The Biodiversity Project - The Watsons

The Biodiversity Project

Country Road x Landcare Australia

Meet the Watsons, a cotton farming family from Boggabri in New South Wales. Together with Landcare Australia, we're supporting families like the Watsons in restoring Australian farmlands.

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In 2020, Country Road launched The Biodiversity Project in partnership with Landcare Australia. When you purchase a Verified Australian Cotton Heritage Sweat, you're raising funds to help nature thrive.

Country Road has committed $600,000 to The Biodiversity Project over three years.

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Meet the Watsons

Robyn, Xanthia and Kane in the field at Boggabri
Robyn Watson,
Cotton Grower & Landcare Award Recipient
My husband John and I have been on our Boggabri farm for over 50 years. Our son Andrew now runs all the farms, along with his wife Heike. They have two little children Xanthia and Dougie who are very keen tree planters. They help every weekend planting the trees and his son Kane also helps on the farm, so we're really a family enterprise here.
Boggabri cotton farm
Dougie and John preparing the tree planting
Robyn: John and I planted trees for about a kilometre down the bank in the 70s, and we found that the biodiversity of the whole farm has improved since then. The birds are also coming back to the area because of this which helps keep the insects down on our cotton crops.
Preparing seedlings for planting
The bank of the Namoi River
Robyn: My vision for this new property would be to get it to a place where it's much like our home property where we've solved a lot of the problems. I think that if we can get wildlife corridors going here and native trees planted, this property can also become a wonderful area for biodiversity.

Meet the Watsons

Andrew Watson,
Cotton Grower

Biodiversity helps a farm thrive
Biodiversity is really important to me in so many ways. It may be the insects, the birds and the bats that help reduce pests in our crops. It may be the grass cover and legumes that are growing in our grazing paddocks. It may be diversity in our soils and how we provide different nutrients back into the soil—biodiversity is really, really important to make our farm work as a system.
Andrew in the field at Boggabri
Andrew: The project with Country Road involves planting 3.7 kilometres of tree lines along the Namoi River. This is on a property we've recently purchased that had been somewhat denuded in areas. The banks were bare and high river flow was causing turbidity in the river, so by doing this we're going to increase the ecology along the riverbank by planting trees and grasses.
The bank along the Namoi River
Robyn and Xanthia installing a tree guard
Andrew: If we can have tree lines linking riverbank environments and remnant vegetation elsewhere on the farm, that will act as a highway for birds, microbats and beneficial insects to move amongst the landscape and our crops. They'll be able to prey on the insects we don't want, which to me is a fantastic outcome.

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The Watson family in the field at Boggabri
A moment in between planting
Robyn and John in the family home
The Watson's property, shown on the left bank

When you purchase a Verified Australian Cotton Heritage Sweat, you're supporting the work of families like the Watsons.