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Guest blog by Cheryl Duffin: Special thanks to our forest defenders

I've just returned from a visit to Central Victoria were I did a guided walk with Bush Heritage on "John Douglas Reserve ". I was delighted to learn that Bob Brown was the founder of Bush Heritage! What an amazing vision he had back then and what invaluable work they have accomplished.

John Douglas was a farmer/conservationist who donated his farm to Bush Heritage. There are three main terrains on the property that hasn't been farmed for 60 years. There's a heavily treed area (still very young trees) some open ground with orchids , grasses and ground covers, then scrubby bush area full of grevillias and other shrubs. Sadly I didn't retain much information in my brain nor notes or photos. You meet very interesting people on these guided walks, but I'm just a tree hugger.

Driving back from St. Arnauds, I was acutely aware that I was in wheat and Canola country, not a lot of trees left. As I drove through the next town it said Black Box country, but all I could see was remnants of these majestic old black box gums left on the side of the road some with hollows, some dead, some living and I was reminded of how long it takes for these hollows to form!

I had learned that day how to spot a hollow that had been used, as the bark would be cleared away from the hole and that birds and other wildlife use the bark for lining the nest. Just one day in the forest has given me a whole new appreciation for old growth forest and how important they are for my wellbeing let alone all the creatures that depend on these trees. I give special thanks to our forest defenders and the BBF.

P.S. and the swift parrot lives in the John Douglas Reserve.

Yours sincerely,

Cheryl Duffin

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