Welcome BirdLife Castlemaine District

Many excited faces gathered at the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens Tearooms on Saturday 7 July 2018 to celebrate the launch of our 33rd and newest branch – BirdLife Castlemaine District. Making a great start, the launch was held alongside a Nature Laws forum, number 11 in a series of national events being held around the country to highlight Australia’s failing environment laws. 

First up, Uncle Rick and his brother Kane welcomed us to Dja Dja Wurrung Country and talked about the significance of birds to country. After working with committee members of the group over the last 8 months, I was proud alongside their new Convenor Jane Rusden, to formally launch and welcome our 33rd branch to the Network, but not without acknowledging our local affiliate Connecting Country and their amazing work paving the way in building a community passionate about birds in their region.

2018 BirdLife Act for Birds Castlemaine 07.jpg

We heard from Local BirdLife Australia member, President of Connecting Country, and CEO of Environment Justice Australia, Brendan Sydes who addressed Australia’s failing environment laws, adding “Our environment laws are failing our beloved Swift Parrots because they are not being used in the way they were intended.”,

Following Brendan, we heard from Beth Mellick (of Wettenhall Environment Trust) who is the regional coordinator for the local Swift Parrot counts done twice a year, Beth showed us an excerpt from Debbie Worland’s DVD of never-seen footage of the Swift Parrots of Muckleford in Central Victoria.

We then heard from our main speaker – our very own Kim Garrett (Conservation Community Organiser for BirdLife Australia). Kim spoke passionately on how our current laws are failing threatened species in Australia, and also what Castlemaine as community can do about it. 

Overall a great event, it was great to see so staff Helen Bryant, Andrew Hunter and Chris Timewell also, it was a team event alongside a great group of volunteers who setup, cleaned up and made some lovely cakes, and treats for all.   

BirdLife Castlemaine District focus in the next year is to build the profile of the branch and the  work of BirdLife Australia among their community and local partners, such as, Connecting Country, where they will to continue to work  with the BirdLife Birdata team to monitor 50+ woodland bird and Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) sites, coordinate the Annual Swift Parrot Counts with Wettenhall Environment Trust and Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club,and support local teams keen to join the annual Twitchathon to do their bit for state level advocacy and fundraising. The local council is also on the agenda to bring on board to support ABBC, as are local schools with Birds in Schools and Birds in Backyard. 

This is a branch to watch, as I'm sure our newest kids on the block will bring a new flavor to the network!  

Cheers All

Fiona Blandford

Network Development Coordinator. 



Useful links:

Facebook group for BirdLife Castlemaine District

Connecting Country where you’ll find information about Connecting Country’s woodland birds program

swiftparrotsofmuckleford@hotmail.com should get you through to Deb Worland, creator of the Swift Parrots of Muckleford DVD. The website used to launch the DVD seems to be out of order now.

Environmental Justice Australia where you can read about the work done by Brendan Sydes’ organisation, “nature’s legal team”

Wettenhall Environment Trust where you can read about the work Beth Mellick does through the Trust

actforbirds.org/resources where we’ll be sharing campaign information and templates with you

actforbirds.org/events where you can read about the rest of the community forums we have planned  

placesyoulove.org where you can see which organisations are part of the Places You Love Alliance, and download the shared policy platform we’re putting forward

apeel.org.au where you can read about the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law and download their work, including: the 30 page PDF Blueprint for the Next Generation of Environmental Law, a 10-page Overview of the future of Australian environmental law, and several technical papers that go in-depth into the proposed changes to the law as it affects different areas, for example terrestrial biodiversity or marine and coastal issues.