Bush Heritage Bequestors Visit Gondwana Link

on 22 Sep 2014 

At 7.30 on Saturday morning, Angela, Jill Swanson, Rebecca Passlow and I welcomed a contingent of 25 bequestors from as far away as Melbourne onto a charter bus at the Albany Visitor Centre.  The morning was cool in Albany, but quickly warmed as we headed out to the Fitz-Stirling.  With bus transport necessitated by the numbers on this trip, we'd had to organise an itinerary a little different from the usual, as most of our reserves require 4WD access.

First stop was at the new Monjebup Creek property for morning tea, where we had wide-ranging discussion about our involvement in Gondwana Link and its Fitz-Stirling section, and talked about our plans for a Field Station on the new reserve.  Another roadside stop further up Monjebup Road provided for a short walk through mallee heath on the spongolite on Monjebup North and down to the once-cleared sand flat that is transformed into a wonderland of wildflowers every September.  Our visitors loved it, and who wouldn't - the diversity and detail is breathtaking at this time of year.  Back on the bus, we drove into the northern section of the reserve, stopping on the boundary between the 2012 and 2014 restoration areas, where the 2012 restoration is already a flourishing new ecosystem, and we have abundant germination happening in this year's recently-completed direct-seeding.  A winding route through the 2012 restoration allowed our visitors to appreciate the impressive scale of the enterprise, whence we headed to our partner property Yarraweyah Falls for an excellent lunch.

Well-fed and -watered, we headed south through Yarraweyah to a vantage point overlooking the Yarraweyah/Monjebup landscape, where we discussed the importance of relationship management and the contribution of private conservation owners to our collective work in the Fitz-Stirling.  The Thompsons were wonderful hosts, as they always are, and added a dimension to the conversation that it's sometimes hard for us to do ourselves.  Announcement of our recently-signed partnership agreement with Bill and Jane was greeted with heartfelt applause.

Thanks largely to the good work of our Melbourne colleagues Sabine, Jill and Rebecca, the day went like clockwork.  We arrived at and left each stop right on time, the catering was superb, our partners' hospitality was outstanding, the conversation was engaged and incisive, and it was a tired and happy troupe of Bush Heritage friends we farewelled back at the Visitor Centre just on 6 pm.