Annual General Meeting 2022
Project Platypus AGM held last Friday
Project Platypus held its Annual General Meeting on October 21st at the Stawell office. It was a very social and enjoyable night, with representatives there from most of our local landcares, as well as from the local CMA. You can read the Annual Report here.
We welcomed two new board members to the team, representing Jallukar and Halls Gap Landcares: Welcome to Margot Galletly, and Jeff Parson! We also said farewell to two of our hard-working board members: Ange Turrell and Jess Gardner are stepping down due to work commitments. Jess has been a very active contributor well-networked in the Landcare community and revegetation organisations through her position with Greening Australia. Ange took the lead role in the development of Project Platypus 2022-2024 Strategic Plan. We all thank them both for their contributions and desire to continue to support Project Platypus!
During the AGM, our board chair, Clive Carlyle gave us a summary of the year’s activities, with some of the highlights including:
Towards returning platypus to Mt Cole creek
Clive shared a clipping from a 1999 Project Platypus newsletter which described finding 8 platypus living in the Mt Cole creek during a survey, giving us inspiration that the creek’s ability to support this beloved species is not such a distant dream!
To help us get back to that state, $100,000 has just been secured by Project Platypus through the Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program to support restoration works along Mt Cole Creek, with an aim to improve habitat for native fish such as the vulnerable Southern Pygmy Perch. This work will build upon the habitat improvement work of the Crowlands/Warrak landcare group and lay stepping stones towards our ultimate goal of returning the Platypus to its former homelands in Mt Cole Creek.
Habitat creation for native species
About 20,000 trees were planted this year, including two key sites covering about 20 hectares between Stawell and Halls Gap that provide refuges for local populations of threatened Powerful Owls and Southern Brown Bandicoots.
Other progress included outreach towards local schools, upskilling workshops for our local landcarers, and the formation of a new landcare group in Halls Gap. You can find a full summary of activities in the Annual Report which is now on the Project Platypus website here.
After the AGM concluded, our guest speaker for the night was the CEO of local non profit ODONATA, Sam Marwood, who shared with us their vision of Australia’s future.
ODONATA’s vision is that by 2050, Australia’s once threatened species are thriving “outside the fence” in healthy, productive landscapes. Sam explained how their organization explores business models that can promote biodiversity, such as at the extremely innovative Tiverton Farm Sanctuary – a 1,000ha working Merino sheep farm that specializes in producing super-fine wool from sheep fed on native grass pastures, and also happens to be home to a population of threatened Eastern Barred Bandicoots.
ODONATA’s goal is to create a network of strategically placed sanctuaries, focusing on species most in need of protection from predation by invasive foxes and cats. But the motivation for this sanctuary network is not the creation of long term “zoos,” but rather the build up of healthy populations of native species all across the landscape, safe against predators for now, but ready to breach the fences and reclaim the wider landscape, as soon as we can find a breakthrough in predator control.
After Sam’s presentation, we all enjoyed a delicious home cooked roast meal, with thanks to our manager Alistair, and the conversations ran late into the night. Thank you to everyone who joined!