Swamps, grasslands, quolls and sleepy lizards – Summing up the 5th Annual NGT Staff Workshop

A couple of weeks ago we managed to get much of the team at NGT together for our annual workshop (unfortunately the majority of our native fish crew were still tied up in a busy field season that keeps rolling on, so we’ll have to more carefully pick our dates next year!)

This year’s workshop was held over two days in and around Dunkeld, Victoria, which should come as no surprise given our news this year at Walker Swamp (1000 acres) and Long Point (500 acres) – our two latest restoration reserves in the southern Grampians.

The NGT Annual Workshop in 2018 – Talking over management challenges at Long Point. Photo by Ben Taylor

And we certainly did cover some ground!

In our formal sessions, we heard from:

  • Lachie, who recapped the year that was with a fantastic video collage of NGT achievements and a discussion about public interaction with our website, social media and newsletter.
  • Ben, who challenged us to think about the shifting ecology and vegetation dynamics at Lake Hawdon in response to long terms changes in drainage, grazing and fire regimes.
  • Richard, who gave everyone some important insights into the ‘back-end’ of NGT’s operations, and the administration requirements of keeping our little NGO ticking smoothly.
  • Mark, who talked about NGT’s new reserves in the Southern Grampians and how these projects came about, as a precursor to our field trips to explore these great patches in the local neighbourhood.
  • Greg, who enthralled us with an evening talk about what he learned through his incredibly detailed PhD analysis of the behavioural ecology of the Sleepy Lizard several years ago. Anyone who studies wildlife needs to talk to Greg about making sure you are truly collecting unbiased data in your research!
  • Jodie, who took us on a real journey in her overview of working with so many wonderful people to make the Kang-o-meerteek project in Narrawong a success.
  • Rose, who talked about her passion for indigenous education in our schools, and
  • Bryan, who helped us explore workplace dynamics and getting the most out of our small and passionate team of staff.

And that was just the indoor side of things…

Some of the NGT Crew at Walker Swamp – December 2018. Photo by Ben Taylor

Despite the heat, we headed out in the field and, as well as getting acquainted with Walker Swamp and Long Point, we also spent an afternoon with staff from Dunkeld Pastoral Company – to share experiences and learn from each other.

Native grassland restored in Dunkeld by the Dunkeld Pastoral Company. Photo by Ben Taylor

As we visited a number of sites around Dunkeld, we talked about offsets, revegetation, fauna enclosures, quolls, overabundant herbivores, apex predators, grassland restoration and more… Needless to say, it was an incredibly useful exercise and we have much to keep in touch about in the future.

A huge thank you to the staff from Dunkeld Pastoral Company for sharing their time and experiences with us!

Our forgotten fauna… the once locally-abundant Eastern Quoll in an enclosure owned by Dunkeld Pastoral Company. Photo by Ben Taylor

Mark Bachmann