About us

Protecting biodiversity on private land across Victoria

Trust for Nature

Our vision is that Victoria’s most threatened native plants and wildlife are conserved for future generations.

Our mission is to work collaboratively to protect nature on private land forever.

Our Patron is Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria.

Trust for Nature is one of Australia’s oldest conservation organisations.

Our goal is to protect and restore places in Victoria where wildlife and native plants can thrive.

We do this for the benefit of future generations by working now with private landholders, volunteers, government agencies and others with similar vision.

Over the last 45 years, we have secured 100,000 hectares of habitat on private land forever – places that are home to some of our rarest species such as the Helmeted Honeyeater, Victoria’s critically endangered bird emblem.

We were established in 1972 through the Victorian Conservation Trust Act. This enabled people to contribute permanently to nature conservation by donating land or money to a not-for-profit organisation with a specific focus on private land.

In 1978, Trust for Nature developed ‘on title agreements’ known as conservation covenants as a way to protect native plants and wildlife. These legally binding agreements allow private landowners to conserve natural habitat on their properties in perpetuity. This is a unique power that Trust for Nature holds in Victoria.

Since then, we have negotiated more than 1,380 covenants and so protected more than 62,000 hectares.

In addition, government funding and public donations have enabled Trust for Nature to purchase more than 40 properties which we have converted to conservation reserves covering more than 35,000 hectares.

Among them are the iconic Neds Corner Station, once part of the Kidman cattle empire. This beautiful place in the Mallee is Victoria’s largest private conservation property.

Meanwhile, our innovative Revolving Fund has allowed us to purchase and protect more than 60 properties rich in native habitat. We sell these on to conservation-minded buyers, and recycle the money back into the Revolving Fund to purchase more properties.

Finally, there is the on-the-ground work of our regional teams. They are engaged in communities across Victoria, taking practical action to care for and nurture nature.

Together, we can and will make a difference to Victoria’s natural environment.


For you, for your family, for future generations, for the world

The wonder of nature, and everything nature has to offer, has been given to us as a gift. The reality is that nature supports our human existence in all aspects from food production and water quality, to health and well-being.

Each one of us is responsible for taking care and looking after the natural wonders of Victoria — from rainforests to deserts, coasts to mountains.

In the face of climate change and continued vegetation loss, Trust for Nature’s role is increasingly important in preserving Victoria’s remaining native habitat. This is critical in a state where two-thirds of the land is privately owned, the highest proportion anywhere in Australia.

Only by joining hands in partnership will we be able to maintain and protect these wonders forever. It is your help that will enable us to protect Victoria’s habitat forever.

Our goals

As Victoria’s dedicated private land conservation body our key focus is on achieving strategic conservation with partners – this sits at the centre of what we do. Five supporting focus areas provide the foundation and enabling actions to achieve strategic conservation: conservation innovation and leadership, engagement for greater outcomes, sustainable finance, our people and strong corporate capability.

To achieve the ambitious goals in this Strategic Plan we need to find new ways of achieving conservation at scale, such as by working with large institutional landowners, and engaging with a whole-of-government approach that supports private land conservation.

Our key initiatives and directions for the next five years include:

  • Significantly scaling up Victoria’s Revolving Fund
  • Increasing focus on large strategic conservation partnership projects
  • New ways of protecting via influencing large institutional landowners in their practices
  • Approaching conservation finance in new ways
  • Increasing support of landowners with covenanted properties
  • Developing our capacity to engage with and support sustainable agriculture
  • Building our major donor program
  • Strengthening our relationships with Traditional Owners
  • Continuing efforts to mainstream private land conservation.




Why protecting private land is important

Nature is a constant in our lives. It has its own intrinsic value, and underpins human existence by supporting everything from food production and water quality to health and identity. Nature requires a base level of biological diversity, yet worldwide there has been a dramatic loss of this diversity that threatens nature’s ability to function.

Of all states and territories in Australia, Victoria is the state where private land conservation is arguably the most important. Victoria has the highest proportion of private land of any state and territory, and native vegetation on private land in Victoria continues to be lost every year. In the face of climate change and continued native habitat loss, Trust for Nature’s role is increasingly important in preserving Victoria’s remaining native habitat.

Trust for Nature staff
Photo: Annette Ruzicka

Our people

Trust for Nature’s staff and Trustees are a diverse and skilled team of people. We employ over 50 staff across Victoria, who work in science, field work, strategy, fundraising, communications, law, operations, finance, and administration. Our Board of Trustees bring a wealth of expertise to the strategic direction of our organisation, from business and scientific strategy to communications and marketing.

From our main office in Melbourne, to the rainforests in East Gippsland, to the ochre landscapes of the Mallee - Trust for Nature’s staff and trustees are out there every day protecting Victoria’s biodiversity.


Our partners

We work with government, businesses, not-for-profits and community organisations of all types to achieve shared conservation goals. These range from government and philanthropic grants for projects, to collaborative strategies with community organisations.

If you’d like to explore partnership opportunities with us, please get in touch.

Registered not-for-profit

ACNC Registered Charity

Trust for Nature is a registered charity with the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. All donations to us of $2 and over a tax-deductible. If you’d like to discuss supporting our work, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!