The Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network has run the successful NRCL-funded biolinks program Linking the Mornington Peninsula Landscape (LMPL) for many years. One of the lessons of this program has been the effectiveness of one-on-one, on-site interactions between landholders and bushland restoration specialists. A visit to interested landholders by the bushland restoration specialist working on LMPL is the first step in engaging landholders and has proved the most successful engagement strategy in bringing landholders on board. The Network believes it is one-on-one nature of the interaction, combined with the fact that the walk-and-talk is on the landholder property, that makes this engagement strategy Meet Your Bushland project proposal, powerful.
The landholder becomes enthused about the existing natural values of their own property, and understands from the bushland restoration specialist, the importance of controlling weeds and excluding stock from waterways. The landholder also comes to understand that while the task of weed control may be large and ongoing, it is doable, and that there are many resources in the community to support them. The presence of the Landcare member reinforces this. The follow up visit to a local property that showcases successful conservation efforts has also been a feature of LMPL. The meet-and-greet events held for each Biolink, which are attended by the Biolink landholders, include a walk-and-talk on a local property that showcases successful bushland restoration.
In the context of Meet Your Bushland, this second interaction with the landholder is designed to cement the messages of the first walk-and-talk and deepens the engagement of the landholder.
Meet your bushland: a Mornington Peninsula landholder engagement program. This is a program in which landholders with native bush on their properties are paired up with a local bushland restoration specialist and a member of the local Landcare group for two events:
- a walk-and-talk on the landholder property, focusing on the sections of the property with the highest habitat values
- follow-up tour of a local property that showcases successful conservation efforts, also attended by the bushland restoration specialist and a member of the local Landcare group.
Partners in this project are the Natural Resources Conservation Trust, Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network (lead partner), and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. NRCT is providing $20,000 towards project costs.
Aims. The aim of this project is to engage landholders in conservation efforts, building a connection with the native bush on their properties, improving awareness of local environmental values and promoting conservation. The ultimate goal is to empower and engage landholders to steward their bushland through weed control, fencing and revegetation.