Happy Birth­day FGA

Field & Game Aus­tralia cel­e­brated its 60th birth­day in style at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground.

Field and Game - - 2018 NATIONAL CARNIVAL -

The birth­day cake was cut by Tom Chick, who was granted Life Mem­ber­ship of Field & Game Aus­tralia dur­ing the evening.

The ci­ta­tion read:

‘Upon join­ing the board in the early 2000s, Tom, through his sound fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, en­abled the board to nav­i­gate its way through a se­vere fi­nan­cial cri­sis, which threat­ened the fu­ture of FGA. ‘Dur­ing his 15 years as a board mem­ber Tom not only took re­spon­si­bil­ity for the fi­nan­cial as­pects of FGA, but played an im­por­tant op­er­a­tional role in a num­ber of ma­jor projects and key ac­tiv­i­ties from con­ser­va­tion projects, Duck Sea­son open­ings, the Na­tional Car­ni­vals, as well as hu­man re­sources and pay­roll mat­ters. ‘Tom has al­ways dis­played com­mit­ment and a will­ing­ness to get in­volved. He per­son­i­fies the vol­un­teerism that FGA val­ues and re­lies on.’ A few days later, the sig­nif­i­cance of the award was still sink­ing in for a man whose pas­sion for FGA is un­bri­dled. “It was to­tally un­ex­pected and it is tak­ing a while to sink in; it is very much ap­pre­ci­ated,” Tom said. Tom said he was for­tu­nate to have the nec­es­sary skills at a time when they were most needed. “It was very tough: we had, as the of­fi­cial record states, a fraud, and we were sup­ported very strongly by our branches to get back on our feet,” he said. “I steered the ship but I had a great chair­man and a ter­rific set of peo­ple on the board. We did what we had to do: re­store sys­tems, turn around the fi­nances and set a plat­form for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

While the turn­around in fi­nances was sig­nif­i­cant, Tom said that, dur­ing the same pe­riod, mem­ber­ship grew from 8500 to 17 000, the Na­tional Car­ni­val was es­tab­lished as a premier event, and

FGA re­turned to be­ing a strong voice for con­ser­va­tion, hunt­ing and re­spon­si­ble firearm own­er­ship. “My role was just one part of that,” he said. “Walk­ing into the room for the 60th was ab­so­lutely bril­liant, to see old friends and to see an or­gan­i­sa­tion that still has so much pas­sion.”

Max Downes, a pa­tron of Field & Game Aus­tralia, gave an im­promptu ad­dress at the din­ner on the im­por­tance of re­mind­ing non-hunters of our con­ser­va­tion his­tory and our im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to pre­serv­ing wet­land habi­tat.

Pro­fes­sor Mar­cel Klaassen from Deakin Univer­sity gave the key­note speech on his im­por­tant re­search into avian in­fluenza.

The sug­ges­tion that an­other pan­demic like Span­ish flu, which killed more peo­ple glob­ally than were killed by mu­ni­tions in World War I, is a mat­ter of when, not if, might seem a lit­tle glum for a party.

How­ever, Prof Klaassen had plenty of pos­i­tives to re­port, par­tic­u­larly his re­la­tion­ship with Gee­long Field & Game and his grat­i­tude to hunters for help­ing gather live and dead bird sam­ples for his re­search.

There was also en­cour­age­ment for the con­sump­tion of wild meat.

The con­text was global warm­ing vs the dra­matic growth in meat con­sump­tion (par­tic­u­larly chicken).

His ver­dict: in­ten­sive meat pro­duc­tion comes at a grow­ing cost to the planet, so tak­ing a wild duck for the ta­ble is ac­tu­ally bet­ter for the planet, mak­ing hunters a tinge greener than most peo­ple imag­ine.

Peter Hawker with Terry Whe­lan, Norm El­liot and David Young Ray and Sh­eryl Agg en­joy­ing the oc­ca­sion

Tom Chick with Life Mem­ber ci­ta­tion

Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies Russ Bate

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