Delegates inspired by NGT projects at the 2019 Private Land Conservation Conference

The 2019 Private Land Conservation Conference (PLC19) was held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide on October 8-10th. This annual conference of the Australian Land Conservation Alliance (ALCA) attracts delegates from around Australia and overseas to learn about and share the latest conservation initiatives happening on private land; ALCA’s member organisations collectively manage 2.9 million square kilometres of land in Australia!

This year the conference was a sell out with 350 delegates attending, of which 121 presented, including NGT’s Mark Bachmann, who spoke about the story of NGT’s evolution over the past 8 years and how some of our restoration reserves came into being. To complement this theme, NGT also hosted a special two-day post-conference tour of some of our wetland restoration reserves and project sites. Like the conference itself, our tour sold out, with 10 attendees experiencing a very detailed and intimate guided tour of our Mount Burr Swamp, Walker Swamp and Long Point reserves and our restoration projects at Brady’s and Gooseneck Swamps. Attendees included both locals and visitors from as far away as Boston, Massachusetts, and represented the NGO, government and business sectors, as well as private individuals.

On the first day Mark, Ben and Bryan guided the group around Mount Burr Swamp, explaining in detail the story of acquisition, restoration to date, monitoring and our future plans. We also explored the pristine vegetation and wetlands of our southern neighbour, Marshes Native Forest Reserve, to provide attendees with an understanding of the role this adjacent important natural area plays, both as a source of populations to recolonise Mount Burr Swamp and as a template to guide our restoration goals. There was plenty of water around in both properties, providing the opportunity for everyone to get up close and personal with aquatic biota!

We are constantly adding to our species list for Mount Burr Swamp and as luck would have it, in the midst of our tour Bryan spotted a white-lipped snake (Drysdalia coronoides) – a new record for the reserve. Check out the day’s captured highlights below:

The tour commenced in the shearing shed at Mount Burr Swamp.

“Sorry Bryan, did we forget to mention we’re walking through The Marshes?”

Bryan spots a snake.

White-lipped snake (Drysdalia coronoides) – a new record for Mount Burr Swamp.

After an overnight stop at Grampians Retreat near Dunkeld, it was off to NGT’s Long Point property on a chilly morning on Day Two, with a backdrop of Mount Abrupt veiled in cloud. By the time we reached Walkers Swamp the sun was shining, as we explored the bird hide and tower, Bunnugal Drain inlet and outlet regulator, with commentary provided by Greg and Mark. We then headed through the reserve south of Lynch’s Crossing Road for spectacular views of Brady’s Swamp, a Victorian public reserve restored by NGT in April 2015 (adjoining our Walker Swamp reserve).

Finally we ventured down the narrow spit of land, studded with ancient redgums, separating Brady’s from Gooseneck Swamp, another wetland that NGT restored in early 2015 within Grampian’s National Park:

Day two began at NGT’s Long Point reserve.

“How good is wetland restoration?”. The tour group at Walkers Swamp bird hide.

The open air classroom – talking about wetlands under the canopy of redgums on the margin of Gooseneck Swamp.

Tired but inspired, our tour concluded here and we headed our separate ways for home, a two-day journey for our international guest. We thank everyone who attended and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. In the words of one of our guests … “thankyou to NGT for a fabulous few days. The staff and the sites are an inspiration”.

Ben Taylor