"> Sutton Landcare - Ginninderra Catchment Group

Sutton Landcare

The group was established on the 23 June 1997 under the umbrella of the Sutton & District Community Association, with an initial focus on weeds, trees and river care. Improve our natural environment through sustainable environmental management.

Geographical area: The Group also has a long-standing commitment to ensure the well-being of the grassy box woodland area just east of Sutton Primary School, known locally as “Sutton Common” (see project description below) and other areas in Sutton.with an initial focus on weeds, trees and river care. Improve our natural environment through sustainable environmental management.

Our philosophy: to improve our natural environment by ensuring that all members are fully informed on the principles of sustainable environmental management and how to implement them. Armed with the right knowledge private land-owners can manage their own properties in accord with sound environmental practices.They can also make informed comment to the relevant authorities on the stewardship of publicly-owned land in the Sutton community. 

Activities: The major activities centre around talks by visiting experts on a wide range of land management and conservation issues chosen by the members to be of particular priority or interest. Follow-on field trips are sometimes undertaken.  

McLaughlin’s Creek: 

Over the past few years, the Sutton Landcare Group has made several attempts to replant a small area in Sutton, adjoining McLaughlin’s Creek. Two sets of 150 tubestock from Greening Australia were planted by volunteers. Unfortunately, the first planting died, because of heavier than expected frost (- 8 C◦!), and the recent drought has meant that only 30 plants from the second planting have survived – thanks to the efforts from members of watering regularly.  Some of the survivors look healthy and have grown. Now we have had some decent rain we have decided to do a third planting in August/ September 2020. We will keep you informed when that will be and are happy with anyone willing to come and help plant, big and small! 

Logo: The Group  logo reflects Sutton Landcare’s ongoing interest in trees, plants and wildlife (hence the native bettong in the logo). Bettongs are an endangered species and a new colony is being established at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, just a few kilometres west of Sutton Village.

Landcare meetings are held at Sutton Public School, generally on the second Tuesday of each even-numbered month. The usual  format is a short business meeting 7:30 – 8:00 pm, followed by a guest speaker presentation or some other activity, followed by supper.  Our meetings are advertised in several local newspapers so that any interested person has the opportunity to attend.

Contact: For general inquiries about Sutton Landcare meetings, please contact our Secretary, Marchien van Oostende, on sutton.landcare@gmail.com, 0402986934

Membership: Financial year membership costs $5 per adult or $10 per family.  Payment can be made in cash to the Treasurer, or by direct bank-to-bank transfer to our Bendigo Bank account (BSB: 633-000, Account: 131530883).

Weed Management Strategy

The Yass Valley Council have published their weed strategy and has established an advisory group from community bodies. The Sutton Landcare Group is represented on the committee by the President of the Yass Area Network. You can access the weed strategy here.

Conservation of “Sutton Reserve”

Sutton Landcare recognised early on that there was a significant conservation risk hanging over the Crown Land area just east of Sutton Public School. The land comprises a bio-diverse remnant of Yellow Box/Red Gum grassy woodland. 

It is of high conservation value as it contains a real diversity of floral species, features structural complexity and connectivity, and provides the habitats for threatened animal species believed to frequent this area – including migratory honey-eaters, insectivorous woodland birds, small reptiles and insects.   Rainer Rehwinkel, well known Agriculture scientist, working on best approaches to biodiversity conservation and connectivity, in particular for grasslands, identified this land in 2007 as one of the best of its type in the region, with over 250 native plant species present.  Since 2000 Sutton Landcare has held numerous working bees to remove rubbish and noxious weeds from the site.  Included is spraying Serrated Tussock and trial release of mites to control St John’s Wort.

In simple terms, the biggest threat to this remnant Yellow Box/Red Gum grassy woodland is the potential for livestock grazing, seeing that some area of the site is subject to permissive occupancy leasing.  

On several occasions Sutton Landcare has approached the NSW Government seeking conservation management and protection of this site, but without success.  Feedback from Government in 2011 acknowledged the merit of the proposal to conserve the site but pointed out that the land in question is now subject to several claims under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.  A 2019 request to work on the site was rejected by the Crown Lands, as some of the land is privately leased.

The Sutton Landcare Group will keep trying to get permission to work on the site, and to get it preserved as “Sutton Village Woodland Reserve”, both for the species that use the site, and for the local residents to enjoy.