MEET THE SGLN BOARD
OUR PASSIONATE TEAM HELP KEEP SGLN ON TRACK
Frank Dekker – Chair
Hallston Landcare Group
Frank has been a resident of Hallston his entire life. He is married to Jeanne and together they have two beautiful daughters Evie 13 and Simone 12. He is heavily involved in numerous sporting clubs particularly tennis, badminton and golf. While he spent a short period of his life teaching, his working life has predominantly been spent as a dairy farmer. Initially as a farm hand, then as a share farmer and now owning the family farm. The Landcare movement has long interested Frank and he feels the principles of sustainable agriculture need to be explored to care and protect our valuable land. The Hallston Landcare Group required a new secretary and with experience in this type of role, Frank was only too happy to follow Mike Carnell’s excellent role as past secretary. The Hallston Landcare Group has a strong core of members and is steadily expanding its membership. Frank was appointed as Vice Chair in 2014.
Mark Walters – Vice Chair
Poowong Landcare Group
Mark was appointed as Chair of the Board in 2014, he has operated an Accounting and Financial Planning business in Melbourne for the past 29 years. Eight years ago he purchased 240 acres of rolling hills at Loch. He runs beef cattle on the property. The farm had very little vegetation on it and Mark is in the process of revegetating the gullies and providing shelter belts for stock. Both Landcare and Melbourne Water have provided assistance for this. He has also put in 25 ha of commercial timber plantation for saw log timber. Mark was involved in the Slow the Flow project in Westernport as a cluster representative and was appointed to the SGLN Board in 2010.
Mardan Mirboo North Landcare Group
Mark has been a member of the SGLN Board for 10 years fullfilling the role of Board Chair from 2012-2014. Mark originally comes from Melbourne where he worked as an IT Manager. In 2003 he established a native seed business and developed several novel techniques to collect and process native seed for speciﬁc revegetation projects. Mark has collected large quantities of seed for projects such as the Basslink Offset Project in Giffard and the Delatite Arm Revegetation Project on Lake Eildon. More recently he has been involved in Bushﬁre Recovery work in the Latrobe Valley and most recently was the Project Manager for the GippsTAFE Bushﬁre Recovery and Community Jobs Project which employed about 40 trainees and works crew to assist with bushﬁre recovery activities in the Latrobe Valley.
Hallston Landcare Group
Jean worked for 20 years as an I.T. professional in the Finance Industry in Melbourne before making a tree-change with husband Mike to Hallston in 2000. They were lucky to ﬁnd a beautiful small acreage with bush, birds, animals and a creek. They joined the Hallston Landcare Group and quickly became part of the local community. They have planted about 2000 trees on the property to provide wild-life corridors; many have survived in spite of the predations of the local wallabies.Jean became a member of the SGLN Steering Committee and since then has served on the various Network Management Committees and the Board. Jean’s passion is for the improvement of biodiversity in our region, and has been President of the South Gippsland Seed Bank for over 10 years. Jean received a highly commended for the Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award at the State Landcare Awards.
Mardan Mirboo North Landcare Group
Helen has been an active member of the Mardan Mirboo North Landcare group since 2004. Helen and her husband, Ian, live full time on their South Gippsland beef property where they have planted over 10,000 trees for waterways, landslips, shelterbelts and koalas. They were members of a conservation group when they used to live in Melbourne and undertook planting and weed eradication in parks and flora and fauna reserves for about 25 years. Prior to moving to South Gippsland the Hasty’s also ran a lighting manufacturing business. Helen is a keen beekeeper and gardener. Helen joined the Board in 2014.
Russell Swan – Treasurer
Tarwin Valley/Nerrena Landcare Group
Russell joined the Board in 2015 and is originally from the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne with a 25 year background in Banking and International Finance. Currently he is the Finance and Administration Manager of Saxton Speakers Bureau.
Five years Russell, and his wife Jenni, made the move to South Gippsland. They run beef cattle on a 170 acre, hill country farm at Stony Creek. The farm initially had very little vegetation on it and so they are in the process of re-vegetating Stony Creek, which flows through the property. To date the Swan’s have planted approximately 4,000 trees along the creek, providing a corridor to remnant bush on neighbouring properties.
Russell was a founding member and the inaugural Secretary of the Tarwin Valley Landcare group at its inception in 2011 and he continues to be an active member of the group. Having completed the Whole Farm Planning course, Russell valued the experience that the lecturers shared. This further inspired Russell to work with Landcare to improve the property, waterways and revegetate to encourage indigenous flora and fauna back to the area.
Mardan Mirboo North Landcare group
Libby has worked for 20 years as an environmental scientist including in senior management of national not-for-profit community groups, green industry and state and local governments. She has been a member of a number of boards over the years including the Alternative Technology Association, CERES Community Environment Park, Mardan & Mirboo North Landcare, Southern Bushfoods Association, South East Councils Climate Change Association, Sustainability Victoria, and Westernport Biosphere Foundation. She has been honoured with a Commonwealth Centenary Medal for Services to the Community in the Development of Renewable Energy.
Libby has skills and experience in environmental management, strategy development, community education programs, project management, financial management, corporate governance, media and marketing, report writing, public speaking and fund-raising.
With a strong commitment to all aspects of sustainable living, Libby brings this knowledge to the Network. Having been a member of Landcare for over 10 years, She is keen to improve the biodiversity of the area. As a member of Birdlife Australia, LIbby participates in the annual Birds In Backyard survey. She has also been involved in SGLN’s Koala monitoring program.
Recently she and her husband retired and moved full-time to their passive solar, strawbale house on a 13 acre farm near Mirboo. They share this land with resident wombats and koalas and have fenced off and been revegetating two creeks, a wetland and fern gully. Having undertaken farm planning and pasture management courses, Libby hopes to learn more and support sustainable agricultural practices. She and her husband have been experimenting with growing bushfoods on our property and provide produce to a local bushfood business.
Fish Creek Landcare Group
David says “my interest in the environment was likely instilled by my father whom owned and loved a significant parcel of bushland and adjoining pine forest. As a young boy, I would spend my weekends helping out on his block, planting and tending to many trees over the years. I continued this practice on my own farm in Yanakie over the last 10 years. I have been lucky enough to be awarded several landcare grants (20 acres revegegetation via Landcare – all up and 10 more acres by myself. I have also cleared blackberry etc from a similar amount of land on the adjoining foreshore frontage (Corner Inlet – Red Bluff area).”
David considers himself somewhat of a free thinker who often distills problems down to basics for brainstorming. He is trained as an Engineer with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, from Monash 1984.
David is on the board (director) at Tek Ocean (an oilfield services company). Tek are operating in Barry Beach, Melbourne and Perth.
He is also the father to two young children.
Tarwin Landcare Group
Ray says “I have always been interested in conservation issues, Landcare, care and appreciation of bushland, bushwalking, organic growing, permaculture and habitat preservation from my childhood times (or last 60 years). I co-owned and preserved a 20 acre bush block at Buln Buln East from 1976 to 1995 and was the foundation treasurer of the Gippsland Self Sufficiency and Conservation Group from 1979 to 1993.”
Ray was the treasurer of the Mardan Mirboo Nth Landcare group from about 2000 to 2013 and he was actively involved in tree planting on member’s farms, roadside reserves and community spaces. With his partner, he helped plant about 1000 trees on their 4 acre property at Mardan South which encouraged koalas to come and reside permanently in the trees. They also had a Land for Wildlife rating for their frog dam. He has been the secretary of the Tarwin Landcare Group since 2014 and is currently supporting Michael Buckley’s Silver Banksia Nursery concept and planting trees along the Tarwin to Venus Bay shared pathway.
Ray majored in physical geography and studied some geology at Melbourne University from 1973 to 1975 particularly focusing on vegetation, soil types and coastal geomorphology and is currently working part-time as a psychologist in private practice.