passion for preservation
PETER Jacobs has spent much of his working life either out in nature or working to protect it for future generations.
A resident from near Bright, Peter has been working at Trust for Nature, predominantly based in Wangaratta, since September last year.
Prior to that, he worked for many years with the National Parks Service (which became Parks Victoria), first beginning at Mount Buffalo National Park when he was still a student at Dookie Agricultural College and working his way up in park management to being chief ranger for the Alps.
His role then involved everything from conservation and protection of the environment and making sure that it’s in good condition, to focusing on visitors and tourism.
“I really enjoyed working across the whole spectrum of things with parks and visitors,” he said.
“Victoria has some fantastic parks, but also I really like working in the whole international scene as well.”
Peter is involved in an international association called the World Commission of Protected Areas, and is the chair of its Mountains Specialist Group.
This position has seen him visit mountainous areas throughout the world, learning and sharing knowledge with other countries.
“Most of my career has been working in the alps somewhere,” he said.
“I find it really interesting and challenging,” he said of his Trust for Nature work, which he tackled to make a change from his previous work and feed his broad interest in conservation.
Trust for Nature works with landholders to establish covenants of protected land on their properties and also advise people to help maintain those protected areas, with activities such as eradicating or minimising pest plants and animals, revegetation works, fencing and other tasks to help bolster the ecosystem.
Peter explained that the Federal Government has established a National Reserve System, to have various environments adequately represented in protected areas, but “a lot of the really important environmental values that are less protected are actually on private property.”
Funding for covenants comes from a range of state and federal sources.
“Covenants are normally established on environments that have got really special values,” he said.
“They’re often threatened or unrepresented vegetation communities, or threatened species, and are really important to be able to contribute to the national reserve system.
“Because they do cost money to establish… we do need to have funding and they’re generally quite targeted,” he said of the covenant system.
“But they’re protected in perpetuity and it becomes a formally protected area.
“But like parks, land does not just look after itself..
“Even though it’s protected, it still needs conservation work, which we assist with.”
Peter said the Trust and the State Government are working towards a target of having 200,000 more hectares placed under covenant over the next 20 years, which he described as a challenging target but one that the organisation is continually working towards.
He said Trust for Nature also works closely with related government departments such as DEWLP, catchment management authorities, Landcare, and Parks Victoria.
Peter has a passion for the North East environment through his work on public and private land from the Alps to the Murray River.
He is also president of the Upper Ovens Valley Landcare Group.
“The North East has so much to value,” he said.
“I hope this work across the landscape prepares us well for the challenges of the future, such as climate change.”
One of Peter’s colleagues, conservation officer Shae Brennan, said she has a similar drive to help preserve the environment for future generations and helps landowners develop their own management plans for the land.
She began working at Trust for Nature in late 2017, but worked in similar roles in NSW before that, and said that working with and engaging landholders was the best way to help encourage protecting land.
“Each landholder is different, but they all want to protect the environment into the future,” she said.
Meetings will be held in the near future to get feedback on the development of a Conservation Action Plan for the Lower Ovens River area that Trust For Nature is developing in tandem with NECMA.
The meetings will be held in Wangaratta on April 17 and May 9 and more information is available by contacting Lachlan Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“That action plan will then guide any future works and funding bids,” Peter said.
More information on the Trust For Nature and their work is available on www.trustfornature.org.au.
COMMITTED TO ENVIRONMENT: Peter Jacobs, who has been the area manager of Trust for Nature in the North East for the past six months, has spent his career working to preserve the environment.
WORKING TOGETHER: Peter Jacobs discusses work with Trust for Nature colleague, conservation officer Shae Brennan.