‘Gliders along the Campaspe’ is an initiative with links to Strathallan Family Landcare (SFL). Started up in 2010 by retired couple John and Veronica Groat this group was designed to join up passionate like-minded locals and farmers with an interest in the local environment. A meeting in 2012 members discussed finding small animals on barbed wire fences. When these animals were revealed to be the endangered Squirrel Glider, the group incorporated the animal as a major component of their environmental work.
Over time schools and other community groups became involved in the SFL’s new Squirrel Glider Project. In 2016 SFL received funding as part of the Victorian State Governments Threatened and Endangered Species Protection Initiative. This enabled them to provide funding to the Echuca Mens’ Shed for nest box kits which were assembled by school and community groups for use in the project.
By 2018 over 300 nest boxes had been established along the Campaspe River between Rochester and Echuca and a complete survey of boxes was achieved.
While the ‘Gliders along the Campaspe’ has become SFL’s major project, work still undertaken with tree planting on National Tree Day and the Campaspe Carp Catch now in its 8th year continues each October to remove the introduced Carp species from the river.
In June 2018 the group took on a new direction conjoining art and nature with ‘the birth’ of the For Love of Nature travelling art exhibition. Photographers and artists from across northern Victorian were invited to provide pieces for a pop-up display that focussed on threatened and endangered species in the region. The display was open at the Alton Gallery in Echuca during the month of June. The exhibition then travelled to Euroa to the old Flour Mill where school children and residents in a local aged care centre facility provided pieces for display. Then it was on the heritage Court House in Rochester where a magnificent artwork by a top Melbourne artist of the endangered Squirrel Glider has been produced for all to see on a large silo in the town.
The exhibition was concluded at the Barmah Forest Heritage Centre in Nathalia. Where after nearly two months, locals, tourists and groups of school children in the region visited the centre and had an opportunity to learn about endangered and threatened species in northern Victoria.
Meetings are held regularly on the last Sunday of every month at a range of locations including the Strathallan Hall, local hotels, restaurants and bakeries where members get-together to discuss findings and progress on environmental conservation in the local area.
A Squirrel Glider survey being conducted by SFL members using a next-box camera.