Large donation to Mt Vandyke honours a supporter’s parents

We have arrived at the end of the year on a high at NGT with the land purchase loan of our Mt Vandyke reserve now paid off! Our newest reserve, Mt Vandyke, has been the subject of a matched funding campaign beginning in May this year and over the past six months or so, many of you have gotten behind our vision for the reserve and shown your support by donating and the loan balance has been gradually falling.

Then in late November, we were approached by Judy Glick, who contacted the team with some questions about the site and the next stages of our plans for reserve (to read more about the reserve, click this link). Judy had been following NGT’s work for a few months, since reading about the brolgas in western Victoria earlier in the year. To our surprise and delight, shortly after our initial conversation, Judy got back in touch to let us know that, using the matched funding mechanism, she would like to payout the loan on Mt Vandyke!

Like many NGT supporters, Judy’s connection to the natural world came from her parents, and she honours her parents Dora and Felix Hiller with this gift. When we spoke about this, Judy described a city childhood that was nevertheless filled with nature. Growing up in Kew in the pre-freeway era meant being walking distance to the billabong on Kilby Road, swimming in the Yarra River, and spending time in the natural landscapes in the area including Studley Park.

Dora, Felix, and their children enjoyed holidays in places like the Grampians and Mount Buffalo where bushwalking, birdwatching, and picnics were the order of the day. At home they were keen gardeners and their love of the natural world was lifelong. When Judy describes this life it’s easy to understand why she is giving this gift in memory of Dora and Felix.

Dora and Felix Hiller on their 60th wedding anniversary. Photo courtesy of Judy Glick.

Judy has taken this love of nature into her working life, and was a key player in the development of CERES in Brunswick East over 24 years. For those who know CERES (an environmental education centre, community garden, urban farm and social enterprise hub), you’ll recognise the parallels with a childhood in the inner city, surrounded by bush. Judy’s work there was about engaging city people, especially children with the natural world. We send Judy and her family our heartfelt thanks for the generosity and leadership she has shown in in giving this very significant gift.

The matching for Judy’s donation is being made by the Purryburry Trust. We’re thrilled to have Purryburry Trust join with NGT in this work, as they are highly experienced and respected biodiversity funders. Purryburry Trust will not only generously match Judy’s gift, but will contribute a further $70,000 to the building of the predator-proof fence at Mt Vandyke. We send our deepest gratitude to the Directors of Purryburry Trust, and look forward to seeing them on site in 2022. Special thanks Erika Hosoyama for her role in this funding.

Judy and the Purryburry Trust have jointly contributed $130,351 to pay off the land purchase loan for Mt Vandyke. We thank both parties for their vision, generosity and leadership, and their trust in the NGT team. We very much look forward to seeing them at Mt Vandyke in 2022, along with all the other generous donors who contributed to the campaign.

From here, it’s over to us at NGT to roll up our sleeves and bring this property to life. Watch this space for updates!

Paula Thomson