This year, we have been able to get back to some of the things we love, including spending time in nature, together.
In September last year, on the red dunes of Pilungah Reserve, Wangkamadla Country, I was lucky to experience both of these joys with the utmost gratitude. Here, we gathered with Traditional Owners to celebrate the native title rights of the Wangkamadla people to more than 3 million hectares of their Country.
As warm air drifted through the spinifex, we slowed down, connected and shared stories. I left energised by the inherently valuable experience of being on Country and in person.
In our 2030 Strategy, we made a commitment to deepen our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partners, and this year we began to bring this ambition to fruition. In this space, we are becoming stronger listeners, and this has brought about innovative changes and positive outcomes as we walk together to heal Country.
Another highlight of the year was formalising how we will work in the agricultural space on operations that are self-funded by our partners.
Here, we established partnerships with large-scale pastoralists and continued our collaborative work with key researchers and foundations. I’m also proud of the credibility we have accrued as an organisation. One with the skills and knowledge to make a real difference helping landholders to understand the stunning biodiversity that exists on agricultural lands.
Whilst there was much to celebrate, the world continued to throw challenges our way that humbled these moments. Many of our landscapes experienced extensive flooding that contrasted the destructive fires of previous years. These served as urgent reminders of the pressing need for our work.
So, we got stuck in. Across our reserve network, staff and volunteers continued, boots on the ground, with active land management to protect and improve this continent’s magnificent and vital biodiversity.
It is thanks to the incredible generosity of bequestors in the 2021-22 financial year that Bush Heritage has been able to experience significant growth. An expansion that will help us to meet the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. And one, that will see us continue to chart our course toward deepening and doubling our impact by 2030.
This year we invested heavily in tomorrow’s future and the needs of the 2030 Strategy, which we know will provide fruitful conservation outcomes in the years to come.
Despite the challenging times of our changing world, our supporters continued to stand by us, and their incredible generosity has allowed us to make a small surplus in revenue for the 2022-23 financial year.
As most of you may know, I’ve made the incredibly hard decision to leave Bush Heritage. It has been one of my life’s great privileges to lead Bush Heritage over the past four and half years. I wish to offer an enormous thank you for the opportunity to the dedicated Board, committees, volunteers, partners, staff, donors and supporters.
Together, we’ve been able to achieve the incredible impact detailed in this report and craft a clear strategy for the years ahead. I look forward to watching the outcomes I know Bush Heritage will achieve as it continues to heal and protect Country.
Heather Campbell, Former Chief Executive Officer.