Since European settlement, about one-third of Australia’s woodlands, and almost 90% of its temperate woodlands, have been permanently cleared. The inevitable result of this loss is that many of our woodland birds are in decline.
In few places is this mass clearing more visible than south-eastern Australia, which is why, in 1999, Bush Heritage acted to protect Tarcutta Hills Reserve – home to one of the country’s last remaining patches of White Box Woodland.
Today, Tarcutta provides a vital refuge for many woodland birds – including Swift Parrots, Superb Parrots and Black-chinned Honey-eaters – in what is otherwise a largely cleared agricultural landscape.
Our cover story this issue outlines the steps Bush Heritage is taking to ensure that Tarcutta continues to provide habitat for woodland birds in decades to come.
On the other side of the country, many of our south-western reserves will likely be bursting with wildflowers by the time you read this, following good winter rains. On Charles Darwin Reserve, this year’s wildflower display will provide a stunning backdrop for the Blues for the Bush music festival in late September.
Further south, between the Fitzgerald River and Stirling Range national parks, the appearance of yellow and cream wildflowers around August and September heralds the start of Djilba. To the Noongar people of this region, Djilba is a transitional time of year; traditionally, this was the time when Noongar people inland would begin their journey toward the coast in anticipation of warmer weather.
This Spring also marks the beginning of a transitional period for Bush Heritage. As I prepare to step down from my role as Chief Executive in November, I am filled not with sadness but with optimism for the future. And that’s because of you.
The gifts you give to Bush Heritage every day are examples of the kind of cumulative action that adds up to real change. So long as there are people like you out there, I have hope that together, we can return the bush to good health.
All my best wishes,
Gerard O’Neill, Chief Executive.