From the CEO - visiting Olkola Country

Tuesday 06 December, 2016

After the warm welcome from Mike Ross and the Olkola land management team, the thing I remember most clearly about my first visit to Olkola country is waking up early and listening to the dawn chorus of birds at the homestead.

CEO, Gerard O'Neill. Photo Bec Walton.
CEO, Gerard O'Neill. Photo Bec Walton.
Butcherbirds, friarbirds, honeyeaters, lorrikeets, coucals, kookaburras, kingfishers, quail, pardalotes and galahs, testified to the diverse habitats all around. Cautious Agile Wallabies grazed as the early sun warmed the moist Cape York air.

This introduction to the property was a reminder of the importance of our work alongside the Olkola Land Managers in protecting the Alwal, or Golden-shouldered Parrot, a key totem species for the Olkola people.

Working with the Olkola is a great way for us to support their aspirations for healthy country: a landscape management approach that recognises culture and has protection of Alwal as a key focus for our work. This applied research and management builds on local knowledge and the significant body of published research already available.

Mike Ross, Chairman of the Olkola Aboriginal Council. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
Mike Ross, Chairman of the Olkola Aboriginal Council. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
It’s also an important recognition that the challenges we face across Australia are much bigger than any one group can tackle by themselves.

Conservation requires collaboration that brings together Australia’s best skills, capabilities and resources. Simply, conservation must transcend boundaries. Collaboration with partners such as Aboriginal landowners, pastoralists, NGOs and state government agencies, is essential to our work, and to the future of Australia’s diverse flora and fauna.

In this edition of Bush Tracks you'll read about such partnerships on Scottsdale Reserve as we work with Water Watch to assess the health of platypus numbers in the Murrumbidgee River. Meanwhile, new partnerships are helping us secure the future of the Night Parrot, as we extend the influence and extent of protection of that species in the landscape.

These partnerships – and the many others in place around Australia – continue to grow and their strength is based on our mutual ambition to protect Australia’s vast and beautiful landscape for future generations.

I’d like to wish our volunteers, donors and supporters a sincere thank you. We can’t do any of this work without your steadfast support.

In 2016, your kind donations and hard work in the field and in our offices made all the difference. We’re looking forward to working with you again in 2017.

Until then, on behalf of Bush Heritage Australia have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gerard O’Neill, Chief Executive

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