A LOCAL environmental advocate who has clocked up more than 20 years volunteer work with Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group is this year's Environmental Citizen of the Year.
It's the first time the award has been offered to a Gunnedah shire resident, and George Truman is a fitting first recipient with a long history of community service as treasurer of the Gunnedah Show Society and a member of the Community Garden.
Mr Truman said the award reflects the hard work all the volunteers from the Urban Landcare Group put in, and that it was "a nice surprise".
"It's certainly great appreciation," he said.
"It's also nice in a season like this where we've seen the trees respond to the recent rain and are now looking good - it's nice to see the efforts of a lot of years and a lot of time pay off.
"We've spent a lot of time watering trees, particularly the ones we've planted in recent years down at Cushans Reserve and along the Namoi River.
"So there's been a lot of effort put into maintenance and watering trees and it's really exciting when they've been able to respond."
George, who is currently the secretary of the Landcare group, has been involved in numerous environmental initiatives including helping restore the walking track at Porcupine Lookout, installing bird nesting boxes around the Shire and helping out on Clean Up Australia Day.
"Landcare is something that's important to me personally and it's great to share with the community," he continued.
"That's why Gunnedah Urban Landcare has developed some environmental education activities which I know a lot of people have been involved with in Gunnedah, such as kayaking down the Namoi, bird watching and bicycle tours of Gunnedah.
"Landcare is very personal but it's really important to share the interest with others."