Tracy McNamara, CEO
For most Australians there have been some very dark days in the past 18 months. All of us, I suspect, have at some stage felt weighed down by the restrictions the virus has imposed, and this is added to when we confront the state of our biodiversity.
It was the observation of one of our supporters that lifted my spirits:
“Every time I look at the results of our Foundation’s work, I feel better, and I do so every time I start to feel sad about the state of play,” she said.
It was a poignant reminder that even in difficult times, an outward glance can restore faith in the good humans can do when they put their minds to it and come together.
The Good Being Achieved
It might be apposite then on Australia’s Threatened Species Day (7 September) to reflect on the value of committed conservation and the good being achieved.
It’s in the area of conservation – so often the topic of doom and gloom as habitats and species are under threat or, worse, disappear - where there is genuine cause to take heart. In Australia, there are so many amazing organisations doing great work.
This ranges from simple but important tasks like replanting degraded bush through to more ambitious efforts to build robust populations of species behind secure fencing.
Our Foundation, now in its second quarter of a century of operation, boasts an enviable track record – nearly 40 successful projects and programs that have prevented further species extinction.
Among other projects, Western Quolls are back living in the northern Ikara-Flinders Ranges and thriving; we’re monitoring and protecting Numbats in the wheat belt of Western Australia; work continues to protect Petrels on Lord Howe Island and Dunnarts on Kangaroo Island; Bush Stone-Curlews continue to breed to build a healthy insurance population in Victoria.
The importance of continuing the work
As the supporters of our Foundation are fond of reminding us: ‘whenever we heal a piece of the planet, we heal ourselves.’ I suspect this sentiment is what underlies the ability of our work to make people feel better – about themselves and about the prospects of the world in which we live.
I don’t wish to convey a false sense of complacency – in truth, I don’t believe that conservation work will ever be done. There will always be another species of flora or fauna that faces danger and that will need help.
To make things happen, the challenge for not-for-profits like FAME is to ensure we are there; that we are involved in affordable projects that have an excellent chance of success. We have done it for more than 25 years thanks to the commitment and foresight of our members, donors and wide community of stakeholders.
Success in our area comes from working with like-minded on-ground partners, and retaining the confidence of our supporters. I believe our track record demonstrates our success thus far.
FAME will soon release its new five-year strategic plan – a blueprint for the foreseeable future. It lists the values and supporting pillars which will carry the Foundation forward and that will add to the inspiring conservation work happening across Australia.
It may yet be some time before the country emerges into its new ‘normal’ but, in the meantime FAME will do its part to reflect a nation aware of its environmental responsibilities.
We know that together, we can make a difference.