Out-going Presidents Report.

Proo Pyke September 2007

Members have been involved in a wide variety of activities this year. Starting with the annual Ptilotus count, I think all of us were surprised to find any, given the extraordinarily dry conditions.

This was followed by the enormously successful Beyond Smoke Festival thanks to the very hard work of two of our members, Margo and David.

There have been several very enjoyable threatened species activities despite some inclement weather and rather varied success in finding the sought – for species. So, thanks to Sylvia for organising these.

The “Thin Green Line” film night was successful and raised around $150 to support rangers injured in their line of work across the world.

We have had several information sessions; weed spotting, the fire operations plan 07/08 and research into the fire response of grass trees in the Mount Zero area. We were also invited to make a presentation to the Parliamentary Enquiry into Bush Fires, which Margo and I duly attended with some trepidation. We seemed to be well received and felt the points we made were listened to.

The printing of our new membership brochure was exciting and hope it will attract some new members to the group. Thanks to Frank, we now have a very friendly to use Web Site which we hope members will become familiar with, and that it will become an important means of communicating within the group.

Stan generously agreed to become President of FOGG at our AGM and I wish him as much enjoyment as I had in the position. We all agreed at the meeting that it was important for the health of the group that the positions of responsibility are shared around. So we hope members will consider seriously offering to take on the positions of treasurer, secretary or newsletter editor next year. We try to ensure these jobs are not too onerous and it is a good way to get to know and influence the work of FOGG.

I’m very pleased to report that Graham has been given funding to appoint a team of ten to continue work on restoring tracks in the park and that he is fairly confident that it will be possible to do the restoration work necessary for the Red Gum Walk during the year 2008.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their help and support over the last two years, especially Kathy , Margo, Dot and Stan.

President’s Report June 2007

The April/May rains have been wonderful for the Grampians. It is a delight to walk through the bush particularly the burnt areas and see a host of young plants springing to life. The wildflower display should be wonderful this year.

From the newsletter you will see that we have had a very busy first six months. The Beyond The Smoke Festival was a huge success and great fun for anyone who attended any of the events. Congratulations to Margo, David and Sylvia in particular for seeing this large and very time consuming project through from beginning to end. Anyone who hasn’t yet bought the book should do so, they will be delighted with it.

While it was disappointing to see how burnt the Red Gum walk was, it was wonderful to see that Bill and Hennie’s table had survived unscathed. Those of us present felt inspired to pursue funding to rehabilitate the walk with a particular emphasise on change to the landscape over time, including the affect of fire.

From letters printed in this newsletter you will see that we have had some concerns about the implementation of the Fire Operations Plan this year. We are concerned that considerable political pressure is being exerted to increase control burning in the Park to protect private property interests and that this pressure may well override ecological considerations. I therefore encourage members to attend the discussions on the Fire Operations Plan for 2008 on Aug 3 at 3 pm. It is important
that a more reasoned voice with a genuine interest in the environmental values of the Park can be heard.

On the 31st July we are lucky to have the opportunity to be part of a simultaneous world Premier of ‘The Thin Green Line’. The Halls Gap Film Society has kindly offered their support and equipment to make this happen. Please bring family and friends; it should be a fun night and an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the work of Park Rangers across the world. All money raised will go towards supporting families of rangers killed in the line of duty.

I look forward to seeing members at future activities whether it be as trained weed spotters or just out to learn more about fungi and orchids, enjoy a cup of Ewan’s ham hock soup, sharing lunch and helping to plan for the rehabilitation of the Red Gum walk or helping Sylvia to track down the elusive threatened species in the Park.