Bush Heritage Australia - Seeding the Future
Bush Heritage Australia represents a special part of both our past and future as a Foundation. VFFF first supported Bush Heritage in 2006, approving $850,000 towards the purchase of Scottsdale Reserve. In FY22, Bush Heritage became VFFF’s largest grant in the Caring for the Environment focus area.
Over the course of Bush Heritage’s 30-year history, the organisation has transformed from a small landholder in Tasmania to a national not for profit committed to conserving biodiversity across Australia. The organisation now protects 1.2 million hectares of land through its network of reserves and helps manage a further 10.1 million hectares through partnerships with First Nations people and other landholders. And the organisation’s growth ambitions are not slowing down.
Bush Heritage recently released its 2030 Strategy, outlining an ambitious plan to deepen and double its impact across 30 million hectares. For this to be achieved, Bush Heritage needs to significantly grow its workforce and train the next generation of Australian conservationists – and that’s where the Seeding the Future program comes in.
There is significant demand from young environmentalists to secure practical experience in the conservation sector to complement their studies. This demand, coupled with Bush Heritage’s recognition of their growing workforce needs over the next decade, meant that the historic ad-hoc approach to internships and student placements was no longer serving the organisation well. Bush Heritage identified the need to not only increase their capacity to host students, but also take the administrative and mentoring pressure of managing internships and placements away from field-based staff. A $754,819 grant over three years from VFFF has enabled a dedicated program team to be established to achieve these goals.
The Seeding the Future program will provide more opportunities for early-career conservationists to gain paid work experience through internships, traineeships, including Aboriginal-identified positions, and PhD placements across all areas of Bush Heritage’s work. This program will not only help provide Bush Heritage with a pool of passionate, job-ready young people to meet their growing needs, but also help fulfill the needs of other organisations in the sector. Eventually, we may even see one of these emerging conservationists work at the Scottsdale Reserve that marked the beginning of VFFF’s relationship with Bush Heritage.