From the Editor – September 2013

David Thompson - Opening of Red Gum Walk, 1993

David Thompson – Opening of Red Gum Walk, 1993

First of all: the sad news. Our long term member and ex-president David Thompson has died from complications after a battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed. Our park has lost one of its most passionate and zealous advocates.  There will be tributes and memories from several of us in this issue.

One issue that was close to David’s heart was opposition to private development within National Parks. He led our successful campaign back in 1996 against a resort on Lake Wartook, and now we are facing similar issues again. FOGGS have been writing letters to newspapers since late last year, signed petitions and will be making a submission to the ecotourism enquiry. But that’s not enough. If every member of FOGGS wrote an individual letter to their local member of Parliament it would be ever so much stronger. You can find ideas on the VNPA’s website (http://vnpa.org.au/page/nature-conservation/take-action/hands-off-our-parks )

It’s been a quiet few months for FOGGS, with only one members’ activity since the last newsletter. Unfortunately our fungi frolic had to be postponed due to illness and may not go ahead.  But you will see from the calendar that we will make up for it in the next few weeks.

The committee has had both face to face meetings and consultations by email.  One big decision we have made was to financially support the work of research in the Park. The project via Museum Victoria to do follow up surveys on birds and aquatic animals was facing a massive shortfall and we decided to use some of our accumulated funds to help the two students involved. In turn they will make presentations to us on their work. We may well have further requests following on from the work of Ballarat University, which is reported on  p 5.

Promoting research, and in particular ensuring that this knowledge is shared publicly has been an ongoing aim of FOGGS, fitting into our aims:

As Friends of Grampians Gariwerd (FOGG) we aim to:

  • Promote the conservation, protection and restoration of the Grampians National Park;
  • Increase the community’s involvement, knowledge and enjoyment of the Grampians National Park;
  • Assist with projects selected by FOGG and Grampians National Park;
  • Provide a community voice in support of the Grampians National Park.

It is in  pursuing this last aim that we have been so busy campaigning against commercialisation of our Park. And there will be a motion at our next meeting to donate to the VNPA’s campaign against private development in national parks.

Our finances have been healthy (our books are at the auditor as I write this), but we are running funds down at the moment. If you would like to donate to FOGGS towards supporting research activities or lobbying activities, we would receive it happily!

So much time spent on phone calls and emails and so cold and wet that I’ve not actually got out and enjoyed this place we love as much as I would like.  When I have, it has been looking lovely with all wetland areas full.  But with all the field activities planned for the next few months, I hope that I and many of you will get to at least some of them as we enjoy, as well as fight for, this very special place.

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