Gondwana Link began with a strong focus on improving ecological connectivity. We still have that, but as the program grew it become more and more evident that our work can have many other benefits.
Strengthening the social fabric
Current farming practices lead to larger and larger farms, with more and more people leaving local communities. The loss of families impacts the schools and clubs, the loss of sales impacts a range of local businesses, and the loss of people diminishes the social interactions essential to maintain community. We have shaped our ecological work to contribute more to the social fabric where we work. We work through local groups, not just in consultation with them, and we attract conservation buyers who become the new locals. There are always events and visits happening somewhere across the Link, adding a layer of richness to local communities and dollars to local businesses. The funds spent restoring and maintaining properties is important for local businesses. And we try and make it all fun.
Creative thinking and action
The collective program is underpinned by increased community awareness and understanding of the environmental dilemmas we face, how they can be addressed and the joy of being involved. Art, craft, music, poetry, performance are all ways communities communicate, gain insights and learn in different ways.
Our First Nations friends know that we need healthy country if we are to have healthy people. Western Science is now getting better at understanding that. The health benefits come from doing good environmental work through to the many ways healthy environments improve our skin and gut microbiome. Gondwana Link has joined the global EcoHealth Network and our CEO convenes the Four Islands EcoHealth group, linking practitioners across Australia and New Zealand. Projects to measure the benefits of our work have commenced.
Restoration and good conservation work is inspiring and exciting. People love visiting projects in Gondwana Link, and the exciting landscape we work in. We’ve now developed a digital journey across central Gondwana Link, aimed at attracting and enjoyably educating a greater number of visitors, while encouraging them to contribute to the local economies and conservation organisations.
The knowledge we all share
We are proud of ‘learning on the job’. Yes, there was enough science and technology available to identify the needs and the first big steps, but we are proud of the contribution Gondwana Link has made to the science of restoration and ecological management, and the way that work is being shared nationally and globally. At last count we found over 80 scientific papers and reports that have come from work supported in Gondwana Link, plus mentions in numerous books and essays. A foundation of knowledge that helps others, and helps us expand and accelerate the work.