Col Maybury loves nature.
The Kurri Kurri resident's amazement at the living ecosystem around him never ceases and he has worked in multiple ways to benefit it over the years.
"I've always been interested in the environment," he said.
"I grew up here and was interested in the bush and the intricacies of birds nesting and living on the water.
"I've had many pleasant times out in the bush looking at those things."
One of his most celebrated ecological achievements in the Hunter was the establishment of Kurri Kurri Landcare in the 1990s.
A conversation with then Cessnock mayor John Clarence turned his love of the natural environment into the well-known group.
Mr Maybury said the mayor had asked him to help fix a bad acid spill from an old mine which was, in some places, flowing into a nearby creek.
He began treating the water in the 1990s and the local group was born.
"I had a lot of background in the chemistry and physics and science of this sort of thing," he said, adding that he'd had a lot of great feedback from the community regarding the treating.
"I've had some wonderful friends in Landcare over the years and some of them are now passed away but we've had good relationships."
Aside from his work with nature, Mr Maybury also has a fascination with space and has shared his knowledge of astronomy with people of all ages.
"I've given presentations at schools," he said.
"For 15 years I was a tutor for the Workers' Educational Association and ran classes on entry level astronomy."
Mr Maybury said he believed people were becoming more conscious of the environment and how to care for it, and that it was encouraging to see.
"There is more awareness; we're all much more aware," he said.
"I'm seeing more and more the way people are in tune with it."
Mr Maybury said over the years he'd noticed how people from different countries and backgrounds working together could achieve good results.
"I'm 83 so I've had a long life and been observing that," he said.
"Even with the coronavirus [pandemic], people are much more aware of cleanliness and looking after ourselves and, in turn, looking after the planet."
These days, Mr Maybury continues to admire nature up close at his Kurri Kurri property.
From his patio he can take in stunning, tranquil views of his pond set among "lovely trees".
It's a perfect spot for one who loves to appreciate the beauty of the environment and has, over the years, inspired others to do the same.
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