There aren’t many dull moments at Bush Heritage, and the last few months have kept pace with this trend. As the recent period of financial uncertainty has begun to ebb, a fresh sense of optimism for the future is steadily building.
Our Annual Financial Report and Annual Conservation Report for 2009, both released in November, show a good outcome despite a challenging year. In choosing to batten down the hatches and curb the pace of our growth in the current financial year, we have survived the past 12 months and are immensely grateful for the loyalty of our supporters.
Carnarvon grasslands. Photo Danny Yee.
With a continued focus on our conservation goals for this year and beyond, Phase II of our Anchors in the Landscape Campaign – the financial platform for our strategic plan – is well underway.
This campaign has a target of $44 million to be raised by 30 June 2011. With new philanthropy staff recently joining the team, we’re well placed to focus on building the support of individuals, trusts and foundations and corporate donors.
Among these positive movements, we were also reminded that conservation happens at the behest of nature when a fire on a neighbouring pastoral property escaped onto Carnarvon Station Reserve in late September.
I had driven through the Carnarvon Ranges just a week before the fires at Carnarvon, and I can vouch that conditions were hot, dry and airless.
About one-third of the reserve was burnt when gusty winds drove the fire through the property. Had it not been for the dedicated efforts of our reserve staff, Cathy Zwick, Chris Wilson and partner Alison – as well as neighbours, volunteers, contractors and the Queensland Rural Fire Service – the extent of the fire may have been considerably worse.
Redneck wallaby at Carnarvon Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
On this note, our thanks go to all our volunteers across the country who help us in so many ways to achieve our conservation goals.
Finally, the AGM in November saw the end of an era for the organisation. After completing three highly successful terms as President of the Board, Phillip Toyne made way for Louise Sylvan to take over the chair. Louise is supported by the appointment of Andy Myer who replaced Steve Morton as Vice President.
With a continuing strong and dedicated Board, Bush Heritage will move forward the legacy of Phillip’s vision and his longstanding passion for and commitment to the organisation.
I would like to acknowledge the enormous contribution Phillip has made to Bush Heritage over nine years. He is one of Australia’s most distinguished environmentalists and has a deep personal commitment to Indigenous engagement.
These two threads have underpinned Phillip’s successful efforts in encouraging Bush Heritage’s strategic expansion. With his characteristic mix of confidence, optimism, humour, pragmatism and realism, he has led with distinction one of the best not-for-profit boards about.
It has been inspirational and exciting to work with Phillip.
We are pleased to welcome Louise Sylvan as new President of the Board. Louise is a Commissioner with the Productivity Commission. She is the former Chief Executive of the Australian Consumers Association, and is a former Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Louise has also been an active supporter of Bush Heritage Australia for more than a decade, and I am looking forward to working with Louise in her new role as we strive to achieve Bush Heritage’s goals.
Doug Humann, CEO