Sustainability on reserve
In 2020, two more Bush Heritage reserves had solar power systems installed and connected, thanks to support from Jord Engineering: Pullen Pullen in Queensland, where our new Arid Zone Conservation Base is located, and Naree in New South Wales.
This means 81% of our powered reserves now run entirely or in part on renewable energy; our goal is to have 100% of our reserves running on renewable energy by 2030.
Transitioning to 100% renewable energy not only reduces our environmental impact, it also makes practical sense. Access to a reliable power source is essential for the safety of our staff, volunteers and partners, particularly on our more remote reserves.
Off-grid solar systems, coupled with backup generators, provide our people with a secure source of electricity so they can continue with their vital conservation work.
Improving the sustainability of our reserves is one of the many goals outlined in our Sustainability Action Plan. As well as reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we’re also working to reduce our water and paper use, and improve our waste management procedures.
Our Green team is currently conducting an audit of the sustainability of our reserves and we’re aiming to have waste management plans in place for all reserves by 2023.
To be part of the solution to the global challenge of climate change, Bush Heritage needs to examine not only what we do, but also how we do it.
Sabine Reiser, Green team leader
Making space for diversity
We recognise that conservation is more effective when the perspectives, voices and knowledge of First Nations people are integrated into all levels of decision making, and that this requires structural change.
In 2019, we set a goal to actively increase the representation of Aboriginal people in our staff and at a governance level. Today, 6% of Bush Heritage employees identify as Aboriginal, slightly under our target of 7% by the end of 2020. Queensland barrister and Wangkamadla woman Avelina Tarrago sits on our Board, and we have several Aboriginal people on our committees.
We’re also continuing to celebrate and amplify the voices of our Aboriginal partners through our communications, media stories and marketing materials.
Seeds of innovation
Earlier this year, Bush Heritage completed a native grass seed harvesting project on its Carnarvon Station Reserve, Bidjara country, in central Queensland. Fifty percent more seed was sustainably harvested compared to the initial harvest in 2020 due to a well overdue average wet season.
The seed – predominantly Queensland Bluegrass – will be used to rehabilitate cleared or degraded grasslands in the surrounding region.
The net profit of $109,050 from the seeds’ sale will be reinvested back into Bush Heritage’s conservation work.
The grasslands attract insects, which are the start of the food chain. With those come your birds, your small rodents, your native mammals, and they distribute that food throughout the landscape.
Chris Wilson, Carnarvon Reserve Manager
Short-term investment for long-term change
Our Regular Giving community reached 15,000 supporters in the last financial year; a remarkable achievement given the pandemic. These incredible, like-minded people donate to Bush Heritage monthly, allowing us to plan and commit to long-term conservation projects.
Recruiting and retaining regular givers requires consistent year-on-year investment, but overall it's one of the most effective ways for us to fundraise. We are humbled to have a 75% retention rate for our Regular Giving program. In fact, there are 46 people who have been donating to us monthly since 1993!
Reducing our impact
We acknowledge that climate change represents one of the most significant threats to the health of the Australian bush, and although our work undoubtedly has a net positive impact, we recognise there's always room to further reduce the footprint of our operations.
Some of the actions that we’re taking to reduce our impact include: reducing staff air travel, shifting to paperless fundraising, developing and implementing plans for our reserves to run on 100% renewable energy and enhancing waste management plans for our permanently occupied reserves.
Read more about our sustainability initiatives >>