A TEAM of hardworking helpers have assisted a spritely local farmer keep her cattle safe and contained on her Carboor property, thanks to a practical state government initiative.
Maisie Enders and her late husband Stan dedicated much of their lives to restoring their land and at 90 years old, Maisie now manages the 120 hectare farm by herself.
The couple bought the property in 1953 and later practiced regenerative farming and holistic farm management.
Maisie said it was her husband’s idea to put the entire farm under a conservation convenant in 2004, protecting the important habitat and their sustainable farming system forever.
She said Stan planted a lot of trees before he died and she shared his interest in protecting the natural environment, doing her bit by caring for orphaned animals.
“I’ve been looking after wildlife since the late fifties or early sixties,” she said.
“I’ve had everything over the years, from tiny little pygmy possums to kangaroos and wallabies and even a couple of platypus.
“Any bird, animal or reptile - I’ve even had goannas, although I draw the line at snakes - I can’t handle them.”
Unfortunately Maisie’s boundary fences had begun to fall into disrepair and the cattle were getting out, so she was delighted when Trust for Nature found a solution for her.
Through the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA), Trust for Nature has had access to Working for Victoria crews funded by the state government to support landholders with covenants throughout the catchment.
Working for Victoria (WFV) is a state government initiative responding to COVID-19, matching jobseekers, including those who lost their jobs in the pandemic, to employers who need them.
The North East CMA has employed three teams working with organisations including Landcare, Trust for Nature and Parklands Albury Wodonga, as well as with private landholders.
A team of seven - Blake, Chris, Alex,
Isaak, Bryce, Shannon and Fraser - got to work on Maisie’s dilapidated fences.
“They were wonderful young men,” she said.
“They fixed the fences, hung some gates so they would open smoothly and slashed some grass off the electric fence for me which was really good and just what I needed.”
Chris and Isaak, who have completed undergraduate degrees in environmental management and science, said the program helped them gain practical skills and certifications.
Alex, who grew up on a local farm, said he enjoyed the opportunity to be out of the office.
The crew has been helping out other landholders in the region, including Diana Simpson, whose covenant is adjacent to Warby-Ovens National Park.
The crew removed old fencing, giving wildlife unrestricted access to the park.
Trust for Nature’s North area manager Amelia Houghton said thanks to Working for Victoria, Trust for Nature has been able to provide much-needed assistance to more than 20 landholders with conservation covenants in North East Victoria.
“Trust for Nature has been really pleased by how the Working for Victoria program is being delivered, and the close collaboration between North East CMA and Trust for Nature has made the process of linking the crews to landholders seamless,” she said.
“Trust for Nature has received very positive feedback from landholders who are impressed by the skill level, professionalism, and attention to detail that the community liaison officer and work crews are displaying.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Trust for Nature as it has allowed us to provide more support for landholders to protect their conservation covenants, particularly those recovering from bushfires.”