The Mulloon Institute  -  Enews - June & July 2019

From the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

You will have noticed I didn't send my usual monthly update at the end of June, so I have combined June with July with the agricultural term 'joining', even though it is probably not the right time of the year in most parts of Australia to 'join' !

For Rose and I, most of June was spent in the UK. Some will know that another 'hat' I wear is Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award in Australia, so some duties in that regard took us to London and Windsor. 

Gary Nairn AO (right) with Rose Nairn, at Rothamsted Research in the UK

Visiting Rothamsted Research

While in the UK, I took the opportunity to liaise with our international 'sister' agricultural research organisation,  Rothamsted Research , the oldest agricultural research centre in the world. We had a great catchup with Professor John Crawford who sits on our Science Advisory Council and has always taken an active interest in our work. We also spoke with several of their scientists and visited a selection of their innovative research projects, some of which fall under the regenerative banner.

Leaky weirs in the UK

We also watched a BBC program called Country File, similar in style to the ABC's Landline program. One story, 'West Yorkshire', covered work being carried out in the catchment of flood prone areas. 

In many parts of the UK, villages were established low in the valley where a local stream flowed. Over the centuries, clearing for agriculture and forestry took place higher in the catchment, and when large floods happened water quickly collected in the bottom of the catchment, right where the villages were. Their solution has involved constructing 'leaky dams' in the gullies and replanting vegetation. Just like our work, they recognised the need to 'slow the flow' and 'let plants grow'. As a result, flood impacts have reduced dramatically. These solutions are significantly more effective, better for the overall environment and much cheaper than the hard engineering solution of levee banks previously used.  Learn more about the  Slow the Flow Calderdale project.

Stream gauge logger & telemetry system
Mulloon Community Landscape  Rehydration Project

Research Coordinator Luke Peel, Science Officer James Diack* and experienced hydrologist Tony Bernardi (University of Canberra) were busy during June and July with regular hydrological instrumentation maintenance at the Home Farm, Duralla, Mulloon Farm and Palerang. Maintenance of this instrumentation is vital to the successful monitoring of the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project (MCLRP) as it provides critical data to capture baseline data prior to works being conducted in Mulloon Creek, and the ongoing monitoring of results into the future.

Dr Leah Moore (Australian National University) and Richard Campbell (Hydroterra) also joined Luke and Tony during the period to conduct field reconnaissance for the substantial expansion of hydrological monitoring instrumentation across the Mulloon catchment. 

Luke has recently finalised our first year work plan for the Federal Government's $3.8m funding
and following its acceptance we have now received the first tranche of those funds.

* We are pleased to welcome James Diack as TMI's new Science Officer! He will be helping Luke with monitoring and instrument maintenance, as well as handling training queries and organising field days and farm tours at Mulloon.

Ginninderry Consultant Team on site inspection

Mulloon Consulting Contracting & Certifying

Before I left for the UK, Carolyn Hall, Cam Wilson and I visited the  Ginninderry development   on the ACT/NSW border.   MCCC has been asked to give advice on the treatment of stormwater from the development  along the many gullies that run into the Murrumbidgee River. This 30 year development extends from the ACT and into the Yass Shire, and it's very positive that the developers can see the importance of maintaining and improving its environmental outcomes.

Meanwhile, Peter Hazell and Bill McAllister have been busy with finalising Site Assessment reports for properties at Bellmount Forest near Yass, and at Michelago. With increasing landholder interest in assistance from MCCC, we recently advertised for a Landscape Rehydration Design Consultant and will have someone starting in that role very soon.
Mulloon Creek Natural Farms

Mulloon Creek Natural Farms is proud to report that, with thanks to Alicia and our team, we received both the 'First' and the 'Champion' awards in our first appearance at the 2019 Royal Canberra Poultry Show - Commercial Eggs!

'Champion' is the highest honour and is measured against several key criteria such as yolk, albumen, chalazae, freshness, shell texture, bloom and appearance.

Thanks to all the other ACT and NSW competitors and congratulations to the hard working Committee on a well run event. The judge was Meg Miller OAM - considered Australia's leading egg and poultry judge and editor of the Australasian Poultry magazine.

Franklin Grasslands workshop

Events & presentations

The Mulloon Institute staff have been out and about presenting at various external events over the last two months, helping spread the word and share our story of landscape rehydration and regeneration at Mulloon Creek.

Events have included: the  County Women's Association 's annual Wollondilly Group Agriculture and Environment Day; the 'Building Resilience into the Landscape - Earth Canvas Workshop' at Gillian Sandbrook's Bibbaringa property near Holbrook; and, 
Friends of Grasslands meeting at a  grassland reserve in the ACT suburb of Franklin, Gungahlin.


Mulloon Creek Field Days

You may recall our series of Mini Field Days held in April/May this year that were popular and well attended. 

Some key findings from our post event surveys revealed that up to 17% of attendees had travelled more than 3 hours to attend, 28% were less than one hour away, with the balance somewhere in between. Over 90% of people said they were either impressed, or very impressed, with the field day! Consistent comments included, "seeing things in the field made for better understanding", "quality of presentation/presenters/information was high", and "the combination of perspectives and information was valued". 

While we will do more mini field days in the future, we are currently planning a major field day (with about 100 attendees) for Saturday 2 November 2019, so look out for that.
Education strategic planning

Late in July the TMI, MCCC and MCNF team participated in an Education Strategic Planning Day facilitated by David Hardwick (Soil Land Food). It was a great but challenging day as we explored the broader goals of TMI, and how education and capacity building can contribute to those goals. We also reflected on the stages of education and capacity building and identified key and priority stakeholders and discussed key tactics to improve and expand our capacity building activities.
Inaugural Tony Coote AM Memorial Dinner & Lecture

By the time you read this monthly update the inaugural Tony Coote AM Memorial Dinner and Lecture will have happened. This will be an annual event held at this time of the year to coincide with Tony's passing in 2018. I'll report more on that event in my August update.

Meanwhile, you can view one of the special films we had produced for this memorable evening. Please click on the link below to view the film by  Nviro Media.

Next month we will feature the other film produced and screened on the night, thanks to the  Grow Love Project.
The Mulloon Institute - Rehydrating Australia

'The Mulloon Institute - Rehydrating Australia', Nviro Media, (9mins 24 sec)

Dates for the diary

Resilient Farming Communities: Planning for Climate Uncertainty
Friday 16 August 2019,  Boorowa Community Landcare. More details.

ANU - Living with Climate Change Panel Discussion
Sunday 18 August 2019,  Australian National University, Canberra. More details .

Jillamatong Regenerative Agriculture Farm Tour 
Saturday 1 September 2019,  At Martin Royds' property near Jillamatong.   More details .

Regenerative Agriculture Conference WA
Wednesday 11 September 2019,  Optus Stadium, Perth Western Australia. More details.

Natural Sequence Farming training
13-17 +  20-24 October 2019 (Mulloon Creek). More details

Mulloon Creek Field Day 
Saturday 2 November 2019,  To be held at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms. More details soon.
And finally a huge thank you to so many people that responded to my end of financial year donation request. We had a really great response which will allow us to expand our work more broadly. In the upcoming August update, I will update you on just how we will put those generously donated funds to work.

All the best,

Gary Nairn AO
The Mulloon Institute, Chairman


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