Congratulation to Jane Lemann of the Southern Highlands Group APS who has received the 2023 APS NSW Conservation Award.
Jane trained as an early childhood teacher and then in the early 90s undertook a horticultural course followed by a bush regeneration course. Having lived in the district long-term, and brought up her family in the Wingecarribee district, she was aware that Mount Gibraltar was full of weeds and that nobody was taking care of this wonderful and unique place. Being the inspirational person she is, she started a small bush regeneration group and lobbied council who eventually gave the group permission to carry out the work and gave some limited assistance.
Jane’s next initiative was to push Council to impose an Environment Levy on residents of Wingecarribee. This has been achieved and is largely seen by residents as reasonable and worthwhile since the money is to be used only for projects that protect and enhance the local environment.
Landcare and Conservation
Jane has, for many years, served on the Environment Conservation committee of WSC. This committee is an initiative of Jane’s and she fought hard and long to see it established. She served at least 27 years on the Environment Committee and preceding environmental committees under other names and guises. She continues to lobby the local council to have the zoning altered to ensure the entire reserve is protected.
Jane has been utterly tireless in her determination to ensure the Mt Gibraltar reserve is kept safe for future generations. Recently she has been the forefront figure in an attempt to secure for the Reserve a parcel of 30 acres of land which adjoins it on three sides. The land, a steep ravine where wildlife shelters, is seen by many residents as totally unsuitable for development and many feel that the land should be secured for the Reserve.
Mt Gibraltar Bushcare Group
Over thirty-five years ago, the now formalised Mt Gibraltar Bushcare Group began their long task of regeneration, removing honeysuckle, privet, berberis, cotoneaster and a host of other garden escapes’. Many hours have been spent on hands and knees as volunteers attacked thick blankets of ivy, releasing native plants which miraculously reappeared. Inspired by such achievements, group members continue the good work. The group meets every week and is stoic about Highland weather conditions.
Jane’s leadership over years has seen the group become a benchmark Bushcare project in NSW. It enjoys huge respect from the community and loyalty from members. These days Mt Gibraltar Bushcare Group is one of a number of Bushcare groups across the Wingecarribee district. They are overseen by council environment officers who regularly seek guidance and depth of knowledge. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the plants which should and should not be in the local reserves.
Awarded an OAM for Services to the Environment
Jane is also a talented illustrator, a long-term member of the APS and in recognition of her dedication and achievements has been awarded an OAM for Services to the Environment. More history and information can be found under “Stories” – “Regeneration of Mount Gibraltar, Southern Highlands” on the APS website which was presented by Jane at the November 2020 Weekend Gathering in the southern Highlands.