Presidents letter

Published 07/09/16

IFFA has been very active this year but organisational problems have interrupted some things, including Indigenotes. Sorry you’ve had to wait since March for this issue. Big thanks to Amanda Dodd for taking on the job of emergency editor, on top of her many other roles in IFFA. 

The committee has got over the recent hurdles and is powering ahead. However, to maintain the pace, we need several people to fill committee positions that will be vacated at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 1st October 2016. 

If you are at all open to joining the committee, please contact me or anyone else on the committee (contact details on p10). You don’t have to attend the AGM to be voted into office but it would be helpful to fill in a nomination form by 23rd September 2016. 

The AGM will be during IFFA’s Little Desert camp, based at Dimboola on 30th September to 2nd October – see below. I and others who went to previous IFFA camps (back in the 1980s and early 90s) are really looking forward to the camp. The theme is ‘Connecting People with Nature’ and I am sure that anyone who goes will feel more connected with nature. It’s also socially enjoyable and fulfilling to rub shoulders with like-minded people who, when we pool our experiences, have a huge breadth and depth of knowledge about nature. I’m particularly keen to learn from the local Aboriginal people of the Barengi Gadjin Land Council, who will be at the camp. 

There were two prior IFFA excursions in 2016. The first was in March to see how Bush Stone-curlews are being bred and protected in a sanctuary in Lockwood, near Bendigo. Thanks to the mid-Loddon Sub-Catchment Management Group for hosting us, and for their impressive conservation efforts. The second excursion was hosted by Australian Ecosystems Pty Ltd in April, when we were given a very informative tour of their wholesale nursery in Bangholme, on Melbourne’s southeastern fringe. Growing indigenous plants has come a long way since its infancy in the mid-1980s! 

The IFFA committee is keen to foster networking, training and other support for indigenous nurseries. The person to contact to become more involved is IFFA’s Indigenous Nurseries Liaison Officer, Naomie Sunner: nurseries@iffa.org.au or phone 0415 941 629. 

We are also working on establishing a network of career bushland managers. Following a meeting of interested people in April, an on-line survey is seeking guidance about the aims and functions of the new network – see p8. 

To become involved, contact John Loschiavo: bushlandmanagementvictoria@gmailcom or 0439 658 742. 

IFFA put a lot of work into submissions about two Victorian government reviews concerning nature conservation. The first was about how planning schemes regulate removal of native vegetation and seek to provide compensation. The second was in response to the Victorian government’s draft biodiversity strategy, called ‘Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2036’. For the first time, the government is recognising in policy that contact with nature in people’s daily lives is important for health, wellbeing and quality of life. These things are at the core of IFFA’s existence but the draft strategy proposes to focus conservation efforts far from population centres, where very few people will be connected in their daily lives. Sadly, the importance of contact with nature has been entirely overlooked in the government’s concurrent review of the native vegetation planning controls. Look for IFFA’s submissions at http://www.iffa.org.au. ;

The IFFA committee has also been busy with strategic planning for the organisation’s future. This process builds upon a previous review and the ‘speed planning’ session at last November’s AGM. You can read about the directions the committee has planned by downloading the document from http://www.iffa.org.au. ;

– Dr Graeme Lorimer