By Mel Barker, Biosphere Foundation CEO
Since the October Connector newsletter we’ve been very busy at the Foundation, and I’m proud that the hard work of the team is resulting in sustained growth in project delivery, deeper connections and partnerships across the Reserve and great outcomes for the environment. I enjoyed taking a break over the festive season so I could take a step back to reflect on the Foundation’s achievements and successes during 2022 and have come back refreshed and recharged to kickstart 2023.
As you’ll read about in the updates from the team, we have been successful in leveraging significant investment in both on-ground and applied research projects, as well as leading programs to raise awareness about the international significance of the Reserve. We are also continuing our advocacy work on key issues for the Reserve, including partnering with other key organisations to drive the development of a strategic framework for Western Port. Momentum and support continues to build and I encourage you to support the development of a framework which would drive scientific and effective decision making to ensure the sustainability of the Bay actforwesternportbay.au.
During the last few months of 2022, I met with a number of our partners to hear more about some of the projects underway throughout the Reserve and their perspectives about the issues and priorities that need to be addressed. This included a visit to the ‘heart’ of the Biosphere, French Island, with our partner Councils and Bass Coast Landcare. French Island has recently been identified as one of Australia’s Top 20 ‘priority places’ under the Commonwealth Government’s Threatened Species Action Plan, so it was great to hear from the French Islanders about how the projects funded by the Biosphere Foundation are supporting the biodiversity of the Island. Thanks to Landcare, I got to explore Greens Bush Nature Conservation Reserve in the company of local experts Gidja Walker, Virginia and Mark from Local Habitat and the Parks Victoria ranger, Kim. Their bush knowledge is phenomenal and gave me a deeper appreciation of the Reserve and the hidden gems that their trained eyes can easily spot!
The Biosphere Foundation funded a visit by the intrepid scientist Milly Formby who is a flying around Australia in a microlight to raise awareness of migratory birds. She even took Costa Georgiadis, the host of Gardening Australia for an aerial view of Western Port. Check out our Facebook page to watch it.
At the recent Western Port and Peninsula Protection Council’s AGM, the guest speaker Catherine Watson presented on the biodiversity and threatened species being discovered in the Western Port Woodlands along the eastern side of Western Port. If you’re looking to get out and about in this beautiful weather to explore some little-known conservation reserves in the Biosphere, I encourage you to sign up to their newsletter as they regularly run walks in the Western Port Woodlands https://www.savewesternportwoodlands.org/.
Even though we’re only at the start of 2023, it’s already shaping up to surpass 2022 for the Foundation. I look forward to sharing details about our new projects soon!