LEG nature walks: Streamwatch Birth of Coxs River
Lithgow Environmental Group (LEG) was formed in 2005, and has been a member group with NCC since 2011.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Julie Favell, Project Officer of LEG which now has 60 members. Incredibly, Julie also holds positions on the following committees: Gardens of Stone Alliance, Energy Australia Community Consultant Committee, NCC Climate & Energy Working Group, Western Sydney University Advisory Group at The Transformation Hub, Lithgow City Council's Environmental Advisory Committee, and is the Chair of the Lithgow and Community District Native Nursery.
What are some key collaborative actions you’ve taken with the NCC network?
We co-hosted the NCC Regional Conference in Lithgow in 2017, which focused on renewable energy and damage to Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamps/Temperate Highland Peat Swamps Sandstones. Renewables in Lithgow were pretty much unheard of at the time – so this felt like quite a momentous shift. At the time, we were initiating conversations with councillors to get the ball rolling. Local government was lacking support and funding for us to transition to renewables, which was necessary for workers and diversification. We started to take things into our own hands. For example, I did a fundraiser to get solar panels installed on a local Parish centre, which Energy Australia contributed financially to.
What are some other key projects LEG is focusing on currently that you’d like to share?
We’re currently running educational nature walks in the areas that have been or will be affected by mining proposals. The principal aim is to create awareness of and connection to local nature, and then educate the groups on the current issues and risks. We often have amazing guest speakers such as ecologists.
We’re also currently focusing on the management of invasive species the Indian Myna bird in the area. Christine who is the Community Engagement Officer at LEG, recently received a grant to set up a management program for the area.
Another project we’re campaigning against is the Waste 2 Energy, particularly in Lithgow. On the map on the EPA website, Lithgow has been removed however it is still present at Mt Piper Power Station and the surrounds until the government takes further advances. Incineration is not a renewable project: it merely transfers landfill to another location, and there is an increase in emissions from transportation, and toxic residual ash from burning waste. The designated site borders on two sides with the Gardens of Stone SCA, which we are concerned will reduce interest in visiting the beautiful area.
You've done so much incredible work for the movement and the area. Are there any challenges LEG is facing currently in reaching your goals?
Well we’ve campaigning for many years now, we’d like to retire soon! LEG has a wealth of knowledge and experience that we’d like to pass on to younger generations to continue and see the transition through. However, it’s challenging to find younger volunteers.
What are you most excited about?
Definitely the transition to renewables. It’s very unfortunate, but climate change has been the big opening door for us to get if off the ground in Lithgow. It’s a reality around the world that is universally relatable and undeniable (although some still deny it!).
We’re on track to receive a 500 Megawatt battery and pumped hydro on site, funded by Energy Australia, and there have been two other batteries proposed. We’ve come a long way!
If you’d like to connect with Julie to learn more about any of the above, or are interested in a nature walk, you can email her at [email protected]
LEG nature walk
LEG nature walk
- June 2023