term sustainable projects. We are recharging our vision of a happy, healthy, and prosperous community, connected to culture and country, providing opportunities for long term culturally appropriate employment, and sharing knowledge with cultural tourism activities.  Thunggutti LALC’s footprint is divided by two different government and agency areas. We need to rethink catchment management, renew communication across arbitrary boundaries, and recharge our commitment to country

Pippa Jones (LLS), Cate Paull (CSIRO) (North West Local Land Services)

Working with CSIRO to help farmers value vegetation on farm

North West LLS partnered with CSIRO’s Pest Suppressive Landscapes team to design a monitoring program to gather data on beneficial insects in brigalow woodland in North West NSW. Through greenhouse trials, sampling of insects in the field and community engagement activities, the four year program aims to increase awareness and understanding amongst landholders and community members of the role that beneficial insects play in managing pest insects in cropping landscapes. Using malaise traps, beat box and D-vac techniques, the CSIRO team collect and analyse insects within brigalow treelines, shelter belts and vegetation clumps adjacent to crops. The information collected meaningfully engages farmers on how healthy vegetation on farm can support healthy beneficial insect populations, thus aiming to influence vegetation management practises. 

Luke Mashford and Louise Turner (Far West Rangelands Rehydration Alliance (FWRRA))

Rehydration in the Rangelands of  Western NSW

The FWRRA is a group of private landholders that are passionate about re-establishing the natural ecosystems on their respective properties. Collectively, the total land represents 926,000 hectares. The landholders have each undertaken Ecosystem Management Understanding study to help them understand how they can best improve raindrop retention to increase soil moisture so that vast swarths of Rangelands can have the necessary sub surface moisture to germinate, nourish and promote to maturity native species of flora and fauna. The Alliance has been successful in securing funding for a variety of projects including the establishment of twenty seed nurseries across sixteen properties, sub soil moisture monitoring in partnership with DPI, LLS and Western Landcare NSW, landscape filters tackling erosion, and bank and ponding strategies to promote seed germination and recruitment. 


Dr Tein McDonald & Rhonda James (Australian Association of Bush Regenerators)

Natural regeneration isn’t always spontaneous: There are tricks to optimising natural recovery

This presentation will show examples of long cleared sites not far from remnant vegetation where what seemed to be hopeless cases were coaxed and cajoled into naturally regenerating. The experience of professional regenerators in rainforest, open forest, wetland and grassland will be combined to provide a range of tips on how to optimise regeneration in each of these ecosystem types, inspired by knowledge of adaptations of species to the types of pressures and disturbances that have occurred in these ecosystems over evolutionary timeframes. Particular mention will be made of applying disturbances followed by comprehensive and timely weed control.  When regeneration potential is limited for some or all species, well informed reintroductions will help to move the site along the trajectory of recovery, although further ongoing ‘regeneration’ approaches can optimise outcomes. 

Matthew Smith & Nigel Blake (Coffs Harbour and Districts LALC)

Four women sitting on a log smiling at camera

Healing Gumbaynggirr Country with Ceremony, Bush Regeneration and Habitat Reconstruction
Following the black summer fires Darrundar Wajarr team from Coffs Harbour and Districts LALC are using ceremony to heal country and hasten the return of native animals. Brinerville is a parcel of Indigenous land located at the headwaters of the Bellinger River surrounded by the New England National Park on Gumbaynggirr Country. This is just one fire affected property where Coffs Harbour and Districts LALC’s team are restoring habitat with funding from North Coast Local Land Service.  The Darrunda Wajaarr team have re-thought and recharged traditional cultural practice to assist the return of threatened species such as powerful owl, spotted tailed quoll and glossy black cockatoo.  The project involves the team working on Country to assist in the recovery of Brinerville. Team members trained in climbing techniques install nest boxes in key habitat areas for important arboreal species, Intensive tree planting will occur on previously weeded areas of the river flats and cameras will be used to monitor species recovery.   In addition to these traditional recovery activities, cultural events involving storytelling, knowledge sharing and ceremony are held to encourage wildlife back into the area and for habitat recovery. Matthew Smith will relate firsthand this novel renewal of traditional practices to heal and restore these important lands.   

Judy Kirk - Natasha Lappin (Murray Local Land Services & Corowa District Landcare), Derek Schoen (Landholder), Brendan Christy(Corowa District Landcare Chair), Ian Rich (Federation Council)

Landscape aerial shot

Paper Laneways Project
Corowa District Landcare delivered a 10 year collaborative project which engaged local landholders to restore and rehabilitate the disused crown lanes or ‘Paper Laneways’ that adjoin their farms and enhance the connectivity to existing significant revegetation and remnant vegetation sites.   The project was funded through the NSW Governments Environmental Trust Program and, with the support Federation Council, five farming families & Murray Local Land Services, the project undertook on-ground works to enhance chosen paper laneways. Activities included erecting 13kms of fencing to control grazing, planting more than 500 tube stock plants and direct seeding 7.2 kilograms of native seed to improve the understorey diversity. This work resulted in the protection of 45ha of biodiversity corridors which form a direct link between significant areas of remnant native vegetation reserves. The final stage of the project saw the ownership of the paper laneways being gifted to the participating landholders based on their commitment to managing these lanes for improved biodiversity conservation in perpetuity. The process has been long but worthwhile, as these sites are now being managed for conservation. Natural regeneration of native plant species has been occurring and threatened species such as Grey-crowned Babblers and Squirrel Gliders are now often seen on these sites.

Simon Abbott, Joshua Keating, Shane Ivey (LLS & Others)

Landscape with trees

Addressing transformer weed threats to secure a representative network of coastal floodplain threatened ecological communities in the North Coast Bioregion

North Coast LLS is leading a new approach to Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) recovery focussed on landscape-scale restoration of coastal floodplain TECs to protect a network of sites across a 250km north-south gradient. These TECs are under significant threat from inappropriate fire, transformer weeds and urban pressures putting them on a trajectory to extinction with rapid and significant reduction in geographic distribution, composition and ecological function across their full range. Funding has been secured for a 7-year program of habitat restoration works that will allow for efficient management of current and emerging threats while also providing opportunity to be adaptive and flexible to changing priorities.  Floodplain coastal TECs are at the forefront of climate change impacts such as storms, flooding, sea level rise and coastal erosion/degradation. They often provide valuable ecosystem services such as coastal stabilisation and flood mitigation – increasingly critical for coastal towns and cities in a changed climate. The project has strong partnerships and collaboration with Aboriginal landowners and managers, local councils and Landcare ensuring broad community involvement and ownership of project activities and outcomes. 

Alice McGlashan (Nest box tales)

Improving nest box occupancy rates

The installation of nest boxes is a commonly promoted habitat improvement option. However, there are hundreds of reports of nest boxes installed previously, never being used by the target species, not being used by any native species, and supporting the success of feral species. Through my own experiences of installing, monitoring, solving identified issues, and much research into the different species needs of native hollow using species, I have achieved near 100% occupancy rates for the more than 30 nest boxes installed on my 4-acre regenerating property near Canberra. From this experience and discovering significant misunderstandings of how to ensure nest boxes are used by native hollow using species (and don’t cause harm), I decided to develop a website and Facebook group to get this info out to as many people that could put it to use as possible. And so I began nest box tales.

Deb Tkachenko (Landcare NSW)

Students planting trees

Rethinking Landcare – Ask the big questions and get answers

Using SLIDO the audience will be asked the Elephant in the Room questions about rethinking Landcare. This includes big topics like fee for service, the different perceptions about volunteers, business partnerships, government delivery and representation by Landcare NSW; the true value of Landcare; what do we represent in the future. The Rethinking questions will be compiled through collaborations with LLS, Landcare NSW Program Team and Landcare NSW. Each question will be posed with background information/evidence.  The aim is to stimulate thought, creating debate and recognising the challenges of Landcare groups regionally and locally while getting real time feedback. This will be one of the first times that conference attendees can use their voice plus receive direct feedback in real time. Answers should recognise the interests of Landcare to provide solutions to the issues that matter to their communities – e.g.  climate change adaption, sustainability, Aboriginal engagement, biodiversity management and caring for communities., contributing to a robust discussion on the renewed direction for Landcare.