Celebrating habitat forever
The role of private landowners in protecting Victoria's environment was celebrated at an event in Bellbrae on 22 November.
Certificates of appreciation were presented to people who have saved native habitat for wildlife by placing Trust for Nature conservation covenants on their property titles.
These covenants, backed by Victorian law, provide protection forever.
Among those present were a group of Bellbrae neighbours who have combined to protect 20 hectares of bushland behind their properties, safeguarding it from development.
Trust for Nature CEO Victoria Marles thanked everyone at the event for their commitment to conservation.
"Conservation covenants are a wonderful way to leave a legacy for future generations," she said.
"They are one of the most important contributions a private landowner can make to protect the biodiversity of Victoria."
PHOTO: Trust for Nature Deputy Chair, Amanda Noble, presents a certificate to Bellbrae covenantor Liz Brown.
The fruits of successful conservation
Since 1986, Trust for Nature has helped landowners protect more than 63,000 hectares of bushland, grasslands and wetlands.
In 2016-17, 34 new covenanted properties were registered representing 1,800 hectares. That's the equivalent of more than 300 MCGs.
Attending the Bellbrae celebration were Ross and Fran McDonald who drove from Kaniva in the Wimmera to be there.
The McDonalds are farming a 1,000 hectare property, 250 hecatres of which they have protected with a conservation covenant. The protected land is mostly Black Box and Red Gum wetlands.
"Those wetlands are part of my childhood," said Ross. "It's a fantastic area."
PHOTO: Covenantors Ross and Fran McDonald partake of the fruit platter, courtesy of Trust for Nature's Jo Day.
Neighbours realise their vision
The event was held on Jan Cossar and Guy Gilbert's property at Bellbrae.
They belong to a group of neighbours, led by Phil and Anne Pilgrim, who have combined to protect a beautiful piece of remnant bushland with a single conservation covenant.
The neighbours have shares in the covenanted land, which is home to wildflowers, grass trees and a resident echidna.
Trust for Nature's Corangamite Regional Manager, Chris Lindorff, has helped the Bellbrae neighbours achieve their vision for the bush block.
"It's a unique situation and a fantastic example of what people can do collectively to protect the environment," he said.
Anne Pilgrim, in thanking Trust for Nature, said the rewards were immense knowing that the land had been protected in perpetuity.
MAIN PHOTO: Bellbrae covenantor Jan Cossar (centre) with Trust for Nature's Chris Lindorff and Michelle Ballentine from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
PHOTO BELOW: Their patch of paradise saved...the Bellbrae neighbours with Trust for Nature CEO, Victoria Marles.