Restoring the land is a life’s work –
Recap of our Red Hill Field Day at Crookwell

By Alex James

Driving through the gate at Red Hill the first thing you notice is windbreaks spanning as far as the eye can see. Take a closer look to observe a native pasture brimming with diversity, protected by strategically placed windbreaks planted with native trees and shrubs that enhance farm productivity and biodiversity.

Fenced gully for the Rivers of Carbon Project.

On Sunday 15 October James, Tom and Natasha McCormack hosted the Rivers of Carbon Crookwell field day at Red Hill. Forty participants from all over the south-east were treated to a morning talk at the shearing shed and later a paddock drive to see current and historical land restoration projects on the farm. Tom’s family have farmed the land for seven generations, arriving in the 1800’s from Ireland, it’s his pioneering vison that started the farm revegetation projects over thirty years ago, a legacy the family continues today.

James and Tom generously shared their expertise in sustainable farm management, talking about rotational grazing, ground cover management and establishing revegetation plots. Listening to them you realise that restoring the land is a life’s work and one that they are truly committed to.

Full house (or shearing shed) as Tom McCormack talks about their restoration efforts over the years.
The McCormacks with Lori, Rivers of Carbon Program Manager.
Tom McCormack talking about the farm map and historical revegetation work.

Ruth Aveyard from Upper Lachlan Landcare talked about Landcare in the region, including their projects the Regenerative Grazing Group and Habitat Linkages. While Lori Gould the Rivers of Carbon Program Manager shared her expertise on revegetation and riparian restoration.

After morning tea, we took a paddock drive to visit newly planted windbreaks, where Tom and James explained the techniques they use to establish trees such as using a Hamilton planter, fencing and site preparation using an implement to open the soil rather than ripping. Driving through the property we ended up at a Whole of Paddock Restoration brimming with diversity.

Hamilton planter on display.
Demonstrating planting techniques.
Newly planted trees and shrubs with the tree guard pole and flat surface to the west. Infiltration rips, not your traditional rip lines using a special implement designed by Tom and James.

One of our attendees gave us this wonderful feedback on what they enjoyed most about the day:

‘The huge generosity of our hosts in taking the time to show us their farm and to pass on their wealth of practical knowledge of how to combine conservation with productivity.’

Thanks our speakers and the McCormack family for hosting this event. The event was made possible with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust 

Find more information about the Upper Lachlan Landcare Group here.

Photo credits: Natasha McCormack and Alex James

The Rivers of Carbon – Crookwell project is supported by the NSW Environmental Trust.

What is Rivers of Carbon – Crookwell?

Rivers of Carbon – Crookwell is a project that builds on the work of the successful large-scale Rivers of Carbon Program, a proven model that focuses on connecting and linking ongoing and new riparian rehabilitation sites with remnant vegetation to provide many ecological and social benefits. The region of Crookwell is a key area of connectivity in the southern tablelands. This project is being developed in response to a strong community desire to act. Project activities will include fencing and revegetating riparian areas, strategic small-scale erosion control works to improve water quality, and linking habitat to form contiguous wildlife corridors.

Learn More

Tree lanes