NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean and local MLC Ben Franklin visited Victoria Park Nature Reserve on 8th July 2020 to meet the Big Scrub Landcare leaders to learn about our work in restoring critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest, particularly in current SoS Conservation Co-funding project. The visit made history as it was the first time since BSL was established 27 years ago that the NSW Environment Minister has come to the Big Scrub, which has richest diversity of plants and the largest number of threatened species of any NSW ecosystem.

It was a great opportunity for Big Scrub Executive Team members Tony Parkes, Mark Dunphy, Martin Brook and Georgie Jones to meet the Minister in an informal setting. The Minister is young, intelligent, articulate, approachable and a great advocate for the environment. He was keen to learn about what is happening on the ground in environmental restoration and the conservation of endangered species and ecological communities in our region. He wanted to learn about BSL’s work in restoring critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest, particularly in the current SoS Conservation Co-funding project.

In an informal presentation, BSL President Tony Parkes talked about BSL’s history of success over 27 years towards achieving its mission of helping to save critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest and its many threatened species for extinction. He highlighted BSL long, productive and close working relationship with NSW government entities including the Environmental Trust, National Parks and the Saving our Species unit.

Tony described the successful outcomes being achieved in BSL’s Conservation Co-funding project in partnership with SoS. BSL is contributing $264,000 to this project over four years and SoS is contributing $290,400. He stressed the benefits of this innovative program to the NSW Government, its partners such as BSL and the conservation of threatened species and communities. He urged the Minister to continue this excellent program.

Tony also took the opportunity to tell the Minister and his visiting colleagues about the Science Saving Rainforests program that BSL is leading. The Environmental Trust is providing a $200,000 research grant that will cover part of the costs of DNA sequencing and genome analysis of 23 species in the initial plantation. He invited the Minister to become an ongoing partner in this internationally innovative program.