After seeing trees on steep slopes ‘plucked’ out of the ground while on holidays in the United States, one of the first things Fran Church did when she returned home was to contact Trust for Nature and ask for a covenant to be put on some of her property.
Until then Fran thought the remnant Mountain Ash on her South Gippsland property was safe, given they were growing on steep slopes; however she figured it wouldn’t be long before similar machinery would be available in Australia. She consequently had a conservation covenant placed on five hectares of her property in Dollar, north of Foster, in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges.
Originally a dairy farm, the property caught her and her husband’s eye 40 years ago because it was affordable, albeit neglected and overrun with weeds, they could see its potential. The family lived in inner-city Melbourne and wanted a weekender where their young children could have space to run around, and where they could become aware that water and power are finite (the property was on tank water and solar power).
Fran said, “We spent a lifetime cleaning up the property. There are still some blackberry patches and in the last 12 months I’ve been working with Greening Australia to revert the bulk of the property to bush.