Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Farewell and thank you to our leader: Frances Howe

Posted on 23 November, 2022 by Ivan

All good things come to an end and we are sad to announce that our wonderful Director, Frances Howe, will be moving on from her current role with Connecting Country in early 2023. Frances has been Connecting Country’s Director for five years, and has been a brilliant leader of the team, especially during this period of funding uncertainty and COVID-19 restrictions.

Frances has excelled in oversight of many projects, strategic direction, organisational management, community engagement and on-ground initiatives. She brought valuable fresh insight to our organisation, while ensuring we are seeking alternative funding ideas, and becoming more efficient and sustainable.

We are thrilled to have had Frances’s experience and high attention to detail in attracting new funding opportunities over the past five years. The team has been blessed with her calm approach and balanced decision-making across our priority projects. We are sure Frances will remain connected to Connecting Country, including as an ongoing nest box volunteer and through our climate future plots project.

Frances and her partner Duncan will be focusing on building their next home together as owner-builders, and are keen to spend more time restoring their property near Castlemaine.

Frances and her partner Duncan (right) with committee members Chris and Brendan at our volunteer thank you event (photo by Lou Citroen)


During her time at Connecting Country, Frances has done everything from recruiting and training new staff and mentoring volunteers, obtaining funding for dozens of new projects, implementing health and safety procedures, assisting landholders, delivering workshops, and launching our investor prospectus. She has built excellent relationships with funders, landholders, committee members and staff, and ensured that our work on-ground is first-rate. Although we will miss her, we are thrilled for Frances to be focusing on her property and other project dreams.

Frances presenting at Connecting Country’s 2022 AGM in Campbells Creek 2022 (photo by Ivan Carter)


I’m incredibly grateful for the chance to be part of Connecting Country – I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with a great team of people on meaningful projects,’ said Frances. ‘I’ve enjoyed putting my skills to good use and have learnt so much. Our team has delivered some brilliant projects, while becoming a more streamlined and adaptable organisation,’ she added. ‘It’s been a time of change, but I feel Connecting Country is in a good position to embrace some extraordinary new opportunities.’

Frances with fellow nest box volunteer, Ann-Marie during 2022 nest box monitoring (photo by Jess Lawton)


Frances grew up in Melbourne but fell for central Victoria during numerous childhood visits. She became a part-time Castlemaine resident in 2000, when she bought a run-down old church. Frances joined Connecting Country in 2017, after a career in assessing and managing environmental and social impacts of large development projects, across Australia and around the world. Having travelled far and wide, including living and working in the Middle East, Africa and the United States, Frances returned to settle in Castlemaine. She will now continue to restore her property with indigenous vegetation and a wetland for wildlife.

Thank you Frances! 

Frances will remain as Director until January 2023 while we recruit a new Director. If you are interested in learning more about the Director role and how to apply – click here


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