Wildflowers after rain at Ethabuka Reserve, Qld. Photo Matt Dell.
By January 2005 the Bush Heritage national office will be in Melbourne, closer to many of our supporters and providing easier access to most of our on-ground conservation work. I'll be joining a number of staff in moving there, so this column is my last from Hobart.
The decision to move the office was a difficult one and was taken in the long-term interests of the organisation’s growth. We're convinced that from Melbourne we'll greatly enhance our opportunities to achieve national biodiversity conservation.
With sadness we'll close the doors of our Hobart office just prior to Christmas, and reopen in the New Year at our new Melbourne home in the Central Business District. We're looking forward to meeting more of our supporters once our final destination is decided. We invite you to call in and visit us.
Understandably, some of our staff have decided to stay in Hobart and maintain the wonderful lifestyle Tasmania offers. We'll therefore be recruiting new staff to join us in Melbourne.
My special thanks to Bronwyn Brown and Nathan Males, whose contracts are up for renewal and who have decided to stay in Hobart. Bronwyn has overseen administrative processes during our extraordinary period of growth and Nathan has, amongst other things, established our Conservation Partners Program. He will retain an active role in our Tasmanian reserves.
Visiting Bush Heritage’s Carnarvon Station Reserve, which I do regularly, always lifts my spirits. Carnarvon is such a beautiful place and is being expertly managed for conservation. My visits remind me of the unique assemblage of talents and support that we have at Bush Heritage, and how this ensures the protection of such outstanding landscapes.
My visit in September coincided with a month of great activity and energy. Volunteer rangers, staff and Green Corps volunteers were involved in fencing another spring (which is already rejuvenating), conducting mammal surveys and completing our new composting toilets (with a shower block to follow).
We conducted cross-boundary pig baiting with National Parks’ staff and collaborated with a pastoral neighbour on removing noxious weeds from native grasslands.
A local contractor was mustering the remaining wild cattle and a painting workshop was under way, guided by renowned Australian artist Mandy Martin. All this activity was a wonderful example of how the convergence of supporters’ donations and interests, volunteer support, professional skills, neighbourly interest and plain common sense contribute to good conservation management.
The completion of the annual audit confirms a phenomenal year for Bush Heritage. Donations are up by 131% and more than 160 volunteers contributed over 2,300 days of work, providing value and cost-savings of over $327,000. This strong financial growth allows us not only to expand our ‘beyond the boundaries’ programs but also to consider more properties for purchase than ever before.
Thank you all for your wonderful support.
My sincere thanks also to Mick and Claire Blackman for their outstanding stewardship of Carnarvon Station Reserve over the past two years. We wish them all well in their new pursuits.
Finally, I welcome our new General Manager Annette Stewart and on behalf of the Board I also welcome our new Director, Carol Schwartz. Carol is widely known and respected in the business and philanthropic communities.
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Doug Humann, CEO