Private Land Conservation Update

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Saturday 18 February saw the gathering of over 50 conservation-minded Landholders from MidCoast 2 Tops Landcare Connections’ Private Land Conservation (PLC) program, along with dignitaries and staff from partnering agencies – the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT), Landcare NSW and MidCoast Council (MCC). 

The PLC program has been running for around 18 months and was designed to support landholders in the local area who have a conservation agreement on their property, such as those offered through Land for Wildlife and the BCT.  MidCoast 2 Tops Landcare has delivered a successful program by tapping into their extensive local network and has completed more than 40 landholder property visits and over 12 environmental education events, along with the production of various educational articles and publications to support landholders with the conservation and restoration of wildlife habitat on their property.

The evening started with Worimi elder Aunty Janice Paulson delivering her very personal Welcome to Country, followed by brief overviews of the program by Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin; Jesse Gollan, the Senior Regional Conservation Officer from the BCT for our area; CLR Claire Pontin, Mayor of MCC; and Drew Morris, Catchment Officer at MidCoast Council.

Local conservation champion Alan Pursch gave a compelling overview of the journey he and partner Helen have undertaken in conserving over 200 Ha of forest under a private land conservation agreement with the BCT on the Comboyne-Lansdowne escarpment. 

Keynote speaker Dr Kylie Cairns, who is a conservation geneticist passionate about conserving and understanding Australian native species using cutting-edge DNA technologies, shared her research findings on the evening. Based at the University of New South Wales, much of her work to date has been focused on dingoes in Australia and New Guinea, studying their evolutionary history, genetic identity, and modern patterns of crossbreeding with domestic dogs. Kylie is a scientific advisor to the New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, New Guinea Highland Wild Dog Foundation and The Australian Dingo Foundation as well as co-chair of the IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group Dingo Working Group (https://www.canids.org/dingo-working-group) and deputy chair of The Australian Foundation for Wilderness. Kylie enjoys bushwalking and camping and is driven by a desire to protect the remaining wilderness in NSW, particularly across National Parks.

The crowd also enjoyed a wonderful three-course meal by the chefs of Great Lakes Paddocks, whilst busily attending to a designated quiz at each meal change.  The quizzes were designed to garner information and support for Stage II of the Private Land Conservation program in the MidCoast area beyond the finalisation of the current program, which wraps up at the end of April.

To cap the evening off, MidCoast 2 Tops Landcare Connection gave away some wonderful door prizes, including Alex Floyd’s Rainforest Trees of Mainland South-eastern Australia – won by Jill from Stroud, and a bush regeneration tool belt – won by Ron from Warranulla.

The major prize was won by Megan from Wootton, who with partner Peter, will be hosting a field day on Tuesday 2 May to demonstrate the installation of artificial hollows in regrowth forest with the Hollowhog method.  These hollows will be small, but suitable for microbats, small gliders and other arboreal mammals, such as the Brush-tailed Phascogale.  Bookings are essential. Go to https://events.humanitix.com/hollowhog-demonstration-day for info. 

This event was delivered as part of the Partnering in Private Land Conservation. A joint initiative delivered by Landcare NSW and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust; and supported locally by MidCoast Council.  

Article by Isabelle Strachan

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