President’s Report

We have succeeded again in having activities more or less every month, and in working together where possible with other local groups caring for our environment. I get newsletters from Trust for Nature, Project Platypus ( my local Landcare Group) and the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA), and  it is good to see how much other groups are doing to preserve biodiversity in our region. Private owners of land can often work quickly and effectively to achieve outcomes that Park managers must envy.

FOGGS are members of the Victorian National Parks Association and as such the committee gets a copy of the quarterly magazine covering the whole state. There are often articles on subjects that have relevance to us here, such as deer, cats, landscape changes. I would strongly recommend that you consider joining the VNPA as individuals, not just for the excellent magazine but also to support our parks. We also receive a quarterly “FriendsNet” which also has so many good articles. I had intended to include  a summary of an article from the May issue on animal extinctions but space has run out If you would like to receive it, please let me know.

In addition to our own FOGG activities, Wendy and I are your representatives on the Grampians  and Surrounds Round Table and the Grampians National Park Advisory Group and try to report back to you on these deliberations. Fire and Recovery from fire still keep us busy. How best to restore burnt sites such as McKenzie Falls precinct, how to protect the regenerating forest from browsing animals (cherry ballart from deer is a real problem), and what prescribed burning regime will best help protect the Grampians in a drying climate, are among the issues that we are reporting on.

But it is not just group meetings that keeps the committee busy. We also get asked to support or comment on issues on the fringe of our responsibilities and sometimes it is difficult to decide. So for instance we have not contributed to the discussion of the future of the Stawell Gold Mine, but we did send a letter re discussions on future planning decisions concerning Laharum / Wartook valley. We appreciated some of the council’s dilemmas, were appreciative of the strongly stated desire to look after the environment but could see problems if the size of bush blocks was lessened and we wanted stronger action on issues such as cats. If you want to read the full letter please contact me.

We are registering our September activity with Bush Care’s  Big Day Out in the hope that we can attract new folk to join us. We have not been good at publicising ourselves, either on new or old media. Any volunteers to take on a publicity role?

Our AGM will be  in October and will creep up on us quickly. All office positions will be open for election. In particular, please note that I have now served my two years as president. Some years ago we decided that the maximum term of president should be two years; so it is now someone else’s turn. It is enjoyable and not too onerous. It is also good to have fresh folk on the committee which we have been achieving in the last couple of years. Do let us know if you are interested in any position.  You don’t need to live locally as much can be done by email these days.

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