Gerard O'Neill with reserve managers Luke Bayley and Ian Hamilton. Photo: Nikki Hamilton
There are few better places to experience all those things we associate with Spring, than at your Charles Darwin Reserve, Western Australia, in September.
I had the opportunity to visit this unique part of the Australian bush recently, and to see the results of two years of good rain, combined with the good management that Bush Heritage supporters like you have made possible. The reserve is on fine display, with its masses of white daisies, yellow everlastings and grevillea.
I was met at the homestead by broad smiles, the typical welcome of the bush people that Bush Heritage is fortunate enough to have in our team. These smiles belonged to a new family living at Charles Darwin: Luke Bayley and his partner Fiona, together with their two children, have quickly settled in and become part of the local community.
Wildflower meadow at Charles Darwin Reserve: Photo: Gerard O'Neill
That community was well represented at a Sunday afternoon barbecue hosted by Luke and his family. People from all sorts of backgrounds talked around the campfire: some were pastoralists and representatives of industry groups, some were from fellow conservation group Australian Wildlife Conservancy and others were volunteers helping us manage this fantastic place.
Bush Heritage has a unique ability to bring people together in this way. Communities like this one - and the one that you, as a Bush Heritage supporter, are part of - contribute to our conservation goals at reserves right across the country. A love of the bush is at the centre of this connection.
Reserve manager Luke Bayley photographs wildflowers. Photo: Gerard O'Neill
Inspiration at Wooleen Station
I also met one young couple, a few hundred kilometres from Charles Darwin Reserve, who have poured their energy and love of the bush into a place called Wooleen Station. At Wooleen, David and Frances have set themselves an ambitious goal: to restore the rangelands of the outback station.
Their inspiring story is so well known that tourists arrive from all over the world to experience their work and stay at the magnificent homestead.
David and Frances are yet another example of Australians who have their own dream for the Australian bush - and it was wonderful to hear how they are going about achieving it. I'm sure that each of you has your vision too.
Thank you for sharing the Bush Heritage vision - and for helping to make a difference to the Australian bush.
Gerard O'Neill, CEO
If you'd like to see how Bush Heritage has put your support to where it's needed most, download your copy of the 2011-12 Annual Report.