There’s a lot of work happening behind the scenes at the VEFN. Here’s a quick update of our Annual General Meeting and our planned activities for 2022.
Our AGM was held on the 27th November last year and the following people were elected:
- Laura Mumaw (Gardens for Wildlife Victoria) – Convenor
- Anthony Bigelow (First Friends of Dandenong Creek) – Deputy Convenor
- Roger Parker (Friends of Mt Worth) – Treasurer
- Margaret Hunter (Friends of Braeside Park/Edithvale Seaford Wetlands) – Secretary
Committee Members include:
- Paul Strickland (Friends of Mt Worth)
- Nadine Gaskell (Gardens for Wildlife Victoria)
- Andrew Lucas (Friends of Yarra Valley Parks)
- Judith Baldacchino (Friends of Edwards Point)
- Graham Ross (KooyongKoot Alliance)
We thanked Chanaka Ruwandeniya (First Friends of Dandenong Creek), Lap Chieu (First Friends of Dandenong Creek), and Kylie Cohen (Knox Environment Society) for their significant contributions to the Committee over the last year. While they have resigned from the Committee, they remain active on our Event and Social Media subcommittees.
The new Committee held its first meeting on 20 December 2021 and endorsed the VEFN Strategic Plan (include attachment/link). Key priorities for the 2022 year include:
- Updating our social media, multi-media and website capability, making it easier for our member groups to interact with and profile themselves on these platforms. We will apply for grants for this purpose.
- Supporting regional Friends group gatherings and networks. We have secured funding for two networking events, one in Victoria’s Central West, and the other in South-eastern Melbourne Metro. Planning is underway and we will reach out to Friends, environmental groups and agencies for participation in showcasing your work. We are placing special emphasis on inspiring and engaging university-age youth in these events, currently targeted for September 2022 when the Victoria Nature Festival is on.
- Advocating on behalf of Friends groups to Parks Victoria for a less onerous and more pragmatic Volunteer manual and most importantly, for a respectful, collaborative, and partnering relationship between Friends Groups and Parks Victoria that acknowledges the role, expertise, and contributions of each to protecting and restoring Victoria’s special places and species.
- Applying for deductible gift recipient status for the VEFN.
- Developing partnerships with and collaborations with initiatives that support environmental volunteering groups. This includes Nature Stewards which offers an introductory program for ecological literacy and an awareness of environmental and land management issues. BROLGA offers training in the next level of skills to assist Friend Groups to really make a difference (e.g., management plans, social media, funding, mapping, succession planning)
- Supporting Friends groups to develop their skills and capacity by offering training, events and resources. We are currently upgrading our website and membership management processes and will be seeking ideas and feedback from our members.
- Recruiting new VEFN members.
As always, we thank each of you for your hard work across the State to protect, restore, and enhance our precious natural environment, knowing that without that support much of this heritage would be lost. Please consider joining the VEFN to help champion and support Friends Groups across Victoria. You can apply on our website: friendsvic.org. There is a short application (receiving this newsletter does not necessarily mean you are a VEFN member group) and $20 annual joining fee. Most importantly, please take care as we move into spring and, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, under less restrictive conditions.