On Saturday 5th June 2021, on World Environment Day 2021,  our partnership program ‘Restoring Nature and Communities’ was officially launched in St. Helens Tasmania. This was also the day the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration was officially launched across the world. More than 70 people gathered in the Panorama Hotel, St. Helens to launch the program.

We are proud to be a partner with North East Bioregional Network (NEBN) who were recently internationally acclaimed,  receiving the Society For Ecological Restoration International 2021 Award for Restoration Excellence. 

We are also proud to be carrying on the legacy of the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS), who have  lived and worked across Tasmania since 1944 and have spent many years in the north east. The MSS Sisters have always demonstrated a great love and respect for this vast land, and its entire ecosystems. Their deep ecology is very much aligned to the ethos of NEBN who support a consistent ecologically based approach to conservation. On Friday 4th June, Bernadette Wallis mss, Frances McShane mss and Lorraine Groves mss met with Todd Dudley the President of NEBN and were given a walk through some beautifully restored landscapes where the partnership team are working.

(L to R) Todd, Bernadette and Lorraine

During the launch Todd spoke of the importance and breadth of their work in eco-restoration. Bernadette Wallis mss represented Highways and Byways and spoke of the long and deep relationship the Missionary Sisters of Service have with Tasmania. See Bernadette’s full address here.

We are also excited that the University of Tasmania (UTA) is currently undertaking research in the program on the health benefits of eco-restoration – both physical and mental. At the launch Pauline Marsh, Stuart Auckland and Dave Kendal from UTA all spoke on the research they are doing.

Those who attended the launch were given a wonderful opportunity to learn about the eco-restoration work being done by NEBN. Everyone was invited out to Skyline Tier where the President of NEBN Todd Dudley addressed the group showing them restored areas of native vegetation and how it is done.

We were delighted that some of the Hobart Highways and Byways Branch members and MSS Sisters were able to attend. Pictured below  – Hobart Branch members with the workers on the team Left to right; Nathan Stevenson (NEBN), Bernadette Wallis MSS, Mary- Anne Johnson, Jill Smith, Scott Ryan (NEBN), Eva Dunn, Chair of the Hobart Branch, Frances McShane mss, Dan Donaldson (NEBN) Mark Wallace (NEBN), Penny Edmans, Mary Williams, Chris Smith.

During the site tour it was wonderful to meet the team of workers – Scott Ryan, Mark Wallace, Dan Donaldson, and Nathan Stevenson, pictured here with Todd Dudley who commenced work in March 2021 on the program.

In 2015 Pope Francis set out his dynamic document ‘Laudato Si’ – Care for Our Common Home, a powerful call to action for all the world’s citizens to understand the present ecological crisis and state of disconnection and to change our ways. It has been immensely inspiring to visit a corner of Tasmania where world’s best practice eco-restoration is thriving, and to see its magnificent results.

Congratulations to all involved!

This program is proudly supported in 2021 by the Parker Sub Fund of Highways and Byways.