The Mulloon Institute  -  Enews - February 2018

From the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

February is always a great month to do an update as there are so many appropriate words starting with "F" in line with my normal monthly theme. For example, this month could have easily been called "fabulous" or "facts" or "faithful" to recognize the wonderful "loyal followers" we have; or even "farsighted" given our "prudent judgement and foresight"; and I'm sure Peter Hazell would agree on "fervent" given the pace he has been going all month.
But I decided that February would be "Fecund" February. The dictionary definition of "fecund" is "fruitful, fertile and productive". And February has certainly been all three of those.

Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project

The very big thing for February has been the start of the physical, on-ground works for the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project (MCLRP) at Mulloon Farm North! Pete Hazell got started at the beginning of the month pegging out various sites along Mulloon Creek. That was followed by the arrival of logs and rocks, excavator work and all else needed to construct a number of the creek interventions. So that work has been "fruitful" and "productive" and will result in extra "fertility". And Pete will say it has been "fervent"! Read more about Stage 1 of the MCLRP here.

By the end of February good progress has been made on this first stage. Meanwhile Pete and Cam Wilson have been "productive" in putting together detailed design for the next stages of the MCLRP covering Mulloon Farm South and Westview. Having prepared comprehensive documentation for the first stage of the MCLRP, Pete and Cam are using the prepared templates to populate with data for the next stages to gain NSW Office of Water approval. We expect that investment in time and intellectual property during the first stage will be "fruitful" in getting the next stages completed and approved.

Tarwyn Park Training

Meanwhile, Pete, Cam and Kelly have been preparing for our next four day workshop, beginning this Sunday with a tour of Martin Royds' Jillamatong property in Braidwood. Martin is on our Advisory Council and recently featured on the ABC TV's Four Corners episode, 'Weather Alert'.

This fourth workshop is again provided in collaboration with Tarwyn Park Training and will be carried out at Mulloon Creek Natural Farm's (MNCF) Home Farm, with theoretical work in the barn and practical work in the paddock. In preparation for the course Pete, Cam and Kelly have been updating our comprehensive "How to Guide", known more formally as the "Landscape Rehydration - Theory & Practice" publication. This document has proven to be a wonderful guide for workshop participants and is a work in progress that we are adding to each month to make it even better.

The Mulloon Institute (TMI) team has also been keeping up with many other jobs like reporting on the 20 Million Trees project and on the grant we received from the National Landcare Program to "spread the word" of landscape rehydration and regenerative agriculture. Both programs have been very beneficial and "fruitful" but the data has to be recorded and paper work needs to get done as well.

Speaking of data, Luke Peel has been busy compiling data ensuing from the frog surveys carried out late last year and immersing himself in the data produced from drone surveys carried out by Revolution Ag over MCNF's Duralla Farm. Luke, Pete and Cam have been evaluating the substantial spatial and other data recorded by Revolution Ag's drone and looking at how we might utilise the data in our design of further stages of the MCLRP, and ultimately the monitoring work that will continue into the future. We are quite excited about what might be possible using these emerging technologies.

Beyond the MCLRP, collected data is also assisting with the farming operations of MCNF, whose organic and biodynamic, pasture raised eggs are highly sought after in Sydney and the Canberra region. This data will be particularly useful for the farm's planned expansion of egg production, using available pastures and maintaining the 350 hens per hectare ratio that keeps the hens content. Farm Manager, Michael Fitzgerald, and his team are also very excited about the future growth with the help of new spatial and remote sensing technologies.

Mulloon Consulting, Contracting & Certifying

"Fruitful", "fertile" and "productive" can also be applied to Carolyn Hall and the Mulloon Consulting Contracting & Certifying (MCCC) team as they spread the word and identify opportunities to assist landholders and catchments in repairing and rehydrating the landscape. Carolyn and Cam visited the South Coast in February to inspect a property owned by The Scots College Sydney. You might recall from a previous monthly update last year that students from The Scots College camped at Mulloon to learn about TMI's work and also to experience hands on farming at MCNF. They are pictured above visiting Duralla.

The Scots College is incorporating landscape repair and regenerative agriculture into its curriculum, and to take that to another level, is also establishing a small farming operation on land gifted to it on the South Coast. But first they want to ensure the property's landscape is functioning correctly which is where MCCC comes in. Carolyn and Cam's visit is the commencement of that process and we look forward to working with The Scots College on this exciting project. Students from The Scots College will be back at Mulloon Creek for another two night camp at the end of March and Luke has been coordinating the agenda for that visit to ensure the students have an instructive and enjoyable experience. 

Carolyn has also been liaising with the Dry Tropics coordinator in Queensland about MCCC running some workshops for landholders in Townsville. There was much media recently about funding to prevent runoff from catchments in North Queensland that are impacting on the Great Barrier Reef. The work of TMI is the exact type of work that would not only repair and rehydrate degraded catchments in North Queensland, but also stop sediments running into the ocean. Fix the catchments and that will go a long way towards reversing the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef.

MCCC has been short-listed to present at the Life of Mine Conference in Brisbane later in 2018 which will be great opportunity to take TMI's work to another aspect of landscape repair - mine rehabilitation. Having worked as a surveyor on many mine sites throughout Australia and during my time as a Board Member of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority, I know only too well the opportunity and the need that exists. Very "fertile" opportunities here for MCCC to make a big difference to some very degraded landscapes.

Carolyn and Scott Middlebrook (MCNF and TMI) spent a couple of days in the Dubbo region too attending field days organized by Dubbo Regional Council and the Mid Macquarie Landcare group. Peter Andrews was the invited presenter and he covered a number of different issues and landscapes, demonstrating changes that could occur to restore plant processes. Landholders from that region were very interested in Peter's work and pleased to understand the way in which MCCC can assist them with on-ground advice and planning. John Fry from Skillset in Bathurst also attended so our long standing relationship with Skillset was enhanced with Carolyn and John touching base and then having a follow up meeting in Canberra.
Social media

While I trust you find my updates of interest you can also keep in touch through various social media that is managed by Kelly Thorburn. Kelly keeps all the relevant information flowing through our Facebook site, Twitter and Instagram so please feel free to comment or respond or bring our attention to interesting things happening in our space.

I sign off on this update on a sad note. On the last day of February Julia McPherson passed away at home on MCNF's Home Farm. Julia and her husband, Mark, have worked at MCNF for 13 years and anyone who has been to Tony and Toni's house or stayed in the Shearers Quarters will have had the benefit of Julia's excellent work and presentation of rooms. On behalf of everyone involved in The Mulloon Institute and MCCC I extend our sincere condolences to Mark and the family at this very sad time. Julia will be remembered fondly by us all.


Gary Nairn AO
The Mulloon Institute, Chairman


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