Libby McIntyre

Libby McIntyre is a Local Land Services Officer based in Dubbo. Her career and volunteer work has been largely focused on river restoration, bush care and community education. For Libby, a close connection to her local river makes her feel happy and relaxed.

Libby McIntyreThe importance of water . . .

Water is essential to all life. I walk at the river nearly every day and love its presence in the landscape, whether in flood, drought or normal flows.

I enjoy seeing the changes in the vegetation along the riparian zone, the birds and animals that live there, like the water rats and platypus. It is special just to sit and watch it flow by.

I spend a lot of time doing hands-on restoration work along the Macquarie River with our local Bushcare group - encouraging locals to be aware of and understand the importance of this great natural asset and how to look after it for the long term.

Even in busy times, it is 10 minutes to anywhere in Dubbo – walking tracks along the river, open spaces, sporting venues, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the Western Plains Cultural Centre and, of course, many friends. I am part of an active, wide-ranging volunteer network in Dubbo. There is also a great theatre, cultural centre and museum, the Old Gaol, Dundullimal Homestead plus lots of great cafes and restaurants.

Where do you go to get away from it all?

There are a number of different places I go to along the river, mostly quieter, less-used ones with large, very old red gums and some understorey, snags in the river, or the low benches, or beaches, that you get down to water level.

How often do you go there?

I go every day when possible.

What do you like to do there?

I like to walk, talk with friends, walk the dog, ride the bike, sit and enjoy, picnic, plant native shrubs and trees suitable for these areas, control weeds and pick up the never-ending rubbish that people toss away daily.

I like to engage with other people about the importance and value of the river and share with them the things they can do to make a difference.

How do you feel when you are there?

I feel connected, happy and relaxed. Sometimes I feel disappointed when the volunteering time you have put into making a place special is destroyed by people who don’t understand the value and importance of the river. Many people do not care about it but many do.

Why is water an important part of your relaxation?

It is quiet or noisy, always changing, but seemingly constant. It is always there. It is timeless and keeps flowing. The vegetation and wildlife move with the river.

Happiest memories?

There are too many to recount, from fishing as a young child with dad at Scamander to catching a Barramundi in the Victoria River (NT). I also enjoy making a difference and engaging others to understand the importance of rivers and wetlands across Australia.

Finish this sentence

When I was little, we used to go to...

The beach, the remote bush and the mountains of Tasmania – all had rivers or wetlands nearby. A lot of time was spent in the bush, walking, fossicking for gemstones or gold in high-country creeks, horse-riding, snow-skiing, swimming or picnicking.

I love to get away from it all and...

... go to the beach. Remote ones with long beaches and things to look at – rock pools, nesting birds, shells and drift wood.

I love visiting farmers who have an interest in their bushland areas – I like to learn and identify more about native vegetation.

I also love to sit and read a book in the sun.

I couldn’t imagine a week without...

... walking in the bush or along the river.

It was a sad time, but I felt better when...

We had an elderly Border Collie who was an important part of our life for 15 years. The river was her favourite place. She started to suffer and the family agreed it was time to say goodbye. It was very sad but she is in a better place

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