For this week's catchment corner, we're shining the spotlight on one of our special interest community groups - the Mudgee Microscope Group.
Born out of a soil health workshop in 2014, the group formed with the aim to look a little closer at our precious landscape and to learn about new ideas, practices and places that are important for living an environmentally conscious life.
Don't let the 'microscope' deter you. This is far from a hardcore science program, our goal is to learn practical skills to improve our land, gardens and lifestyles, to be more sustainable and resilient.
A social group at heart, it is a joy to meet once a month to chat and catch up, taking walks in nature, enjoying morning tea or evening drinks together and sharing in the learning journey.
It's a wonderful platform for our members to share their own knowledge and skills so we all end up going home after every meeting with a head full of new, bright ideas and perspectives.
At our latest meeting, we visited the Wollar cemetery which is home to a collection of native grasses, shrubs and herbs that are nowadays hard to find in the surrounding rural landscape.
Cemeteries in the area, with soils that have been left undisturbed by cultivation since settlement, now act as important reserves for native biodiversity that is disappearing.
The workshop was led by local botanist Christine McRae, we took a walk and found some of these rare native gems and learned some identification skills before enjoying the Autumn sunshine with a picnic and a cuppa.
The focus topics are chosen by our members based on what's interesting and important to them. From its origins in soil health, the Microscope Group has evolved to cover a huge range of fascinating topics in the form of workshops and field trips.
From Frog identification, earth building and seed collection to farm visits, permaculture and book clubs.
We occasionally host expert guest speakers and have additional opportunities to attend different types of events outside the group.
There's something for everyone and we think more local people would get a lot out of these monthly gatherings. We'd love to see you at our next meeting. It's a great way to meet new people and get the creative juices flowing.
Just get in touch with your local coordinator and we'll keep you in the loop.