Grassroots by name, grassroots by nature: Island community takes future into its own hands

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Support from Kangaroo Island Grassroots Grants in 2022 assisted Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch to deliver substantial conservation outcomes through increased volunteer involvement. A further 10 community groups and landholders are the successful recipients of 2023 Kangaroo Island Grassroots Grants funding, enabling them to undertake a broad range of on-ground projects.

Grassroots by name, grassroots by nature: Island community takes future into its own hands

Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch Coordinator Tony Bartram says that increasing the local community’s “sense of stewardship” through on-ground conservation projects is vital for the island’s environmental and farming future.

Mr Bartram has witnessed first-hand how the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board’s Grassroots Grants projects have assisted in substantial conservation outcomes through increased volunteer involvement.

“It’s grassroots by name and grassroots by nature,” Mr Bartram said. “It’s getting small groups on the island to be actively involved in conservation efforts. We refer to our project as one in immersive education.

“If you take the people out there and they experience it, they’ll care for it. If people haven’t experienced something, you can’t expect them to care for it. By increasing the number of people that go out, increasing that sense of stewardship, that’s all to the good.”

The KILB has this week released the list of successful recipients of the 2023 Grassroots Grants, with 10 community groups and landholders sharing in $57,345 of funded projects.

The successful projects focus on a variety of landscape management issues including: continuing to remove arum lilies from Baudin Conservation Park, on-ground actions to protect the threatened Beyeria bush-pea, protecting and replacing burnt native vegetation in shelterbelts and along watercourses, supporting the installation of a weather station on western KI, investigating granular and foliar treatments to rectify manganese deficiencies incurred after liming acidic soil, and improving soil health and fertility through clay spreading and establishing perennial pastures.

Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch last year received $4,200 in Grassroots Grants funding to help increase citizen science research efforts of Common Bottlenose and Shortbeaked Common dolphins.

Mr Bartram said the funds had helped pay for a larger number of dolphin research surveys on the waters surrounding KI, leading to increased data collection and new knowledge of vital nursery locations.

“What is starting to emerge is our understanding of the importance of Dashwood Bay and North Cape as vital year-round breeding areas, and the work that may be needed to protect the corridor between them. The funding of this work actually gets people out in nature, surrounded by the sea, and that’s an uptick for mental health and wellbeing. We’ve seen volunteer numbers increase and there are so many benefits there.

“All the time you’re trying to improve the environment for everybody and that’s a very relevant thing because it means people are actually doing something of value and that helps them feel good about themselves.”

Click here to view the list of recipients of this year’s Grassroots Grants.

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