Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

AGM 2023 a roaring success: Phascogales draw a crowd

Posted on 21 November, 2023 by Ivan

On Saturday 18 September 2023, a large crowd of people gathered at the Guildford Community Hall and heard a wonderful talk from Dr Jess Lawton on how we can help our iconic brush-tailed phascogale from surviving to thriving. A total of 70 tickets were sold to the AGM and event, which went very smoothly and was well received by all in attendance.

We also celebrated the hard work and achievements of Connecting Country through a presentation by our Director, Lori Arthur, as well as updating the audience on our current funding situation. We would like to warmly thank our presenters and all the committee members, staff and volunteers who assisted with the event, which has generated extremely positive feedback.

The biggest star of the show was guest speaker Dr Jess Lawton, former Connecting Country employee and leading Phascogale expert, who gave an enthralling presentation on her learnings from her recently completed PhD into phascogale distribution and habitat preference in central Victoria. Jess presented some fascinating insights into why Phascogales are thriving in some geographical regions and what ecological attributes have a statistical correlation to the abundance of phascogales found in nest boxes. One of the most important points that Dr Jess Lawton concluded from her studies, was the importance of leaf litter, ground logs and rough-barked eucalyptus species in determining the presence of phascogale populations. This has important implications for landholders and land managers, who can implement practical management changes and restoration measures to encourage phascogale and the insect populations that they depend upon.

Connecting Country volunteer, Lou Citroën, has kindly provided his photography skills, to capture the presentations in the images below. Thank you again Lou.

Our AGM was short and sweet, and all but one of our committee of management members were re-elected for another year. The sad news was the retirement from the committee of long-term stalwart Malcolm Trainor, who has travelled from the south side of Ballarat since 2014 to assist Connecting Country at committee meetings and events. Malcolm will be long remembered for his visionary input into the committee and his passion for landscape restoration and healthy soils. Thank you Malcolm and best wishes for your next adventure.

Malcolm received a thank you present from committee member Marie Jones. Photo: Lou Citroën

The hard-working Connecting Country committee must be thanked for their considerable strategic and practical contributions to our organisation. It is very impressive that the committee have committed for another year, providing stability in these uncertain times.

Elected members of Connecting Country’s 2023-24 committee of management are:

  • President:                   Brendan Sydes
  • Vice President:          (vacant)
  • Treasurer:                  Max Kay
  • Secretary:                   Marie Jones
  • Ordinary member:   Stephen Oxley
  • Ordinary member:   Loulou Gebbie
  • Ordinary member:   Christine Brooke
  • Ordinary member:   Deborah Wardle

The AGM minutes will be circulated to members and available on request. If you would like a copy of Connecting Country’s annual report for 2022-23 – Click here

The guest presentation event was part of a larger project, ‘Habitat trees for Phascogales’, which aims to provide habitat stepping stones for the Brush-tailed Phascogale and other native fauna by protecting and enhancing large old trees in the landscape, particularly in grazing land. For information on how to be involved in the project click here

The Habitat Trees for Phascogales project is supported by the Victorian Government through the Nature Fund as well as the Ian and Shirley Norman Foundation.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

« | »