A Border program that encourages wildlife-friendly gardens and caring for parks is among the state's best.
Gardens 4 Wildlife Albury-Wodonga won the Environmental Volunteer Award at Friday's 2021 Victorian Landcare Awards.
The Wodonga Urban Landcare Network initiative involved more than 330 volunteers who donated 1500 hours of their time.
Project officer Lizette Salmon said wide-ranging appeal had been a strength of the program, with cat lovers, habitat gardeners and busy parents among the participants.
"We have attracted a broad demographic and we've engaged them in new directions," she said.
"There's been things like eco treasure hunts or water bug detective, things to keep the kids entertained and it's a bit educational as well."
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Volunteer achievements included planting 2720 native and indigenous species in Wodonga's parks and reserves, planting 810 native and indigenous species in residential gardens and hosting 45 free or low-cost events/activities for 1800 residents.
"I do see (the award) very much as a tribute to the hardworking, dedicated Gardens 4 Wildlife volunteers," Ms Salmon said.
She thanked Landcare Victoria and Albury and Wodonga councils for their support.
In the Individual Landcarer Award, Wooragee Landcare Group's Sue Brunskill was highly commended for her 30 years of community leadership.
Recent projects include an Indigenous fire knowledge for Landcare project, developing a guide to local fungi and driving the silver banksia seed production project.
"When you see people come along to events and get inspired and you can see a spark in their eye, they can think of other things they might do, I think that's really rewarding," Ms Brunskill said.
She felt during the COVID-19 pandemic, such activities took on even more importance.
"Not just for the Landcare things, but for the social connection and for people working in their local area," she said.
When everyone could feel overwhelmed by the state of the world, "to get out and do some Landcare work or some work in your garden can really make a huge difference to the environment but also to yourself".
"You can make a really big change in a short time and that's why I think it's great," she said.
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