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Trust for Nature (Victoria) is a not-for-profit organisation that works with private landowners to protect native plants and wildlife on their land. Two-thirds of Victoria is privately owned, which means that the protection of native plants and wildlife on private land is vital. Trust for Nature has a number of different ways to support private land conservation including, conservation covenants, an ongoing land stewardship support program for all covenantors and a Revolving Fund and the purchase of land for permanent protection.

Patron The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria Trustees Geoff Driver (Chair) Amanda Noble (Deputy) Gayle Austen Cas Bennetto James Bentley

Dr Sandra Brizga Katherine Cary Dr Georgia Garrard Binda Gokhale Dr Charles Meredith

Contact 5/379 Collins Street - Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia Phone: +61 3 8631 5888 - Freecall: 1800 999 933 (Australia only) Email: ABN: 60 292 993 543 Font cover: Louise and Michael on their covenanted property in Clunes. Read about their journey from novices to bloggers on page 14. Inside cover: Neds Corner in full glory. Read more about the property on page 7. Courtesy Mark Schaffer.

INDEX Regional updates Our covenantors Love of camping leads to conservation obsession Meet the couple on the cover


Stewardship Tips on how to really get to know your property


Conservation science Safeguarding wildlife against cats




Covenanted properties From small to large blocks, these new properties will be protected forever Revolving fund A supporter’s generousity secures a special place in Gippsland, and it could be yours



20 23

Volunteers Celebrating 300 years of voluntary service





The number of covenanted properties in Victoria has exceeded 1400. Together with Trust for Nature reserves, that’s 100,000 hectares of land that will be protected forever. We’re really proud of this achievement and immensely honoured to be working with so many landholders who are selfless and partner with us to make sure plants and animals are protected. They’re the real heroes in this whole story. Our goal is to work with more landholders who have property in areas identified as a priority in our Statewide Conservation Plan and protect 50,000 more hectares by 2021. Trust for Nature doesn’t just collaborate with private landholders to covenant properties, we also facilitate the transfer of properties from private ownership to the public to become part of reserves or state and national parks. The Trust negotiates the sale price and manages the work of transferring the title. Thousands of hectares have been safeguarded this way including Churchill Island near Phillip Island. The most recently transferred property is Bilagal, a 19.66 hectare dense swamp forest that’s extremely important to the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and lowland Leadbeater’s Possum. Bilagal will become part of the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. Without this reserve these animals may face extinction. Bilagal was paid for by funds raised by the Judith Eardley Saves Wildlife Association and the Myer Foundation. Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater were instrumental in this land transfer. We recently acknowledged all the volunteers who work tirelessly to provide stewardship for our reserves around the state at a two day workshop in Melbourne. Twelve of our 44 reserves in Victoria are maintained by committees of management and their volunteers. If you calculate their years of voluntary labour it would add up to more than 300 years of support! Thank you volunteers – you make a huge difference to Victoria’s native plants and animals. Each year we hold community field day events around the state. Last year 550 people attended Trust for Nature reserves and private properties across Victoria as part of Spring into Nature. We will be hosting our Spring into Nature events in September; you can read more about them on page 19. We hope to see you there. Until next time,

Victoria Marles CEO, Trust for Nature


Regional Updates




Regional Manager Looking after woodlands and wetlands in the north east There’s a lot to learn about landscapes. Even if you’ve got a really long history with a piece of land or area of country it’s likely you will always be learning. Seasons, climate and species change, so too does knowledge about the best ways for humans to manage the land. It can be hard to keep up with ‘best practice’. North-east Victoria has it all: mountains, river valleys, open plains and forests. It covers regions such as Wodonga, Indigo, Wangaratta, Alpine and Towong and part of east Gippsland. It’s also home to nationally endangered woodlands and wetlands; most of them are on private land. To help landholders better understand how to look after them Trust for Nature teamed up with the North East Catchment Management Authority to share knowledge through field days focused on woodlands and wetlands and ecological burning. The woodlands and wetlands three-year project (supported by the Australian Government’s National Landcare program) also implemented many conservation improvements including pest and weed control, fencing off native vegetation and waterways, ecological thinning and installing nest boxes. Twenty-five land managers participated, each committing to a 10-year land management agreement to enhance their sites, totalling 480 hectares. The project also resulted in an extra 165 hectares permanently protected by covenants in the region thanks to the commitment of five landholders. This ensures the plants and animals will be protected forever, even if the properties change hands. Major achievements • 25,000 metres of new fencing to protect remnant vegetation. • 17,000 tube stock planted to improve vegetation condition and connectivity. • 85 nest boxes installed for threatened fauna.


Landholders Lynda and Greg Oates signed a 10 year agreement to enhance their property. Courtesy Jacqueline Schulz.

Can you have too many trees? In the north-east high eucalypt numbers are having a negative impact in some places. Where a healthy tree density for these woodland sites is around 50 trees per hectare, some sites have recorded over 7,500 stems per hectare. These dense, even-aged stands reduce the cover of understorey species, alter resource availability and reduce diversity of animal species; they inhibit the growth of large old hollow-bearing trees through competition for resources, which has flow on effects for hollow-dependent fauna, including threatened species such as Brush-tailed Phascogales. Thinning increases the growth of the remaining trees and adds debris to the ground. It is recognised as an important method for improving habitat in forests which have been highly modified.

For information about projects in the North East contact Will Ford (03) 8631 5888 or

Regional Updates

July 2018



SHELAGH CURMI Regional Manager

Learning to live with mistletoe When many of your trees have been killed by mistletoe you can be forgiven for being very unforgiving towards the plant; however there are two faces of mistletoe: friend and foe. The Ruffs bought a 132-hectare grazing property in Wirrate 21 years ago. They removed the sheep and the property has been managed for conservation ever since with over 140 species of birds recorded. It is protected by a covenant and they’ve done a lot of work to restore plants and wildlife including erecting 30 nest boxes. The Ruffs have erected two exclosures designed to keep herbivores out. One of them is in an open grassy area which would be heavily grazed by herbivores such as rabbits and kangaroos, the other exclosure is in a woodland area, less preferable to herbivores. They are part of a long term monitoring project to compare the browsing behaviours between each of these landscapes. The main vegetation type on the property is Box Ironbark Forest with areas of nationally threatened grassy woodland. The property received funding from the Australian Government through the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority to manage the woodlands. Mistletoe has challenged the native trees, killing them in fact. So it was surprising when a mistletoe expert told people at a field day held on the property that the mistletoe plant benefits biodiversity. Professor Dave Watson from Charles Sturt University says we need to understand the whole landscape to understand why mistletoe becomes a problem. There is much evidence about the biodiversity benefits of mistletoes and the fact that Mistletoe birds and threatened Painted Honeyeaters rely on it as a food source. However trees on the Ruff property - particularly the Ironbarks - are being killed by mistletoe because there’s an imbalance. The landscape is recovering and the environment has changed, fire frequency has changed and many of the remaining trees were used as sheep camps, increasing nutrients around the trees. This still effects the health of the trees today, so extra pressures such as mistletoe have an added impact.

Solution Professor Watson recommends increasing the shrub layer on the property with plants such as Bursaria sp. to encourage butterflies, to trial some cool burns to kill the lower mistletoes and put up nest boxes specifically for the Common Brush Tail Possums and if there is more mistletoe in a tree than eucalypt remove the mistletoe to prolong tree life. But Professor Watson warns the mistletoe will be back! Manfred Ruff, owner and covenantor.

Mistletoe does have predators, one of the main ones being Common Brush Tail Possums, which love the sweet and juicy leaves. However the Brush Tail Possum population hasn’t recovered from recent culling history, (contrary to over population in some urban areas). Butterflies are also predators - the Imperial White Butterfly lays its eggs on mistletoe and the voracious caterpillars reduce mistletoe growth.

For more information about projects in the Goulburn Broken region contact Shelagh Curmi (03) 8631 5888 or


Regional Updates



ROBYN EDWARDS Area Manager A patch of Red Gum Woodlands protected by a conservation covenant on Shaun and Maria Beasley’s farm where restoration works are occurring.

Farmers restore iconic Red Gum woodlands

happening on his covenant and values his woodlands and shelterbelts for the shade and shelter they provide. Stock are allowed into the covenanted areas for shelter at lambing time and when sheep have been shorn A strong partnership has been forged between local during severe weather. He said, “Protecting and farmers and Trust for Nature to restore the nationally establishing native vegetation is an important part of endangered Red Gum Woodlands on the Gippsland my farm management. The gains are great, sheep Plains. production has increased and lambing losses have definitely reduced.” Trust for Nature has been working with local farmers and landholders to fence, control weeds, Trust for Nature’s Area Manager, Robyn Edwards, said reintroduce missing native plants, carry out it’s been exciting to work with landholders to look after ecological burns and trial ground cover restoration the area’s beautiful Red Gums: “Restoring the health of methods. We initially began working with our woodlands and reducing dieback of Red Gums landholders to secure threatened vegetation also improves landscape and tourism values of the communities on the Gippsland Plains by Plains. Large old Red Gums are a majestic sight across establishing protective covenants. the landscape and are valued by the community and visitors to our region.” With over 3,000 hectares of freehold land now protected by covenants on the Gippsland Plains, the These activities have been supported by funding from next step was to start the long restoration process in the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity Onground order to improve the health of the woodlands. Action funding stream and the National Landcare Sheep producer, Shaun Beasley, has works Program’s Restoring Red Gum Woodlands project.


For more information about projects in the East Gippsland region contact Robyn Edwards (03) 8631 5888 or

Regional Updates

July 2018




Neds Corner Station Manager Neds Corner could fight species extinction Trust for Nature’s flagship reserve, Neds Corner Station in north-west Victoria, continues to go from strength to strength thanks to the support of government, corporate and private philanthropic partners. Once a part of the formidable Kidman Pastoral Company empire, Neds is now home to almost 1,000 species of plants, animals, insects and fungi. As a result, the sprawling 30,000 hectare reserve is fast becoming an exciting example of environmental rehabilitation best practice and a great source of pride for Trust for Nature staff and supporters. Since Trust for Nature’s purchase of Neds in 2002, there has been remarkable recovery in native vegetation, reduction in plant and animal pests and a discovery by a Bush Blitz program of 21 species and organisms previously unknown to science. A major achievement has been the restoration of a 500 hectare sandhill from an eroded, weed-infested site to a flourishing, diverse habitat, and helping protect significant cultural heritage sites. Thanks to funding from the Yulgilbar Foundation, predator-proof fencing has been upgraded and completed around this 500 hectare site.

This exclosure, referred to as Pine Paddock, is the equivalent of 285 MCG’s and is flanked by a two metre high predator proof fence. As a result of ongoing control efforts and the installation of this physical barrier, Pine Paddock is now close to being a predator free zone. With threats to native wildlife from feral predators now minimised within this exclosure, there is scope to consider re-establishing some of the mammals and birds which once lived on Neds. Beyond Pine Paddock, the goal over the next few years is to consolidate the remnant patches of habitat that are being rehabilitated across Neds Corner into extensive, healthy and diverse ecosystems. The Trust’s past efforts have resulted in significant increases in the recovery and/or colonisation of the property by many species of threatened animals and plants. With philanthropic support we can continue to build on the gains that have been made. We know that it is feasible to restore this landscape at a scale which is meaningful to the future of its inhabitants and conservation in general.

For more information about projects in the Mallee region contact Greg Ogle (03) 8631 5888 or

The predator proof fence on Neds Corner.


Regional Updates




Regional Manager Oldfields continue legacy of conservation Malleefowl.

It’s heart warming that a region of Victoria that had some of the highest levels of historic vegetation removal and some of the lowest levels of remaining vegetation cover, also has the greatest area under covenants than any other region in the state. The Little Desert in western Victoria’s Wimmera is agricultural heartland and demonstrates how conservation and farming must and do combine and co-exist. Illustrating this point is the 5,438 hectares under covenant in the area north of and adjacent to the Little Desert National Park. This means they will be protected forever, even if the properties change hands. The Oldfield family was at the forefront of championing conservation in the area, at a time when it was far from fashionable. One of the covenants that make up this enormous protected area is the original Oldfield covenant. It and two other adjacent covenants support the endangered Malleefowl, which was the cornerstone of early efforts to protect habitat surrounding the Little Desert. This was just the 189th covenant that Trust for Nature placed (it now has more than 1400).


The late John and Merilyn Oldfield were ahead of their time, supporting the move to gazette the Little Desert National Park when there was a major push to see it zoned as farmland. The Oldfields were rightly proud that they had protected one of the few sanctuaries remaining for the Malleefowl. Over time others followed suit and the township of Nhill grew to be proud of its status as the home of the Malleefowl. Other notables were also doing their bit towards the conservation effort, among them Whimpey Reichelt and Clive Crouch. There are now several locations where the species habitat is protected by covenants and where monitoring and management occurs. John and Merilyn Oldfield were Trust for Nature supporters and covenantors and left a proud legacy for conservation which has been built upon by their daughter Jane and her siblings. We applaud their decision to protect a further 495 hectares of habitat, making this the most recent contribution to nature conservation in the Little Desert area of the Wimmera.

For more information about projects in the South West contact Adam Blake (03) 8631 5888 or

Regional Updates

July 2018



CHRIS LINDORFF Regional Manager

Natives make a remarkable comeback After 40 years under pines, a section of a reserve near Ballarat is bouncing back to its former glory, increasing habitat for threatened birds. The woodland reclamation project at Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary in Linton is a great example of how resilient nature is. The 535-hectare Sanctuary was originally generously donated to Trust for Nature, BirdLife Australia, and Parks Victoria by Gordon Clarke. Fifty hectares of the Sanctuary was a pine plantation established in the 1960s and harvested in 2015. After it was cleared, pine seedlings threatened to revert the site to a plantation; however since native woodland also surrounds the site eucalypts, shrubs, sedges and grasses were also happily colonising the area with no encouragement.

What to do about the pine seedlings? The older they got, the more expensive it would be to remove them. The solution was labour intensive but simple: brush cutters. Cutting the pines off at ground level stopped them from sprouting. It was delicate work as the contractors manoeuvred around young native trees, including eucalypts and wattles. The work was possible thanks to a grant from the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity On-ground Action program which enabled Trust for Nature to employ local contractors who specialised in plantation management. The technique has been extremely successful and the site is returning to its former glory days when it was home to threatened birds including Painted Honeyeater, Powerful Owl, Spotted Quail-thrush, Black-eared Cuckoo, Diamond Firetail, and Grey Goshawk (white morph) which live in the rest of the Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary.

Tips for rehabilitating a former pine plantation • Control emerging woody weeds before they are large, expensive and difficult to treat. • Encourage and support the natural regeneration of native plants back onto a cleared site. These plants will often be stronger and grow faster than plants grown in the nursery. • Be patient… the recovery of a site is progressive

and can be slow; species richness and individual species abundance change over time, especially as tree canopies form and soil moisture and nutrient levels change. • Collect seed for propagation close to the revegetation site if possible. Local species are well adapted to the local soil type and climate, and will stand a greater chance of living and thriving.

For more information about projects in the Corangamite region contact Chris Lindorff (03) 8631 5888 or

Pine graveyard. Cutting pines off close to ground level stopped them sprouting.


Regional Updates




Regional Manager Covenantors get help with land management and traditional knowledge Property owners who have protective covenants on their land are benefiting from a unique land management program that not only helps control weeds and pests but also gives them cultural knowledge. The Conservation and Land Management Program trains Traditional Owners from Bunurong and Wurundjeri in the classroom and in the field. The course is run through Holmesglen TAFE on the Mornington Peninsula in partnership with 10 Trust for Nature covenantors.

“Those that have the capacity and resources to get out there and do something about the health of the country should, because I really believe this relates to the health of the community as well.” Bill Nicholson Junior, Traditional Owner.

In total the properties cover 100 hectares and are important habitat for a number of threatened species and vegetation communities, including Leafy Greenhood, Common Dunnart, Swamp Skink, Powerful Owl, Australasian Bittern, Swamp Scrub and Coastal Moonah Woodland. We’re focusing on controlling the larger weed issues such as Sweet Pittosporum, Blackberry and Boneseed which will increase native habitat for the wildlife. It’s a great example of two-way learning: landholders, teachers and Trust for Nature staff learn the traditional knowledge while Traditional Owners can learn about practical land care techniques such as flora identification and threatened species. It also provides employment for the Traditional Owners in their local area. Trust for Nature’s Ben Cullen said the training is very enriching for everyone involved: “It’s a really new concept where we can help landholders manage their properties and hear from Traditional Owners about their cultural knowledge while the Traditional Owners are receiving training and employment.” The program is made possible through funding from the State Government and is supported by Trust for Nature, the Bunurong Land Council, the Wurundjeri Tribal Land Council and the Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority.

For more information about projects in the Port Phillip and Westernport regions contact Ben Cullen (03) 8631 5888 or 10

The unique land management program helps manage land and shares cultural knowledge with land holders.

Regional Updates

July 2018




Regional Manager Going underground There are quite a few creatures that are more comfortable below the ground than above that we’re quite concerned about. They are the Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act listed as ‘Vulnerable’; Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act [FFG] listed); Warragul Burrowing Crayfish (FFG listed); Strzelecki Burrowing Crayfish (FFG listed); and the Narracan Burrowing Crayfish (FFG listed). West Gippsland is a special place for them, because these species are not found anywhere else. Habitat loss and selective habitat requirements have limited the distribution of the four species to West Gippsland, we still have a lot to learn about them. Trust for Nature facilitated a project that helped land managers identify and learn how to improve habitat for these threatened invertebrates. Crayfish expert Dr Beverley Van Praagh showed land managers how to assess their sites to find suitable habitat for each of the burrowing crayfish species and look for evidence of them. Mud chimneys are an indicator of their presence and when they were spotted, follow-up surveys were done. It was encouraging to find evidence of the Strzelecki Burrowing Crayfish, the Narracan Burrowing Crayfish and the Giant Gippsland Earthworm at sites not previously identified. Project participants included the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Hancock Victorian Plantations; Gippsland Water; West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority; and the Latrobe Valley Landcare Network. Private landholders who have put protective covenants on their properties or who are interested in putting covenants on also learnt more about identifying and protecting habitat for these underground invertebrates. The project was supported by the Victorian State Government’s Biodiversity On-ground Action program and Trust for Nature looks forward to finding support to continue this project on its reserves and on land under covenants and on the land of other private landholders who are interested in protecting it with covenants.

For more information about projects in West Gippsland region contact John Hick (03) 8631 5888 or Juvenile Narracan Burrowing Crayfish. Courtesy Dr Beverley Van Praagh.

Australia has 142 species of crayfish; five groups are native to Victoria: Burrowing Crayfish, Swamp Crayfish, Spiny Crayfish and Smooth Yabbies. Tips for looking after crayfish habitat • Fence and revegetate waterways • Don’t disturb soil or alter draining patterns (don’t drain or flood habitat), protect existing seepages and floodplain areas • Permanently protect habitat on your property by partnering with Trust for Nature and entering into a protective covenant. For more information go to: and


Regional Updates



DEANNA MARSHALL Area Manager Restoring grassy ecosystems If you’ve ever stood under a whispering old Buloke tree, you’ll know how special they are. They used to be widespread in the north central Victorian region; now due to land clearing the Buloke Woodland community is listed as nationally threatened. Bringing them back to the landscape has been part of a five-year Remnant Grassy Ecosystem project based in north central Victoria. It was carried out by Trust for Nature in partnership with covenantors, landholders and the North Central Catchment Management Authority. The project revegetated over 115 hectares of Buloke woodland using a combination of direct seeding and planting of tube stock. The region is arid, making site preparation really important, in this instance controlling rabbits, using herbivore proof guards, fencing to exclude stock and drip irrigation on tube stock planting was the key. Many of the Buloke and native Murray Pine (White Cypress pine) that were planted are now up to one metre high and the acacias are flowering again this winter, showering the area with seed over the next few years. With no grazing from rabbits and livestock, there is a good chance these Buloke and Murray pines will live the hundreds of years they’re expected to. This project is supported by the North Central Catchment Management Authority through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Tips on revegetating arid areas with seedlings • Plant the seedling in a basin 10 to 20 cm below soil surface level. • Have at least 30 cm of loose soil beneath the seedling to allow rapid root penetration. • Have adequate moisture to allow fast root establishment. • Protect the seedlings from all herbivores with fencing or tree guards. • Control weeds around the seedling to reduce competition for moisture. • If you’re direct seeding native species, try to use experienced operators and do it by the book.

For more information about projects in the North West region contact Deanna Marshall (03) 8631 5888 or 12

Trust for Nature’s Greg Ogle with planted Murray Pine in the Repper Buloke Woodland revegetation site. Kirsten and a landowner out in the field.

Regional Updates

July 2018




Conservation Officer Looking after threatened coastal habitat

Austral Trefoil, native to Glenelg Hopkins region.

Three more properties have been protected forever with a Trust for Nature conservation covenant in an area that’s under increasing development and urbanisation in south west Victoria.

endangered Swamp Scrub habitat within the Warrnambool Plain region, coastal bushland adjacent with the Discovery Bay Coastal Park, and estuarine habitat at the mouth of the Fitzroy River.

Increased pressures such as agricultural development and subdivision on areas along the south west coast are making natural habitat highly susceptible to degradation and fragmentation.

The covenanted properties cover 142 hectares, two of them are west of Portland and are adjacent to protected areas, linking critical habitat.

Trust for Nature worked with the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority on a National Landcare project called Coastal Connections to look after the nationally vulnerable Swamp Greenhood, the

The project addressed large areas of land identified as priority areas by Trust for Nature’s Statewide Conservation Plan. The Plan outlines the approach we take to conservation across Victoria to ensure our efforts are strategic and have maximum benefit.

For more information about projects in the Glenelg-Hopkins region contact Adam Merrick (03) 8631 5888 or


Our covenantors



OUR COVENANTORS Louise Nicholas and Michael Gooch. 14

Our covenantors

July 2018

LOUISE AND MICHAEL value them and be interested in protecting them, whether they’re in a rural or urban area.”

Louise Nicholas and Michael Gooch bought a property in Clunes, Central Victoria, as a camping spot with money they’d originally intended as a deposit for a home. Little did they know it would spark an obsession for conservation and wildlife.

They put a protective covenant on the property because they wanted it protected forever. Michael said they wanted the place to be looked after, regardless of changing policy. They don’t have children to pass the property onto and putting a covenant on it ensures it will be protected.

“We were complete novices when we first bought the place. When we saw the bark peeling from the wattle trees, we thought they’d been burnt by bushfires rather than it being the end of their natural lifecycle - we really didn’t know much,” Louise said.

Louise said, “Trust for Nature really helped us learn about the different species on the block. Having a management plan mapped everything and made it easy to know what to do and how to do it over next 10 years.”

Despite their lack of knowledge they admit to being incredibly fortunate to buy land that had very few weeds and an abundance of native plants. The property has mature gum trees and a healthy understorey, which they think explains why it ‘just felt right’ when they bought it.

Putting a covenant on a property isn’t cheap - it can cost upwards of $30,000, including land management. However Trust for Nature generally doesn’t pass those costs onto landholders.

Michael said, “When Trust for Nature came out onto the block they said if we were lucky we might see three very rare bird species on it: the Swift Parrot, Diamond Firetail and Square-tailed Kite. We’ve seen all three now, it’s amazing. We bought our first pair of binoculars and we turned into obsessive birders.” This led to them publishing a website called Outside Four Walls, and setting up a Facebook and Instagram account so they can share what they see. Louise said, “We get a lot out of sharing the information. The more people understand plants and animals the more they will


Ten years ago they didn’t know a finch from a honeyeater, now they’re self confessed nature nerds who blog and post about the amazing plants and animals on their property.

Conservation on private land is our first priority, not whether a landholder can afford it or not. And it’s just as well. Louise and Michael said they would never have considered protecting the land if there was not a scheme to support their desire to permanently protect. They’ve since bought another block in the Mallee with the intention to put a covenant on it and use it to run an eco tourism business. Louise said, “The first day we were on it, we saw a Malleefowl!” And so their obsession for conservation and wildlife continues.





STEWARDSHIP Fencing a small area off from the rest of the site gives you insight about the impacts of grazing.

There are many landholders protecting their properties with covenants each year. Perhaps you’re one of them and you’d like to know how to take the next step in conservation. Initial observation and recording is the key to becoming even more familiar with your land. Here are some of the things you can do to compare changes over time. • Look closely at the different aspects of the property, take notes and photos. • Pick a couple of sites to examine the plants and birds in detail. Mark the sites with a peg or ribbon on a tree so you know where they are. Take photos from different directions at these spots to compare changes over the years. • Look from the top down – are the tree tops healthy? Are there dead or dying branches? Are there bird nests or hollows? Are there trees that are weeds? 16

• Look at the tree trunks, are there signs of rubbing? Browsing or rubbing on trees can indicate deer, kangaroos or wallabies. • Look at the understory – are there many plants? Are there any you are not familiar with? Which ones are in flower? Are there any pollinators on the flowers such as bees, wasps, beetles and flies? Do you see any weeds at this level? • Look at the ground, are there any smaller plant and grasses, do you know their names? Is there bare soil – an important part of some vegetation is called soil crust. How much plant and leaf litter is on the ground? Are the grasses and herbs grazed down to small stubs? Are there small birds looking for insects? Are there any signs of pests such as rabbits? • Know your conservation management plan and work towards improving the environment. Enjoy the journey. For more information, contact your local Trust for Nature conservation officer.

Conservation Science

July 2018



In Victoria, feral cats are considered responsible for the extinction or decline of many species of wildlife, including species identified by Trust for Nature as priorities for conservation on private land such as the Southern Brown Bandicoot, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Striped Legless Lizard and Rufous Bristlebird.

funding from the Yulgilbar Foundation, we have just completed predator-proofing a 500 hectare exclosure of saltbush plain and woodland to enable the potential reintroduction of mammal and bird species which used to live there.

The Threatened Species Strategy released by the Australian Government in 2015 lists control of feral cats as a key action to help conserve Australia’s most threatened fauna species, with estimates that nearly three million feral cats live in Australia, with estimates that nearly three million feral cats live in Australia.

Focusing on responsible pet ownership

Providing safe places for wildlife The Threatened Species Strategy recommends establishing safe havens for wildlife. Trust for Nature’s conservation covenants and reserves are exactly this – nearly 1500 safe havens across Victoria, covering 100,000 hectares where cats, generally aren’t allowed under the terms of the covenant deed. Trust for Nature also reduces the threats of feral cats on covenants and reserves. At Neds Corner Station, with


Feral cats are considered to have caused the global extinction of 22 endemic mammals and the serious decline of a further 75 threatened or near-threatened mammals across Australia.

In partnership with local groups, local governments and other conservation agencies we are encouraging responsible domestic cat ownership and control of feral cats. Working with BEAM Mitchell Environment Group and the Shire of Mitchell we coordinated a project to control feral cats on covenanted properties around Broadford in central Victoria, to conserve the Brush-tailed Phascogale. Some of our regional offices can also provide cat cages to covenantors who want to control feral cats. Recently, the Trust made a submission to the Victorian Government’s community consultation process on the proposal to declare feral cats as a pest animal on some categories of public land in Victoria.

Tips to keep your cat away from wildlife (thanks to BirdLife Australia) • Keep cats indoors and/or create a cat-proof outdoor enclosure. Special cat netting on fences and walls can also stop cats escaping. At the very least keep cats indoors at night. • Provide refuge in the yard for birds and reptiles. Chicken wire, logs or fenced off garden beds can keep pets away from bird habitat. • Dense plantings of natives provide good hiding spots for small birds. • Deter neighbouring cats with a spray of water from a water bottle – a gentle deterrent.

Brush-tailed Phascogales have suffered at the claws of cats. Courtesy Chris Tzaros.




There’s nothing like peering over the fence to see what’s going on and how conservation is done somewhere else. Spring into Nature is your chance to do this. We are currently finalising pulling together an exciting calendar of events for Spring into Nature planned for September - November. Stay tuned to the events page on our website or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

EVENTS Blue Flax Lilly. 18


July 2018


TO LIVE ON AT WRITER’S FESTIVAL A dedication to John Clarke will be a highlight at this year’s opening of the Phillip Island Literary Festival on Friday July 27.


John passed away on April 9 in 2017 and was a much-loved and part-time resident of Phillip Island, an avid conservationist and a great supporter of Trust for Nature. In honour of John’s love of birds and nature in general, the Dedication will feature guest speaker Professor Tim Flannery, internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist. John Clarke at Phillip Island in 2013.

Find out more:


IN CONSERVATION The 7th Celebrating Women in Conservation Breakfast was held on Thursday 1 March, 2018 in recognition of International Women’s Day. The annual event was jointly hosted by Trust for Nature and Bush Heritage, and sponsored by NAB, at Federation Square in Melbourne. Attracting 460 guests, it was sold out in advance and was opened by Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Di and featured Trust for Nature and Bush Heritage, with support from NAB, at Federation Square in Melbourne. keynote speaker renowned ecologist, Professor Lesley Hughes, whose research has focused on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. Presentations by environmental industry leaders included: the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio; Victoria Marles, CEO Trust for Nature; Gerard O’Neill, CEO Bush Heritage Australia; and Julie Rynski, Executive General Manager Specialised Banking NAB. The morning was a great opportunity for those interested – professionally or otherwise – in conservation to network with other like-minded people. Planning is already underway for a 2019 event.


Covenanted Properties


Putting a conservation covenant on a property is one of the single most important things a landholder can do to protect plants and animals. It truly gives them a home forever and helps to fight extinction. Properties eligible for covenants can be big or small. They have important plant and animal species or have the potential to support them. Commonly they are in regions that have been identified in Trust For Nature’s Statewide Conservation Plan for Victoria as critical habitat. If you have a property you’d like to protect call us on 1800 999 933. These properties have had covenants placed on them in the last six months.


5.2 HA

12.09 HA


YELLINGBO - Port Phillip & Westernport This property is adjacent to protected habitat on Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve and a proposed covenanted property. It is part of the only known occurrence of Sedge-rich Eucalyptus Camphora Swamp, listed as a threatened community under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Act. It also forms part of the only remaining breeding habitat for the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater.

EMERALD - Port Phillip & Westernport The property lies within a patchwork landscape of residential land, small farms and native bushland. It is next to the Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve, which provides a habitat corridor that partially links Dandenong Ranges National Park with Cardinia Reservoir. Two parcels below the property were purchased by Trust for Nature through the James Land fund and are being covenanted. The property protects the largest known population of the endangered White Star-bush.

WOORI YALLOCK - Port Phillip & Westernport This property is 2km from Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve and has a high quality remnant of Lowland Forest and Riparian Scrub/Swampy Riparian Woodland Complex. It provides important habitat for the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater as well as other threatened species including the Powerful Owl and the rare Green Scentbark and Wiry Bossiaea. The property also contains the head waters of Devils Creek which flows into the Woori Yallock Creek.

Covenanted Properties

The property supports 11.31 hectares of Grassy Forest listed as vulnerable in the bioregion and is within a corridor of private land between two large patches of important protected vegetation; Wombat State Forest and Lerderderg State Park. It contains large old trees which are important habitat for a range of threatened species and an abundance and diversity of orchids and lilies.

MARCUS HILL - Corangamite The conservation area is a very generous and diverse buffer along the Yarram Creek within a landscape that is predominately cleared for farming. The Yarram Creek flows into the Ramsar-listed Swan Bay 3km downstream, making the site an important area of water filtration and habitat corridor. Landowners have planted over 50,000 plants to revegetate the site.

GLENLEE - Wimmera This property is adjacent to a large conservation reserve. Despite the area being predominantly farmland, the property forms part of a local concentration of habitat that includes the reserve, vegetated roadsides and scattered remnants across the district. The Bearded Dragon (classified as vulnerable in the Victorian Flora and Fauna Act) and the Brown Treecreeper (south-eastern subspecies, listed as near threatened under the Vic advisory list) are on the adjacent reserve and the property.

WINIAM EAST - Wimmera This property is in the Lowan Mallee bioregion, forms part of the South West focal landscape and is surrounded to the east and south by Little Desert National Park and by private bushland north west. There is significant cover of native vegetation in the area. Little Desert provides habitat for a number of threatened species including the Bearded Dragon, Malleefowl and Silky Mouse.

HUON CREEK - North East The property is 5km south west of Wodonga CBD. It’s surrounded by a 350ha City of Wodonga municipal reserve that is dominated by EPBC listed Grassy Woodlands. The property is close to increasing urbanisation. The site provides habitat for several bird species listed as threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act including Jacky Winter, Red-capped Robin and Hooded Robin.

11.31 HA

13.78 HA


BULLENGAROOK - Port Phillip & Westernport

July 2018

56.5 HA

495.7 HA

26.79 HA


Covenanted Properties

95.25 HA

PINE GROVE - North Central This property has areas of critically endangered natural grasslands and endangered Buloke Woodlands. It provides an important refuge for many native plants and animals including a suite of threatened species such as the Swift Parrot, Square-tailed Kite, Slender Swainson-pea and Red Swainson-pea. It also has Indigenous cultural heritage including cooking mounds, quartz flints, two scar trees and two marker trees.

279.91 TRINITA - Mallee This covenant protects a large intact remnant that is directly HA


adjacent to the Murray Sunset National Park. The covenant contains large areas of Woorinen Mallee, Chenopod Mallee and Woorinen Sands Mallee and an extensive range of plants and animals including the threatened Hooded Robin, Grey-fronted Honeyeater and Umbrella Wattle. The critically endangered Black-eared Miner and the nationally vulnerable Malleefowl have been recorded in the adjacent Murray Sunset National Park.

16.84 HA

5.08 HA


HILLSIDE - Glenelg Hopkins

This property is in the Central Victorian Uplands bioregion and is surrounded by mixed grazing farmland on the southern and western sides. Runoff from this property feeds into the nearby Hopkins River. The covenant is situated adjacent with the Langi Ghiran State Park and the entire core area straddles Great Dividing Range. An unnamed species of Melaleuca aff. decussata grows on the property.

RAGLAN - Glenelg Hopkins This property is in the Central Victorian Uplands bioregion, on the outskirts of Raglan. It’s surrounded by lifestyle blocks and larger holdings to the north. The property is 10km from important Waterloo, Ban Major and Mt Cole State Forests - which all straddle the Great Dividing Range and are headwaters of the Hopkins River catchment. It supports three regionally significant species, Yarra Gum, St John’s Gum and Snow Gum.

Revolving Fund

July 2018



A special property in West Gippsland will be protected forever thanks to a generous bequest left by the late Lyn Baker. Lyn’s estate provided money for the Trust to purchase land which will be protected with a covenant. Trust for Nature bought Glenmaggie Shores (53 hectares) on 30 June 2015. The Glenmaggie property has nationally threatened Gippsland Red Gum Grassy Woodland and native grasslands. The land is adjacent to Lake Glenmaggie and the Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve. Trust for Nature has been working in partnership with landholders in the area to secure the future of native plants and animals. We have also placed covenants on properties and assisted farmers to manage the habitat of threatened species. This work contributes to a broader project by the local catchment management authority to protect Red Gum Grassy Plains providing revegetation and management support.

You can find more details about Glenmaggie Shores and other Revolving Fund properties for sale on the Trust for Nature website Leaving a bequest for Trust for Nature is a gift that protects nature forever, creating a long term legacy. If you would like to talk to us about leaving a bequest in your will call 1800 999 933.

   For more


Glenmaggie Shores is available for purchase through our Revolving Fund. Proceeds from sales purchase more properties. A condition of the sale is that buyers place a Trust for Nature conservation covenant on the property.

information about TfN’s Revolving Fund, please contact Chris Cook on (03) 8631 5888


Glenmaggie Shores.




Re-establishing native species on Trust for Nature’s Mount Elephant Reserve


Trust for Nature recently held a gathering for representatives from committees of management and friends groups who care for some of Trust for Nature’s reserves across Victoria. Their contributions are amazing - many individuals have been volunteering for more than 25 years and between them the groups have put in more than 300 years of voluntary labour. During the gathering some of the groups spoke about their origins, their work and how much the reserves have changed over time. The Wanderslore Sanctuary at Launching Place was originally infested with blackberries and other weeds but the friends group was so successful in overcoming them since forming in 1993 that their focus is now on a few annual grasses and an exotic moss! Mount Elephant is an ancient volcano in south-west Victoria which had woodland cover of banksias and she-oaks as recently as the 1920s. The volunteer committee is now trying to re-establish these keystone species of the volcanic plains. At Snape Reserve in the


Wimmera, the scale of the rabbit infestation when the land was first acquired by the Trust has been dramatically reduced compared with today. All of these changes were brought about by volunteers. Trust for Nature CEO Victoria Marles said the committees are critical to the management of Trust for Nature’s 36,000 hectares of valuable habitat protected in reserves. She said, “As any landholder will tell you keeping on top of pest animals and weeds is a big job and we couldn’t maintain our reserves without the committees who regularly help with the ongoing land management. Between them, the committees have nearly 100 volunteers. Their knowledge about the local landscape is a huge asset and their links to local communities is fantastic—they welcome visitors to reserves whenever possible.” Groups love to see new volunteers so if you would like the opportunity to participate at a reserve near you check out their working bees and open days


July 2018


40 YEARS OF SERVICE TO NATURE Elizabeth Fraser has been volunteering at Trust for Nature’s Harbury Reserve in Pakenham Upper, for an impressive 40 years. She was also awarded an OAM this year for her services to the community. She said, “I see us as the guardians of the property and one day it will be passed on to other guardians. As a nurse I’d been looking after people for many years and when I retired I decided I wanted to volunteer for the environment. Volunteering is about friendships, physical and mental stimulation, fresh air and exercise. I just love that everyone else is volunteering too and doing it because it’s a passion and not because they have to.”


Congratulations and thank you Elizabeth!

Elizabeth in Harbury.



The 2017 Christmas Appeal was specifically targeted at raising funds to protect and restore our woodlands, grasslands, rainforests and wetlands, so threatened species get their homes back. The support received during this campaign was, and continues to be, critical to the future survival of many of Victoria’s most threatened species, particularly those that rely on habitat on private land. Sadly Victoria’s land is the most privately owned highly altered, cleared, and degraded of all states and territories in Australia, experiencing vegetation loss of more than 4,000 hectares each year. Trust for Nature supporters have again rallied to stem the flow of this habitat loss by raising $64,000 for conservation. Trust for Nature supporters have had a direct impact on our state’s heritage and biodiversity, not only for now, but for future generations, thank you.

SUPPORT Helmeted Honeyeater. 26

July 2018



A morning tea was held in our Melbourne office in May as part of Trust for Nature’s ongoing commitment to inform supporters about our conservation achievements. We hosted 35 supporters, staff and members of the Board to discuss our core business of covenants and stewardship. CEO Vic Marles gave an overview of the growing interest in private land conservation around the world and Conservation Science Manager Stephen Thuan presented on the process of covenanting and stewardship. A highlight of the event was Trust for Nature supporter and covenantor, Barbara Baird, who shared her extraordinary experiences of protecting land through covenant agreements, her love for the bush, of raising possums and fending off destructive trespassers. It was a great chance for everyone to network and discuss the ultimate purpose of Trust for Nature–protecting our most threatened native plants and animals.




In memory of John Clarke, Trust for Nature teamed up with Friends of the ABC to raise funds for conservation work in the Port Phillip and Western Port region. The ABC produced a calendar featuring bird photos that John took and a portion of the sales ($2.50) was donated to our work. John owned with his wife Helen a nature property on Phillip Island that is protected with a covenant. John loved the natural environment and participated in conservation work when he could.

L - R: John’s daughter Lorin and wife Helen; Ben Cullen, Trust for Nature; Peter Monie, Friends of the ABC and Leanne Down from Trust for Nature. Absent: Lucia Clarke.

We are delighted to announce that it raised $12,500. Thank you to everyone who purchased a calendar and donated towards the fund.


Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. - Hellen Keller -

All contributions of $2 and more are tax deductible.

Contact us 5/379 Collins Street - Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia Phone: +61 3 8631 5888 - Freecall: 1800 999 933 (Australia only) Email: ABN: 60 292 993 543

To find out more about how you can help support Trust for Nature or to make a donation towards our rehabilitation work, call Leanne Down 1800 999 933 or visit

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Spotted-Tailed Quoll.

As a not-for-profit organisation, Trust for Nature welcomes public support for its conservation work.

Trust for Nature conservation bulletin issue 68  

If you crave a getaway spot you will relate to the couple on our front cover. Louise and Michael fell in love with a property in Central Vic...

Trust for Nature conservation bulletin issue 68  

If you crave a getaway spot you will relate to the couple on our front cover. Louise and Michael fell in love with a property in Central Vic...