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Issue Number #30
Issue Date Summer 2005
Number of Articles Online 1 Articles
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Title President's Report
Author Anne Griffiths
Position President

After two years of not knowing what the future held for the Understorey Network, or indeed if it even had a future, we've come out of the doldrums and once again are flying! We have received a grant through the Natural Heritage Trust to continue but with a slightly different focus, which is explained elsewhere in this newsletter. Special thanks must go to Liz, Helen and Anna who never gave up, and without whom we would not be in the great position we are in to-day. Thank you too to all you members who had enough faith and belief in what the USN tries to achieve to retain your membership even though we were not able to offer you as much in the way of field days etc as we normally like to do.

The USN Co-ordinator position has been replaced by that of a Project Manager, who, as the name implies, will manage the various projects that we need to do to fulfill the requirements of our funding grant. More of the routine and mundane jobs in running the USN will be done by the committee members, much as we have done over the last two years.

Our new Project Manager (?our PM) is Ruth Mollison, who comes to us from a varied background which most recently included positions as an NRM facilitator in the North of the state, and as a Waterwatch co-ordinator. She has brought a great deal of enthusiasm to the position which is very infectious! She has been given an office at Greening Australia, and we look forward very much to working closely with GAT to our mutual benefit.

It is of course the old story of the more you put in, the more you get out. This is so true of my time with the USN since I first picked up an application form at Agfest several years ago. Since then, though I have always loved "the bush", I have come to appreciate more and more the uniqueness of our Tasmanian environment, and become passionate about the need to protect what we have left. It is disappearing so fast, and once it's gone it's very difficult, if not impossible, to get it back. After protection, regeneration is the next best bet. This is where the USN can play such an important role, not just by putting plants in the ground but by education and example for the people out there who want to do the right thing but don't quite know where to start.

I worry that the emphasis on protecting the "Old Growth Forests" detracts from the importance of preserving all the natural bush we have left. The USN, with its focus on the understorey as well as the canopy, and therefore by default on the biodiversity that is so important for our survival, fills a spot in the conservation movement that would otherwise be vacant.

But that's one of my (many) soapboxes, so I'll clamber down and wish you all the best for an exciting and interesting 2005 as a member of a dynamic group with so many important things to do. I hope to meet you all eventually at one of our field or education days, and finally - dare I suggest it? - at the Annual General Meeting in August!


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