YAN John Betts awardees for 2022

Nan and Mary-Jane Betts are the 2022 recipients of the John Betts Award. Nan was John’s wife and Mary-Jane John Betts daughter. These determined women have been working tirelessly since John Betts death in to regenerate the native grasslands and landscape on their Cowridge property on Black Range Road. 


Nan and Mary-Jane are currently working to have the Derringullen Creek waterway on their property join the nearby Rivers of Carbon project. They have a goal to protect this natural waterway for future generations. However the current corridor of the TransGrid Humelink transmission line threatens to cut across this special site and a large number of mature Box Gum Woodland trees and a 30 year old tree lane is in threat of being felled as part of the Humelink transmission line installation.


The Derringullen Creek waterfall site on Cowridge is a very special place for Nan and Mary-Jane. Over the last few years they have worked tirelessly to fence off over 60 hectares of this waterway which includes several small waterfalls. A pair of wedge tail eagles have built a very large nest in a Eucalyptus Blakelyi at the waterfall site and at the awards presentation they were seen flying high in the thermals.


Fencing off the Derringullen Creek waterway and surrounding riverbank has enabled a large number of Callitris endlicheri seedlings to become established from a significant mother tree.  Nan and Mary-Jane are keen to protect this mature tree as it is the only example of a Callitris endlicheri on Derringullen Creek. This waterway also has mature examples of Eucalyptus melliodora, Eucalyptus blakelyi and Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Eucalyptus bridgesiana which are under threat from the installation of the TransGrid Humelink transmission line.


Several of the property dams were created in the 1800’s by heavy horse and scoop and have been undisturbed due to the volume of fresh water mussels in those dams which are a favourite food source for herons. Underground water fills one of these horse and scoop dams known as the gravel pit and this dam has been fenced off to enable native vegetation to regenerate. 


There are numerous fence line plantings across Cowridge hill top paddocks which were established as part of the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management project. These paddocks provide livestock shelter and reticulated stock water is provided through the property from dam water reserves. Nan and Mary-Jane have also found time to create the JCH Betts memorial drive which includes a range of robust bottlebrush – it felt moving to drive past this living memorial to John Betts.


Mary-Jane is a graphic artist who also studied horticulture and has put that knowledge to good use growing plants from seed and then planting them in the same landscape as the parent plants.  Mary-Jane and Nan have planted numerous trees lanes and small native clusters which provide both stock shelter as well as providing wildlife corridors or stepping stones across the landscape.


Both young at heart women are open to new ideas and ways of doing things. Mary-Jane and Nan have future plans for Cowridge which would see the opening up their property for bird watchers, poets and photographers or just day dreamers. 


The Yass Area Network of Landcare groups has great pleasure in awarding the 2022 John Betts award to Nan and Mary-Jane Betts.



Follow on Facebook

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up to receive Yass Area Network of Landcare Group's eNewsletters and announcements.