Featured Grants

Impact Area D: Australian Flora & Fauna

Featured Grant: Bush Heritage Australia

Securing Orchids for the Future
$20,000 (2015-18)

Bush Heritage Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that works to preserve biodiversity. In Victoria, the Trust’s support has enabled it to engage with local Indigenous people to eradicate rabbit populations and protect and reintroduce local orchid species in the Kara Kara-Wedderburn area.

“Since this was an exceptionally dry year, with rainfall only one third of the long term average, it was important to keep overall grazing pressure to a minimum to protect the small proportion of orchids that emerged,” says Jeroen van Veen, Bush Heritage’s Victorian Reserves Manager.

The first step to protect threatened orchids, which include the White-Lipped Spider Orchid (Caladenia xanthochila) and the Northern Golden Moth Orchid (Diuris protena), was to eradicate the rabbit populations that had been decimating new orchid growth.

To achieve this, all rabbit havens in the Nardoo Hills and John Colahan Griffin Reserves were treated and the rabbits destroyed. The enterprise arm of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation were contracted to fumigate rabbits on the southeast side of Wedderburn, as the rabbits were directly impacting a nearby population of White-Lipped Spider Orchid.

Despite the period’s low rainfall, plant populations show that the control of grazing threats has provided tangible benefits for most of the threatened orchids at Nardoo Hills and John Colahan Griffin Reserves.

There were other successes during the year too. A substantial population of Robust Greenhood (Pterostylis valida), which is listed as threatened on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, was discovered on a private property near Mt Korong Nature Conservation Reserve. An undescribed species of Leek Orchid found at Nardoo Hills is awaiting taxonomic identification by the Victorian Herbarium and orchid experts to decide if it is a distinct species or a hybrid of other known species. Further rabbit control work was contracted at two private properties at Stuart Mill near St Arnaud, where a population of the threatened Lowly Greenhood (Pterostylis despectans) was under threat from browsing.

“This newly emerged stand of Lowly Greenhoods adds to the few known populations elsewhere in the Kara Kara Range in Central Victoria. Work to control rabbits there is a big contribution to securing the future of this species, which is endemic to Central Victoria,” says Jeroen.

Featured Grant: Catching the Eye

Catching the Eye: Engaging the public through quality wildlife imagery was an extensive image capture project of Victoria’s wildlife successfully carried out by Museum Victoria.
The project aimed to raise the profile and knowledge of Victoria’s rich wildlife and their conservation needs by enabling unrestricted, easy access to hundreds of high quality images of Australian wildlife.

The Trust’s grant enabled Museum Victoria, which cares for Victoria’s scientific and cultural collections, to employ a specialist wildlife photographer to photograph live animals and museum specimens over two years. David Paul captured more than 20,000 images that were developed and edited down to a catalogue of hundreds of high quality images.

David also created a web-interface for people to easily access and download free wildlife imagery. He is currently developing another online image gallery that will enable a wide range of users to search and access images, species names, conservation status, and biological and locality information.

Dr Mark Norman, Head of Sciences at Museum Victoria, says the images have already been shared with Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), and by conservation, education and special interest groups.

“The project has had a huge public benefit. The images are already being used in public talks, publications, and in digital products, including a free wildlife field guide app.” An unexpected benefit of this project was David’s ability to capture images of introduced pests. These images were immediately used in campaigns to identify and eradicate pests to prevent significant impacts of native wildlife.

To view, download and use any of the images please see this link http://mvsciences.pixieset.com/wildlifeimagecaptureproject/




Featured Grant: Norman Wettenhall Foundation. The Small Environmental Grant Scheme

The Norman Wettenhall Foundation is an environmental philanthropic organisation supporting projects that enhance or maintain the vitality and diversity of Australia’s natural living environment.

The partnership was started in 2008 and through it, the Trust is able to utilise the knowledge, expertise and networks of the Norman Wettenhall Foundation to receive and research applications on its behalf, which, in turn also increases the capacity and reach of the Foundation’s existing environmental grants programs.

Wherever possible, the Foundation chooses projects that are innovative, serve as models for future projects, demonstrate collaboration with other groups (particularly community groups), disseminate project outcomes broadly and result in long-term improvement of the natural environment.

During this, the sixth year of the program, 9 grants were awarded, one of which is outlined below;

Wimmera Groups of Australian Plants Birds and Plants of the Little Desert – a photographic guide $7,000

The aim of this publication was to educate people about the flora and avian fauna of the area, provide an educational tool for students of all ages from primary through to university, provide a reference guide for the keen amateur and professionals alike, and promote tourism to the region.

This is the first publication of its kind for the area and includes over 200 birds and 430 plant species with accompanying photos. The grant helps the group keep the sale price of the guide affordable.


Featured Grant: Cardinia Shire Council

Residents of Pakenham, Officer, Upper Beaconsfield and the surrounding area will be able to enjoy a wonderful new recreation reserve following a gift of 47 hectares of pristine bushland to Cardinia Shire Council. Known as the Hillview Bushland Reserve, the land lies between Bathe Road and Carpenters Road and is bisected by Officer Road.

The Ross Trust, through its subsidiary Hillview Quarries, has donated the area – the equivalent size to 25 MCG’s – to protect local flora and fauna and for the recreational use of the community.
The land has important environmental conservation values and is now permanently protected by a Trust for Nature conservation covenant.

Cardinia Shire Council Mayor Cr Brett Owen said the land handover was a generous gesture. “This area will become a wonderful asset for bushwalkers and bird watchers,” Cr Owen said.

Mrs Eda Ritchie, Chairman of the Ross Trust and a director of Hillview Quarries, said the company recognised the important conservation values of the area and the value of protecting it for the future.

Hillview Quarries originally purchased the land in the 1980s to expand the company’s quarrying interests. However the land was found to be surplus to its commercial interests, so the Trust requested Hillview set aside the 47 hectares for a reserve which the Cardinia Shire now owns on behalf of the community. An adjacent seven hectares was subdivided into nine large residential blocks. These residential blocks, running off Bathe and Leppitt roads, are for sale and the proceeds will enable more charitable grants throughout Victoria.

Cr Owen said the gift of the reserve was an example of how business, local government and philanthropy can work together for the lasting benefit of the local community.