Keynote speaker at Watershed Landcare's Green Day was Sean Dooley - national birdwatching champion and record holder - who said the local region is the most important in Australia for woodland birds.
In addition to being the editor of Australian Birdlife magazine, in 2005 he published The Big Twitch which tracked his record attempt for the most birds seen in one year. So needless to say, he gets around.
And he said, "the Mudgee area is, without a doubt, the most important region for woodland birds in Australia".
"It's the last stronghold for birds like the Regent Honeyeater, in particular, and a whole other suite of woodland birds as well. If you include the whole district, the Capertee Valley is the hot-spot and you've got lots of other places around here, right up to Rylstone and the Munghorn Gap," he said.
"There's still enough remnant woodlands around where birds are hanging on - but they're only just hanging on. Even though there's been concerted effort for 20-30 years to rehabilitate and regenerate bushland for Regent Honeyeaters and other birds, the numbers are still going down.
"And then you get the drought - people don't think of the drought impacting birds, but you don't get the flowering and insect life and they struggle to breed and the population crashes.
"So it's an extremely important area and there's been so much good work over the years, but it's still an uphill battle."
The theme for Green Day 2019 was 'Birds, Bats and Biodiversity', fitting considering the role Sean said that the creatures play in the bigger picture.
"Birds are a really good indicator of the health of the environment. Which is why the data we get from our volunteers for Birdlife and from researchers, is really important because they're like the barometer of the landscape," he said.
"We were shocked to see the drop in Kookaburra numbers in eastern and south eastern Australia - the reporting rates were down 40 per cent over 15 years - and that's a bird that's really robust and common.
"If a successful bird like that is starting to struggle, then we know something is starting to go wrong with the environment. And that's where birds - in addition to being wonderful, amazing creatures themselves - are so important to conservation, they're the easiest way to see the health of the environment."
Over 700 students, from 15 local schools, flocked to the Mudgee Showground on Thursday for the 11th annual event. Sean said his message to them was to reflect on how special their home is.
"Hopefully they take away a sense of pride in where they live, that this is a special place. I know growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne that you feel like you're not part of the action, where as in terms of the natural world they really are here," he said.
"And hopefully they will feel connected to that. The kids today have been incredibly engaged and it's been fantastic to see, not just how courteous they are but how genuinely interested they are.
"Often the environment gets put into a political category but it shouldn't be, because we all have an innate curiosity about nature. It doesn't matter what your politics are, people still care about the birds they see everyday - that's what I found travelling around.
"I really hope that these kids grow up to want to nurture what they've got around them, because it is so special."