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Welcome to 2016

Before we get started…

  • Corflute Landcare signs are currently available at the SOLN offices, 69 Nelson Street, Apollo Bay. We would love to see more of these signs on the landscape to increase our profile in the year ahead, so please pop in and grab one for yourself and a bunch for your Landcare group (free of charge).
  • The Corangamite CMA has opened Expressions of Interest for River Health projects. The process will be slightly different this time around. If you think you might have a River Health project and haven’t spoken to us yet, now is the time to get in touch.

…And now, welcome to 2016!

Thank you to the community of the Southern Otway Landcare Network for your support. It may be safe to say that the Southern Otway Landcare Network has been on a white knuckle ride throughout 2015. With many funding programmes cut and others delayed well past the the usual time rames, our staff and committee have experienced great uncertainty in regards to both staffing and project delivery in 2016. It went right down to the wire but developments in December completely changed our outlook at the eleventh hour. The SOLN Committee of Management met this week and we are pleased to announce that staff contracts have been extended until December 2016. Thanks to recent grant announcements, we head into the new year with both a full staff complement and a full onground works programme.

Crowdfunding and Threatened Species

Our crowd funding campaign that closed on December 15 was an incredibly humbling display of generosity and support for local Landcare and well exceeded our expectations. We would like to most sincerely thank all members of our community who donated and / or shared our campaign. Some very generous donations were received by private individuals which both moved and amazed us. The Apollo Bay News Sheet, the Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Hordern Vale Glenaire Landcare Group and the Apollo Bay Landcare Group all gave generously and reminded us of the strength and importance of our local community groups. A huge thanks also to those who donated rewards to the campaign.  In the process we have learnt a lot about reciprocity, giving and social capital. Our community is incredibly generous and hard working and our similarities are truly greater than our differences. So again, thank you. 2016 looks set to be a whole new year and we look forward to the dust settling and getting to work. The Crowdfunding Campaign was linked to our successful project proposal through the State Government’s Threatened Species Initiative which will allow us to undertake more vegetation assessments and wildlife monitoring work in our Network area.

Green Army and Twenty Million Trees

The Federal Department of Environment announced in December that SOLN had been successful in applications to both the Green Army and 20 Million Trees Programmes. The Network continues to express reservations about this policy but changes in delivery processes and a partnership with the Conservation Ecology Centre allowed us to design what we believe are high quality and achievable project plans. We have been successful in three applications to Green Army which will allow us to have teams on the ground for 18 months supervised by a Team Leader who will be employed by SOLN specifically for this role. Projects will focus on the Federal Government’s Election Commitment to undertake works on the Barham River in the first six months before moving on to a focus on the Great Ocean Road National Heritage List Place and and Threatened Species Conservation on Cape Otway for the remaining year. SOLN has commenced recruitment for both a Team Leader and crew members. The 20 Million Trees project will see restoration and revegetation of a former grazing lease on the Great Ocean Walk on Marengo and additional support for restoration at Cape Otway.

What happened in 2015?

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2015 focused on the delivery of two Communities for Nature projects, delivering community based habitat restoration and monitoring at Cape Otway and Skenes Creek. Community attended workshops on forest structure, restoration and revegetation and participated in training in Wildlife Camera Trapping. We have been delighted by the level of interest and leadership that has emerged out of this project, which is helping us to better our understanding of our forests and the management of Landcare plantings. The project has been a great opportunity to strengthen our highly productive partnership with Conservation Ecology Centre at Cape Otway.    A big thanks to the Apollo Bay Landcare Group whose generous donation supported the purchase of wildlife cameras, which will be used to support our annual spring monitoring programme. Please keep your eyes out later in the year to get involved.

A new group joined the SOLN Committee of Management, with Otway Coast Regenerative Farmers (OCRF) becoming the fifth group represented on our Committee. OCRF are trialing and developing Regenerative Agriculture techniques in the Southern Otways and we are pleased to have a mix of conservation and agricultural interested represented within our governance structures. We have seen a fair bit of change in our Committee of Management over the last 12 months. SOLN is now governed by a mix of experienced and new members who have all worked extremely hard under challenging circumstances. On behalf of the Staff, you’e been a pleasure to work with and thank you for your support. Particular thanks to our President Tony Webber, Vice President Jack Pascoe and Treasurer Ken Forrester.

Staff members Mike and Libby participated in an interesting process called the Systemic Inquiry into NRM Governance with the aim of improving relationships between all levels of governance involved in Natural Resource Management. Mike and Libby have focused on the social impacts of Natural Resource Management and at the same time have worked towards the development of a Resilience Self Assessment Tool for Landcare. The tool allows Landcare groups to become stronger and more resilient in the face of challenges by identifying where the groups can most effectively make change. The tool has been trialed in the Wimmera, and hopefully soon in Port Phillip. We hope this will make a valuable addition to all of Landcare in the future.

Put in your diaries:

  • February 20 – Apollo Bay Seafood and Local Produce Festival. Get on down to the Apollo Bay Foreshore and go and buy a delicious burger and some fresh produce from Otway Coast Regenerative Farmers
  • March 26 – Wye River Fete. The Wye River Fete was scheduled for January 6th but of course had to be rescheduled due to the fires. Proceeds from the fete will go to support the Wye River CFA.
  • April 16 – Fungi Photography Workshop with Alison Pouliot. Keep an eye out for details, places will be strictly limited.                                                  

~ by SOLN on January 8, 2016 .



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