Meet Your Bushland – a Mornington Peninsula landholder engagement program
This program helps to connect landholders with native bush on their properties. It pairs them with a local bushland restoration specialist and a member of their local Landcare group for two events:
- a walk-and-talk on the landholder property, focusing on the sections of the property with the highest habitat values
- follow-up tour of a separate local property that showcases successful conservation efforts, also attended by the bushland restoration specialist and a member of the local Landcare group.
Each landholder will also receive a short report outlining the conservation values of their property including a map of the property, the Ecological Vegetation Classes present, a list of significant flora and fauna known or likely to occur, any environmental issues on the property, e.g. weed control, and the supports available to assist such as available grants.
Grant funding has been received by the Natural Resources Conservation League which will help fund the first 26 “Meet Your Bushland” properties.
The aim of this project is to engage landholders in conservation efforts, building a connection with the native bush on their properties, improving awareness of local environmental values and promoting conservation. The ultimate goal is to empower and engage landholders to steward their bushland through weed control, fencing and revegetation.
- engagement with local Landcare, an ongoing source of information
- engagement with neighbouring landholders involved in conservation
- community building and knowledge sharing
- building relationships amongst Landcare, landholders, & Mornington Peninsula Shire for a co-ordinated approach to biodiversity protection on the Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network has run the successful NRCL-funded biolinks program Linking the Mornington Peninsula Landscape (LMPL). One of the lessons of this program has been the effectiveness of one-on-one, on-site interactions between landholders and bushland restoration specialists. A visit to interested landholders by the bushland restoration specialist working on LMPL is the first step in engaging landholders and has proved the most successful engagement strategy in bringing landholders on board. The Network believes it is the one-on-one nature of the interaction, combined with the fact that the walk-and-talk is on the landholder property, that makes this engagement strategy powerful.
The follow up visit to a local property that showcases successful conservation efforts has also been a feature LMPL. The meet-and-greet events held for each Biolink, which are attended by the Biolink landholders, include a walk-and-talk on a local property that showcases successful bushland restoration. In the context of Meet Your Bushland, this second interaction with the landholder is designed to cement the messages of the first walk-and-talk and deepens the engagement of the landholder.
Properties will be selected in consultation between the three key personnel: the project coordinator, bushland regeneration specialist and a representative of the Network.
Selection criteria will include quality and size of existing bush on the property, connectivity with existing or planned Biolinks (i.e. Linking MP Landscape Biolinks and Greens Bush to Arthurs Seat Biolinks), and connectivity with public bushland reserves.