Act for birds - Community Forum - Geelong

About 65 friendly faces joined us from the Geelong Field Naturalists Club, Geelong Sustainability, the Victorian National Parks Association, BirdLife Bellarine and the wider community of Geelong locals who care about nature, packing out the cozy and colourful function room at Beav’s Bar

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Rod Lowther was a firecracker up the front and did a great job and managing proceedings. Connie Lee (BirdLife migratory shorebird program coordinator and Geelong local) started off the talks with a presentation all about the migratory shorebirds she loves so much and why little cuties like the Red-necked Stint (which weighs as much as a fun-sized Mars Bar and flies all the way to Siberia and back to Geelong every year) desperately need their habitat at Moolap protected.

Shannon Hurley, marine and coastal issues campaigner from the Victorian National Parks Association showed us how coastal communities across the state have a similar fight on their hands, talking about Hoodies vs hooves at Belfast Beach, and how a good or bad outcome at Belfast will set a precedent across the state, including for local places like Thirteenth Beach.

John Newman talked the crowd through Moolap’s value as habitat, the decades of citizen science that have given us an incredible dataset for the area, and how the local conservation community sprang into action after discovering the first plan to redevelop the so-called “industrial wasteland” of what John demonstrated was a rich, intricate ecosystem.

John, Rod and Craig Morley talked about how putting pressure on local and state members and ministers led to the halt of that original plan and a better community consultation process, but expressed their frustration that the plan they and many of you have put effort into improving has stalled, and all the while the habitat at Moolap continues to degrade and numbers of shorebirds visiting continue to drop.

Bruce Lindsay of Environmental Justice Australia talked through his personal involvement in the action group formed to protect Moolap, and exactly how, as an expert on environmental law, he believes our national nature laws can and must be strengthened.

Bruce Lindsey Shannon Hurley Kim Garratt John Newman Connie Lee and Rod Lowther at BirdLife's Act for Birds Geelong 3.JPG

We really value the opportunity to reconnect with those of you who’ve been putting in the hard yards to organize the incredible citizen science and grassroots conservation advocacy that we have for Moolap, and to be able to share that work with other people in the community who want to learn about it. We hope that the switched-on twitchers who were there on Tuesday night feel fired up to take Tuesday night’s message to their local political representatives. But just because you didn’t make it, doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of it.

To help you take Tuesday night’s message to their local political representatives, I’ve put links to key resources below to check out

If you get a response back from a politician, we’d love to hear about it! Please let me know who replied and what they said, so we can track the growing support for new nature laws.

If you want printed resources or guidance to spread this message further through running a stall, doing a presentation, or anything else you can think of, get in touch.

Finally, a heartfelt thanks to the wonderful speakers, organisers, helpers and caterers, and to everyone who showed up to learn more about how we can act for birds.

Looking forward to talking again when the final draft drops,

Kim Garratt, Andrew Hunter, and Connie Lee


Useful links:

Facebook group for Geelong Field Naturalists Club

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

Stand Against Extinction Big event in Canberra on September 10th - let’s get all 2000 threatened species and ecosystems to Parliament and make a stand against extinction! where we’ll be sharing campaign information and templates with you where you can read about the rest of the community forums we have planned where you can see which organisations are part of the Places You Love Alliance, and download the shared policy platform we’re putting forward