Welcome to Our news, naturally

Welcome to Our news, naturally. It’s been a busy time at the Natural Resources Conservation Trust with big grant news for Ballarat and Landcare Victoria choosing the two pilot Landcare networks to participate in the next stage of the New Futures for Community Landcare project, which is our largest project funded to date. Congratulations to the Granite2Goulburn Group and Buloke & Northern Grampians Landcare Networks. For more information on this exciting project, check out: https://landcarevictoria.org.au

Seeding Victoria has attracted huge interest in the native seed collection training projects which is our second largest project to date – see the story below for details. In addition, the Trust recently sponsored the highly successful 2024 Victorian Biodiversity Conference which was held in February at Deakin University and has also provided to scholarships to the upcoming WELA leadership program for 2024.  

As the Annual General Meeting approaches to signal the end of year for our newly formed Trust, we thank you for your interest in our purpose-driven organisation.  We are proud of the phenomenal efforts of our volunteer Board who have overseen the successful funding of our round 1 grants and recent scholarships and look forward to achieving even more to protect and enhance the natural environment in the new year. 

We hope you enjoy the changing colours of Autumn…and a bit more details on some of our interesting projects and activities below…including a free exhibition invitation to Trees: A Canopy Extraordinaire…!

Trees: A Canopy Extraodinaire - free exhibition

Trees: A Canopy Extraordinaire exhibition celebrates, reflects and recognises the significance of trees in the local landscape over time and the essential timber industry that grew the local Dandenong community. The exhibition provides an opportunity to understand how we can sustain the tree canopy for future generations.

This exhibition recognises the cultural significance of trees to the traditional owners of this land, the Bunurong people, the impact of European settlement on trees and the emergence of the local timber industry as a commercial enterprise in the Dandenong region.

The exhibition will recognise that 2024 marks eighty years since Community Forest planting began at Greaves Reserve in Dandenong in 1944. It incorporates the early growth and work of the Natural Resources Conservation League in Springvale – the Trust’s founder, and the ongoing work by City of Greater Dandenong Parks and Garden staff to sustain the tree canopy for the future.

This free exhibition will display artwork and items from the Council’s Civic and Cultural Heritage Collection, displayed alongside local historical society collections, and items from NRCL’s archives and will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10am to 2pm from 18 April to 19 July 2024.  It is located at Benga, Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens, 66 McCrae St, Dandenong VIC 3175.

The exhibition also forms part of the National Trust Australian Heritage Festival.


Meet your Bushland Project

A $20,000 grant was provided to the Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network for their ‘Meet your Bushland’ project.  Delivery partner, Western Port Biosphere Foundation, will engage landholders in conservation efforts by:

·       building a connection with the native bush on their properties;

·       improving awareness of local environmental values; and

·       promoting conservation.

The aim of the project is to empower and engage landholders to steward their bushland through an understanding of the existing biodiversity assets on their own land and identifying areas for weed control, fencing and revegetation.  The project only commenced in late 2023.

WELA 2024 National Leadership Program Course sponsorship

We are proud to sponsor two exceptional future leaders to undertake the WELA Women in Environmental Leadership 2024 course. WELA exists to empower women’s leadership with development programs to build skills, confidence and networks. It supports women to come together in its growing community to provide guidance and networks, and to open doors to new opportunities.

Designed by and for women and gender diverse changemakers, WELA’s National Leadership Program will:

•     enable participants to identify their own approach to leadership

•     support participants to step into power and influence, and

•     connect participants to an instant network of incredible women and gender diverse people creating positive impact for our environment and climate.

NRCT is providing scholarships for 50 per cent of the course fees ($3,300) to two deserving candidates.  The candidates chosen will be announced in our next newsletter.


Big News for Little Creeks

The Bunanyung Landscape Alliance (BLA) has received exciting news recently when BLA was awarded a $701,000 Victorian Government Green Links grant to restore Ballarat’s urban waterways along the Yarrowee River. 

The Trust funded Landscape Restoration Guide and Little Creeks Strategy will be utilised in implementing the Green Links “Urban Ripple: Restoring our Yarrowee River and its Little Creeks” grant.  Thirteen sites will form the basis of BLA’s biodiversity restoration projects, with implementation expected to be undertaken over the next 3 years.   

The Trust’s current $34,000 grant was provided to BLA to build upon the initiatives alreadyundertaken.  These include:

·       Publication of a Nursery Guide;

·       Developmentof the Little Creeks Strategy; and

·       Developmentof the principles of a Restoration Guide.

The next step for the BLA is to complete the development of the Restoration Guide ready for application within identified Biolink areas around Ballarat.  This Restoration Guide and Little Creeks Strategy forms part of BLA’s original goals of partnering with funding agencies, private landowners, local Landcare and Friends Groups to bring high level restoration practices and activities to degraded land within the Alliance’s area.

Otways Agroforestry Network (OAN) Master Tree Growers Course

A $30,000 grant was awarded to Otways Agroforestry Network (OAN) to conduct a Master Tree Growers Course in 2024.  This popular course is for landholders wishing to integrate trees into farming systems for conservation, agriculture and profit.  OAN is a grassroots Landcare group that encourages rural property owners to establish and manage trees for the reasons that matter to them. Landholders in the region want trees on their farms to:

·       shelterfarm stock and crops;

·       control soil erosion and dryland salinity;

·       enhance their property values;

·       encourage biodiversity; and,

·       if possible, generate alternative sources of income.

The course will be conducted in 2024 and is currently seeking interest specifically from young farmers in the region.


UPDATE: Seeding Victoria & Cassinia Environmental seed collection training


We are proud to report that Seeding Victoria with project delivery partner Cassinia Environmental has attracted huge interest in the native seed collection training projects – NRCT’s second largest project to date.  The Trust funded project “Greening the Environment, one seed at a time” kicked off just in time for the native seed harvesting season. Two recent workshops were held at St Arnaud and Wedderburn, and in the words of Seeding Victoria, “have been enticing new recruits into the seed collecting business.  And we need them!”

In order to support Victorian revegetation projects including those being undertaken by Cassinia Environmental in their delivery of BushBank on behalf of the Victorian government, Seeding Victoria anticipates having to supply a whopping 10 tonnes of seed in coming years.

Around 60 workshop attendees have participated in collector training to date, which is an encouraging sign that the Seedbank may be able to meet future demand, but more collectors are needed.  The workshops comprised a mix of theory and on site learning – morning presentations followed by an afternoon field trip to put the theory into practice.  At least two more workshops will run next Spring.