Talks from Linking Landscapes Symposium available

Speakers at the Symposium. From Top left, Judy Crocker, Ary Hoffman and Rebecca Jordan, Andrew Bennett, Gary Howling, Peter Sanders, James Nelsson, Rohan Hogan, Veronica Doerr, Paul Dettmann, Doug Robinson, Kylie Durant, Brian Bainbridge

If you weren’t able to make it to our recent Symposium ‘From Islands to Networks’, or you would like to revisit the speakers’ talks, we are making them available – slowly but surely – on our website.

You can now access pdfs of Dr Veronica Doerr, Prof Andrew Bennett and Prof Ary Hoffman and Rebecca Jordan’s presentations on a Symposium webpage. Audio recordings of their talks will follow, as will summaries of all talks.

We heard at the Symposium how important all scales of connectivity in the landscape are, but our speakers especially well demonstrated the vital need for connectivity at scales of 200 – 300 km; to allow for natural species movements and migrations, as well as giving species a chance to adjust to our rapidly changing climate.

CVBA has been developing to help ensure that we achieve those vital connections at the scales needed. It was interesting just how many of the speakers stressed that this can only be done by working together and talking with your neighbours. The fantastic show of really engaged people at the Symposium was a step towards making it happen (click here for feedback from the Symposium).

We are currently working on enhancing our website to better share the science and practical know-how for smart, effective and strategic conservation in central Victoria – watch this space!

Linking Landscapes Symposium

Bendigo Creek in flood near Mitiamo Jan 2011

CVBA is holding its second annual Symposium –  on the science and practice of reestablishing ecological connectivity in the landscape.

The symposium From islands to networks: Linking landscapes for conservation at a time of climate change” will be held on Friday May 12th at the Capital Theatre in Bendigo. Download Symposium Flyer here.

Book through Eventbrite.

The day will explore the concept and practicalities of biolinks, addressing –

  • why we need to reconnect the landscape,
  • how to design and structure biolinks and
  • how to set up and deliver them.

It will be a chance from leading experts, including Professor Andrew Bennett (La Trobe University & Arthur Rylah Institute), Dr Veronica Doerr (CSIRO AdaptNRM), Dr Gary Howling (Great Eastern Ranges), Professor Ary Hoffman (Melbourne University) and conservation practitioners to share the latest knowledge and practical experiences around this important topic.

Tickets are $25 inclusive of morning tea and lunch for individuals associated with a CVBA member organisation or $50 for non-members.


Doug Humann at CVBAs AGM

At our recent AGM we were fortunate to hear from Doug Humann AM about national and international directions in conservation and cultural and natural heritage resource management. See a video of Doug summarising his messages Doug Video.

Doug raised 4 main directions;

  1. Doing things at a landscape scale – what we do locally builds up into landscape scale, and will then have a global impact. Don’t think you are too small.
  2. Working with indigenous people – and with CVBA that is working with Dja Dja Warrung people and recognising the importance of their knowledge base and of those relationships to further understanding of country.
  3. Involving youth in nature –  ensuring that the growing community that we have is a part of what we are doing – because what we are doing in the environment is sustaining future communities.
  4. Thinking about and ensuring environmental resilience – and how we go about ensuring the landscape we work in is sustainable in the long-term.

Doug made the point that CVBA has all the necessary requirements, and the drive, to be effective to really contribute at the local level and contribute nationally and globally, having

  • a great set of community networks – and that is critical
  • A plan and a strategy and actions that people are implementing
  • A vision – working with others in the landscape
  • Commitment..

Grampians to Pyrenees Biolink Conservation Action Plan Launched

Dave Margetson

David Margetson speaking at the launch


With CVBA member organisation Project Platypus, CVBA facilitated and wrote a Conservation Action Plan for the G2P Biolink.  The project was part of a larger Biodiversity Fund project also involving Wimmera CMA, Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Trust for Nature and Parks Victoria.

The Plan was launched in Halls Gap on Thursday 9th June and in the words of G2P Project Director Leigh Blackmore ‘From the feedback on Thursday it sounds like there is much intention to use the plan and continue the G2P Biolink.  This plan is roadmap for future works and can be picked up and implemented by anyone – awesome!’.

Deakin University’s Associate Professor Geoff Westcott spoke about Connectivity Conservation – its importance and gave examples an inspiring international project Wildlands and Woodlands in New England.

Launch attendees

Launch attendees

The day was a chance to hear what was achieved by the project over the past 3 years – partners individual projects generally well exceeded their targets. TfNs Adam Blake was excited by the first time collaboration between TfN and Landcare – with 6 permanent protection covenants resulting.

One of the Strategic Recommendations made in the Plan was for the formation of a G2P key stakeholder committee. It was agreed that an informal network was important to the project’s future and Project Platypus will be hosting its inaugural meeting.

The Trust for Nature contingent - Adam Merrick, Adam Blake and Max Irvin

The Trust for Nature Contingent – Adam Merrick, Adam Blake and Max Irvin

Black Range Biolink champion, Neil Marriot

Black Range Biolink champion, Neil Marriot

CVBA Inc. officially launches

Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance Inc. was officially launched by Professor Kate Auty and Maree Edwards MP for Bendigo West, after the Glideways Symposium held in Seymour on March 18th 2016.

Paul Foreman, Chairman of CVBA, gave an inspiring introductory speech outlining the history of CVBA and its future plans.  You can read a copy of his speech here.

Professor Kate Auty has also taken on a role as a CVBA Ambassador. In that role she wants to ensure that CVBA makes the most of the remarkable opportunities for connection, learning and community mobilisation that social media provides.

It was an auspicious day – a great celebration of all the engagement, planning and hard work that has gone into making Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance the missing link it is, in large-scale community connected conservation.

Glideways Symposium - 94

Professor Kate Auty launching CVBA after the Glideways Symposium

Glideways Symposium - 96

Maree Edwards MP for Bendigo West speaking at the launch of CVBA

Inaugural General Meeting – a new constitution and board

Member networks of Central Victorian Biolinks held an Inaugural General Meeting on August 19th 2015 in Bendigo where a new constitution was adopted and a board and executive positions were elected. At the meeting a vote was also taken to establish Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance as an incorporated body.

At the meeting Gary Howling gave an overview of the Great Eastern Ranges (GER) initiative setting the context for thinking around potential collaborative projects with the Central Victorian Biolinks area and with other GER delivery partners along the extent of the corridor.

The meeting marks a significant milestone for CVB. There was much enthusiasm at the meeting from the new board and other members to take on the task of implementing CVBs vision and goals.


Participants at the CVB Inaugural General Meeting; From left, Michael Moore, Karen Alexander, Sophie Bickford, Ann McGregor, Irene Punton, Amanda Gauci, Helen Raddige, Anthony Gallaher, Judy Crocker, Omar Farwal, Sonia Sharkey , Jin Soon, Paul Foreman, Peter Mitchell, James Williams.

Phase 3 – Framework for Action

Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance has built a strong foundation of partnerships and, based on understanding member groups’ current capacity and the support they need, has developed a 5 year Framework for Action.

CVB has identified a unique role for itself as a capacity and partnership building organisation that will ensure that the significant momentum there is for community-driven conservation on public and private land in Central Victoria is supported, coordinated and amplified.

The Plan outlines seven key priority areas and four clearly defined programs for their delivery. Funding to implement the plan is being sought.

The plan was funded by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and developed in consultation with Member Groups with help from Paul Foreman, Kate Stothers and Natalie Moxham.

CVB 5 year planV4(lowres)

CVB Member 5 year Plan meeting, from left: Paul Foreman, Gary Howling, Judy Crocker, Leigh Blackmore, Kate Stothers, Peter Mitchell, Sophie Bickford, Mel Husada, Gayle Osborn, John Boadle, Michael Moore.

CVB Member 5 year Plan meeting, from left: Paul Foreman, Gary Howling, Judy Crocker, Leigh Blackmore, Kate Stothers, Peter Mitchell, Sophie Bickford, Mel Husada, Gayle Osborn, John Boadle, Michael Moore.

A plan for the next 5 years for CVB

Central Victorian Biolinks has been very fortunate to be awarded funding from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to develop a plan for a project that supports collaborative whole-system conservation in Central Victoria.

The funding is enabling CVB to carry out a detailed survey of member community environment groups’ current capacity and capacity building needs to enable them to achieve even greater conservation outcomes.

Findings from the survey will be brought together in a Plan to provide;

  • A strategic framework to reach our Vision of ‘People working together to maintain and restore a healthy natural environment from the Grampians to the Victorian Alps and from the Murray River to the Macedon Ranges’.
  • Objectives for the next 5 years
  • Specific pilot projects
  • Baseline data in which CVB can measure the success of its capacity building of member community groups.

Draft recommendations drawn from analysis of the survey information will be discussed by member groups at a CVB meeting in late November in Castlemaine.

Connectivity Plan for the Grampians to Pyrenees Biolink

Central Victorian Biolinks has been supporting a collaborative planning process for the Grampians to Pyrenees Biolink.

The Grampians to Pyrenees Biolink Project commenced in 2008 as a partnership between the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, Project Platypus and landholders of the Upper Wimmera Catchment. The need to restore ecological connectivity between the Grampians and the Pyrenees Ranges has motivated numerous conservation efforts by different organisations many years prior to this.

In 2013, the Australian Government funded the three year Grampians to Pyrenees Biolink Project, giving renewed focus to the goal.  It is now a collaborative endeavour between Project Platypus, the Wimmera CMA, Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Trust for Nature, Parks Victoria, Central Victorian Biolinks and the broader community. Part of the grant provided funding to develop a strategic Connectivity Plan that would provide a strong foundation to support ongoing activities.

Using the principles of connectivity science, available data and local knowledge in a Conservation Action Planning framework the plan has defined key large-scale linkages and identified priority areas and conservation actions.

A Draft Plan is soon to be released for further consultation, with a final plan due to be completed mid in 2015.

As a useful pilot, the learnings from the project, and the data brought together for it, will be shared with other member groups across the CVB network.

Alliance Meeting and Talk

Central Victorian Biolinks held a Alliance meeting in Bendigo on August 27 2013. Members got together to exchange updates on key achievements and challenges over the past year and listen to a talk by Paul Ryan, a leading NRM planning thinker and consultant, on  Building resilient communities and landscapes; challenges and approaches for planning in uncertain times.

To realise the outcomes we have come together to achieve, planning of different sorts, at multiple scales is going to be essential.  Of course it is already being done in different ways for different ends by different bodies and groups across central Victoria.  One necessary role for CVB is to ensure that ecological processes that operate at scales greater than landcare networks, CMNs and CMAs plan at are also given attention.  This could be through simply providing information at the right points of existing planning processes – or it could be through helping develop community ecological planning processes that engender community ownership of biolinks from small to large scales.

Paul presented an excellent overview of Resilience thinking – which inherently considers the interconnectedness of social and environmental systems – and why it provides a good approach for developing sound priorities in systems that are complex and subject to many pressures and changes.

If you would like more information on Paul’s presentation please contact Sophie at