Women on Farms, Land for Wildlife, Carbon Farming

Indigenous discussion of the carbon farming initiative, the 30 year anniversary of Land for Wildlife and the 2012 Women on Farms gathering at Bruthen were amongst the things which kept me and my Office busy this last fortnight.

A conversation has been started between a number of Indigenous people and the Carbon farming experts.

Indigenous Victorians met with my Office and Peter Robinson from the Carbon Market Institute and Damon Jones from Norton Rose. 

Yorta Yorta and Gundijmara people came up to Melbourne to talk about the possibilities of the carbon farming initiative on community owned land. Rumbalara Football Netball Club, which is working to develop a ‘green precinct’ and the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Native Title Unit were all represented with Paul Briggs and Steven Isles coming down from Shepparton. 

Further discussions will flow from this inaugural meeting.

I also attended and gave a keynote presentation about community participation at the celebration of Land for Wildlife which has just passed the 30 year mark.  This was fortuitous as I was able to distribute copies of the very recently launched CSIRO and BOM paper State of the Climate 2012. You can find it here: http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Climate/Understanding/State-of-the-Climate-2012.aspx

People came from all over the country and also from New Zealand.  One of the New Zealand delegates told me that he was interested in how the Land for Wildlife model might be rolled out in his country as he thought it had real merit in the way it drew private landholders into environmental planning and partnerships with others.
Rob Youl presented on his conservation efforts.

Kate Strothers, Barry Clugston, Peter Johnson and Rob Chaffe, amongst others, all talked to me about the role of individuals in Land for Wildlife.

The forum ran for two days. 

Adam Fennessy, Deputy Secretary Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Kylie White, Executive Director, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, from DSE, both addressed the conference. 

Presentations covered the role of the Conservation Management Networks, Trust for Nature and community engagement.  Included in the program was a visit to the W. James Whyte Reserve which is owned and managed by Conservation Volunteers Australia. An optional visit was also available to the Tye Estate. 

My weekend was taken up with a trip down to Buchan for the Women on Farms gathering. 

I was really pleased to renew some conversations with women who came from all over Victoria and who we had met and talked to in the regional tours we had conducted last year (and which will be reported on in Many Publics. Participation, Inventiveness and Change which will be out shortly).  Social cohesion, networking, supporting efforts for change across a very wide spectrum of endeavour, were all focal points for the weekend’s discussions, tours and workshops.

One of the workshops around communal singing produced a choir in very short compass which provided the after dinner entertainment and showed how quickly a committed group can produce outcomes.

I also used this visit to tour Royal Cave in Bruthen itself. 

These remarkable limestone caves are exquisite, and were on the day very well attended by interested tourist across age groups and cultures.  The interpretation provided by Parks Victoria was more than commendable, being both informative and highly engaging.