If you're out walking or cycling in Horsham along the Wimmera River, you can thank the work of Gary Aitken and others for the paths you're using.
For the past 20 years Mr Aiken has been a member of the Wimmera River Improvement Committee, which has helped to create and seek funding for the network of walks that have opened up access around the river.
With more people now out biking, running and walking, the paths are getting good use.
Mr Aitken's dedication was rewarded last year with the Dame Phyllis Frost Award as part of the Sustainable Tidy Towns Awards. It recognised his outstanding contribution to the Horsham community - with nominations now open for this year's awards.
"It's really good to see people out exercising and enjoying the walking tracks," Mr Aitken said.
"No two ways about it, I'm delighted to see so many people out using them. Mums, dads, the troops, bikes people running and walking at all times of the day.
"I'd encourage people to get on their bikes and get out."
The paths stretch along the river to the city weir and beyond, giving people a chance to explore city and wetland areas.
The Police Paddocks recreational area has also seen an increase in people stretching their legs.
Horsham Tidy Towns Committee Chairperson Gillian Vanderwaal said the lockdown was an opportunity for people to have a good look at the place where they lived.
"It's a great time to maybe tidy up the front yard, tidy up the garden," she said.
"Maybe learn to grown your own veggies. Put in some carrots, or grow some broccoli and learn to be sustainable.
" You could also read up about how to be more sustainable."
Mrs Vanderwaal said the Tidy Towns awards were a chance to nominate your local heroes - those who were taking pride in their communities, during the coronavirus lockdown and beyond.
A Keep Victoria Beautiful initiative, the awards have been going since 1983 and recognise those who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in their communities.
The awards have gradually moved beyond simply rewarding towns for their tidiness and now focus on recognising and celebrating grassroots initiatives and positive actions taken by communities and individuals.
These include initiatives that have helped to inspire or empower the community, reduced waste or managed litter in a town or neighbourhood, prevented environmental damage, engaged young people, celebrated Indigenous Australians or played a vital role in combating loneliness or isolation.
Nominations close on May 1 and can be submitted through this link. The winners will be announced in Beechworth on September 5.
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