Yass Habitat Linkages- The Truth About Trees

140 people attended the Truth About Trees seminar and field day in Gunning in March 2017. The event was part of the NSW Environmental Trust's Bushconnect program- Yass Habitat Linkages and was an opportunity to bring the local community together with ecologists, practitioners, private and public managers, and other related service providers to hear from the experts, share local knowledge and have a conversation about addressing the issues around habitat loss, fragmentation and declines in productivity and work out how we, as a Landcare community, can work together to improve this situation.

The issue

Fragmentation of remnant vegetation and loss of paddock trees is recognized by the Yass Landcare network as a significant issue and one that the whole community needs to work together to address. The Yass Area Network of Landcare groups has been successful in obtaining funding through the Environmental Trust's Bushconnect program to restore wildlife habitat and vegetation across a working agricultural landscape. By returning areas to native vegetation and linking older remnant stands and protecting our grand old paddock trees across public and private land we can improve outcomes for both productivity and biodiversity but we need to bring everyone along together to make this happen.

The solution

The Truth About Trees was an opportunity to bring the local community together with ecologists, practitioners, private and public managers, and other related service providers to hear from the experts, share local knowledge and have a conversation about addressing the issues around habitat loss, fragmentation and declines in productivity and work out how we, as a Landcare community, can work together to improve this situation.

Speakers on the day included Professor David Lindenmayer from the ANU Fenner School, a leading expert in landscape ecology, conservation and biodiversity and two local landholders, Margie Fitzpatrick and Matt Doyle, who have been engaged in major revegetation and landscape repair on their properties over the years and have seen great changes in productivity and biodiversity on their properties and most importantly great satisfaction and improved mental health.

There was also an EXPO of service providers, including Landcare groups and Friends of groups, agencies such as Local Lands Services, Greening Australia, Land for Wildlife, wildlife friendly fencing and flood friendly fencing contractors, suppliers of revegetation equipment and expertise and all of the current funding that is available to assist landholders to get involved in this effort.

The impact

The event was sold out with 140 people registering and a further 20 on waiting list. Many of the people were new to Landcare or had not been involved for some time. The combined effect of having everyone in the room at the same time, all of the funding bodies, practitioner's, researchers and interested and willing landholders has resulted in a great uptake not only in the Yass Habitat Linkages program but also in many of the other opportunities that were on offer such as Greening Australia, Rivers of Carbon, South East Local Lands Services.

Learnings

A range of speakers, particularly a highly regarded leader in the field, Professor David Lindenmayer, was definitely a huge draw card for many attending, and then balanced by real examples of passionate landholders who many of the attendees could empathize and relate to was also very important.

Bringing all of the key organisations and agencies together and allowing them to showcase what they do and demonstrate how we can all work together in this space to get the best outcomes on the ground and for our community.