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Stronger together

Published 22 Jul 2021 

You may have experienced a moment over the last year and a half when nature reminded you of its strength. A key moment for me came in March this year when I was visiting one of the revegetated areas of Bush Heritage’s Monjebup Reserve, Noongar country in Western Australia.

We opened one of our purpose-built nest boxes there to find several baby Western Pygmy Possums staring up at us.

A pygmy possum on Monjebup Reserve. Photo William Marwick.
A pygmy possum on Monjebup Reserve. Photo William Marwick.

Less than a decade ago, the site on which their nest box stood was a bare paddock. Now, it is a diverse and healthy bushland ecosystem.

My encounter with the pygmy possums reassured me that even when it feels as if our human world is coming unhinged, nature carries on.

Nature is resilient, just like Bush Heritage’s donors, who haven’t waivered this past year. Thank you for standing by us.

Your support through the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic has been at once humbling and heart warming.

In January, I stood looking at the view from Bush Heritage’s new Round House Reserve with its former owner, Annelie Holden, who is one of our longeststanding supporters. Located just an hour north of Melbourne on Taungurung country, the Round House is Bush Heritage’s first engagement reserve – established primarily as a meeting place for people to come together and to connect with each other, our work and the bush.

Bush Heritage CEO Heather Campbell.
Bush Heritage CEO Heather Campbell.

If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that distance does not need to mean distant. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the potential of the digital world – to connect, to share knowledge, and to collectively come up with solutions to shared challenges.

A record number of people – over 800 – tuned into the first virtual Women in Conservation Breakfast, which we co-host annually with Trust for Nature. The online nature of this year’s event made it accessible to some who had never been able to attend in person, including many from abroad.

Hundreds more tuned into our virtual webinars throughout the year.

This year, we are celebrating 30 years of returning the bush to good health. In 1991, a small group of passionate individuals in Tasmania decided more needed to be done to protect the Australian environment. They acted on their convictions and the Australian Bush Heritage Fund was born. I wonder whether they paused then to consider the legacy they were creating?

Today, more than 37,000 people have joined our cause, supporting the protection of over 11 million hectares – an area of land almost twice the size of our founders’ home state. This is a legacy that we can all be proud of. But our founders’ early conviction still holds true: more needs to be done.

We have big goals for 2030 and to reach them we will need to work together.

Heather Campbell's signature

Heather Campbell, Chief Executive Officer.