From the CEO: Your legacy

Saturday 21 September, 2013

The success of Bush Heritage lies with the caring people who support our conservation work - people like you, our steadfast supporters, who make all our achievements possible.

Gerard O'Neill

Some of our supporters are honoured in these pages; Jenny and John Barnett, whose bequest allowed Bush Heritage and Trust for Nature to protect forever a piece of central Victorian bush in their memory; Phillip Toyne, former President, who we acknowledge as an honourary life member thanks to his outstanding contribution to Bush Heritage; and Chris Darwin, great-grandson of naturalist Charles Darwin, whose lifetime donation enabled Bush Heritage to purchase and protect an important reserve where we now celebrate ten years of conservation - Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia.

We also honour the late Sylvester Mangolamara, a Wunambal Gaambera elder who empowered his people to care for the country that means so much to them, in partnership with Bush Heritage and you, our supporters. Like the contributions of Jenny, John, Phillip and Chris, Sylvester's achievements were far-reaching - the achievements that he and his people have made go far beyond the boundaries of their own traditional lands.

Sylvester and his people worked with Bush Heritage, using an internationally recognised conservation planning process we were instrumental in developing, called Open Standards, to produce their own conservation plan. In doing so, the Wunambal Gaambera people tailored the process to the unique needs of their indigenous community.

The resulting Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country Plan was produced in 2006 and was so successful that many other indigenous Australian landowner groups have since been inspired to follow. Their example, together with your support, has allowed Bush Heritage to work together with the Umpila people in Cape York, Qld; the Warddeken people in the West Arnhem Plateau, NT; and the Gudanji and Garawa traditional owners from the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, NT, towards their own Healthy Country Plans.

Healthy Country Planning has also created international interest from worldwide indigenous groups, who are now sharing their experiences through an international network of conservation organisations. Bush Heritage and the Wunambal Gaambera people had a major role in defining this groundbreaking process.

The legacy of Sylvester's passion will live on for both his own people and for conservationists like you, the world over, as does the legacy of so many of our supporters, people like Jenny, John, Chris and you - people who have made this critical work possible - thank you.

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Gerard O'Neill, CEO

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