ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10
Results of election of Office Bearers & Committee Members:
President: Rachel Faggetter
Vice-president: Alison Watson
Secretary: Margaret MacDonald
Assistant Secretary: Kaye Traynor
Treasurer: Lachlan Richardson
Committee Members: Joe Bolza, Evelyn Jones, Ross Murray, Diana Trewenack, Patrick Flanagan (on leave)
Dennis Leavesley will stay on the Committee as Past President.
A vote of thanks and appreciation was extended to Claire Hanley who did not stand for re-election on the Committee. Claire is a foundation member of the Friends and has been a valued member of the Committee since 2004. She was presented with Life Membership and we feel sure she will maintain her interest in the Friends’ objectives and activities.
Life Membership was also granted to Margaret MacDonald in recognition of her valuable contribution to the Friends over many years.
We were very fortunate to have as our Guest Speaker at the Annual General Meeting, Matt Ruchell, who is the Executive Director of the VNPA (Victorian National Parks Association).
Matt gave an overview of the environmental challenges as well as some of the high priority issues that exist in Victoria. Since European settlement, 50 – 70% of native vegetation in Victoria has been cleared, resulting in extinctions, loss of habitat and decline in quality of waterways and destruction of local ecosystems.
Since its establishment in 1952, the VNPA has successfully advocated for the creation of national parks and nature reserves. Among its achievements – Alpine National Park, Grampians National Park, Box Ironbark Forests Park, Wilsons Prom., Marine National Parks, Stopping cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park, Point Nepean National Park and Redgum Park in 2010.
The Association also advises on establishment of bio-links using public and private lands to provide nature corridors that enable species to move between habitats.
Other projects include, ‘NatureWatch’ such as Grassland monitoring, studying frogs and lizards which might be adversely affected by disturbances. Camera surveys, working with Arthur Rylah Institute, ‘Reef Watch’ – Underwater monitoring of fish and counting species, in association with the Museum. The Association also supports local groups against large-scale developments that threaten the native environment. The list goes on and on.
Matt devoted some of his talk to the issue of Marine Parks and Sanctuaries. Victoria was one of the first to have marine parks, and presently 4.2% of the coastline is protected. There are plans for future expansions of exclusion zones, and priority areas that need better protection including bays and inlets.
It was a most informative presentation and of interest to all of us who are concerned about our natural surroundings and the care of them for the future