The Mulloon Institute  -  Enews - April 2019

From the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

The month of April might only have 30 days but we certainly packed plenty into this year's April at The Mulloon Institute (TMI). Not only did plenty happen but it was "aureate" in many ways. "Aureate" - meaning golden or gilded; but in our case more specifically "splendid or brilliant".

Funding update

Following on from Manna March, Luke Peel has led our team in getting down to the fine detail needed to finalise an agreement with the Commonwealth so that the grant announced in March can start being paid from 1 July 2019. The agreement sets out milestones for on-ground rehydration works, scientific benchmarking and monitoring and education and community engagement over the next five years. We expect the agreement will be ratified any day now forming a legal contract between TMI and the Commonwealth. "Splendid" work by Luke, Pete Hazell and Carolyn to finetune the detail.
Participants reflected in Peter's Pond
Mini Field Days

April saw plenty of exposure of what we are about to the broader public through a series of  Mini Field Days. Two were held during the month with a third sneaking into the start of May. All up nearly one hundred people attended with Luke guiding them through our work and achievements. He also had "brilliant" back up support from  Mulloon Creek Natural Farms (MCNF) Farm Manager, Michael Fitzgerald, as well as James Diack from TMI. People came from near and far and the feedback has been really positive.  Our next Field Days will be held after winter.

TMI is also partnering with  Upper Shoalhaven Landcare  in a full day Landscape Resilience Forum to be held in the barn at MCNF's Home Farm on Thursday 30 May. Tickets through EventbriteCheck our Events page for other upcoming events.

Sustainable fashion

On 15 April we were pleased to host a visit by Dr Helen Crowley, Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation for Kering, based in Paris. Land to Market leader, Tony Hill, along with participating farmers were taking Helen on a tour of regenerative agriculture in our district so dropped in for lunch and a chat with TMI and MCNF. 

While most of you probably don't know Kering, you will certainly know a number of the fashion brands it owns, for instance Gucci! It is yet another "splendid" example of major corporates taking an interest and responsibility in how food and fibre is produced with sustainability and regeneration at the fore.
Science communication

Our "brilliant" Science Advisory Council (SAC) has been putting its collective minds to the preparation of papers on the various data and analysis we are producing. As a not-for-profit we are keen to ensure the information we collect becomes available publicly. 

The SAC Chairman, Professor Steve Dovers, has suggested a "Framework Paper" in the first instance covering our long term research of landscapes and monitoring in a social context. From there more detailed research papers will develop. Ultimately we would endeavour to have all these papers published in appropriate journals, both in Australia and internationally.
Geography teachers conference

Peter Hazell and Luke Peel attended the Geography Teachers Association of NSW & ACT conference in early April, presenting content for the Sustainable Biomes curricula followed by a hands-on workshop. 

Luke's presentation covered landscape processes and management of past (Gondwanaland to Aboriginal settlement), since European settlement and what future practices need to aim to achieve and how. 

Peter's workshop involved theory along with practical experiments showing how sun, gravity, water, temperature, and humidity interact with the landscape and biological processes to manage Earth's climate. Both sessions were fully booked with 30 teachers who were impressed and eager to take the practical demonstrations back to their students.

Mulloon Creek Natural Farms

We're currently working with Grow Love Project (GLP)  to help get our story out there. GLP are  a  social enterprise that entertains and educates farmers and the general public through agricultural film.  More to come soon!

Pete discussing MCLRP Stage 1 with landholders

Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project

A "splendid" milestone was reached during April and that was the completion of the  Controlled Activity Application (CAA) covering the property "Palerang" within the  Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project (MCLRP). Pete Hazell, Cam Wilson and Bill McAlister did a great job in preparing the comprehensive documentation required by the NSW Office of Water. Pete was taking the landholders,  Ulli and Sue Tuisk, through it before submitting it for approval. The application covers approximately 3kms of creek and 14 structures will be built. We anticipate construction happening in early spring.

Thanks to work of Dr Richard Thackway of VAST Transformations, a baseline assessment has been completed on the vegetation condition within the MCLRP and the Mulloon Creek Catchment. This will allow us to compare the effects of installing leaky weirs to rehydrate soil-landscapes during the project. You can view the VAST report here

 Upstream view towards flood channel at 'Cuba Plains', North Queensland

Mulloon Consulting Contracting & Certifying

The other "aureate" milestone completed in early April was Cam Wilson's design work on the demonstration farms  Mulloon Consulting Contracting & Certifying (MCCC) has been commissioned to undertake by the  NQ Dry Tropics NRM. With the completion of the design this project goes to the next phase with construction in due course. The value of Cam's work up in North Queensland has already been proven as an initial structure previously completed survived the incredible floods in the Townsville region. Some very appreciative farmers up north!

And Pete Hazell will be travelling to Central Queensland with MCCC to deliver a two day workshop for the Fitzroy Basin Association providing practical demonstrations of erosion control works to mitigate gully erosion and an introduction to landscape rehydration methods suitable for use in North Queensland. The Fitzroy Basin is the largest water catchment draining into the Great Barrier Reef. 

Hands-on learning
Tarwyn Park Training

"Aureate" April finished with another  four day workshop in partnership with  Tarwyn Park Training and as well as being fully subscribed with 18 participants there was an extra "special" student, me! Stuart Andrews has been keen to get me to participate for the full course and I'm so glad I put the time aside. With Stuart, Gwyn Jones, Pete Hazell and Peter Andrews as my teachers I learnt so much. In particular, the practical work out in the field was very rewarding as it was very hands on - even my 30 year career as a surveyor came in handy! While I've known for many years the ability of Peter Andrews to read the landscape and how it works, the four days reinforced so much particularly with the added practical knowledge of Stuart and Gwyn's expertise with plants. I came away saying to myself, even in my sleep,  "Slow the flow; let all plants grow; careful where the animals go; and filter the flow is a must know"- "brilliant". Watch out I'm ready to convince all and sundry that our workshops are a MUST DO!

Our next training course will run from 14 - 17 October 2019 - full details here. Contact  James Diack to secure your spot - or 0438 211 155.
Chairman's Award

You may recall that last November I had the very great honour of receiving the prestigious Australia Organic Limited's Chairmans' Award on behalf of TMI and MCNF in recognition of Tony Coote's support and contribution to organic farming in Australia. This month I finally brought  that award home to Tony's Home Farm.
Until next month, happy rehydrating if you are on the land and thank-you for your support.

Best wishes,

Gary Nairn AO
The Mulloon Institute, Chairman


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