Volunteering Spotlight – Ken Mival

(Ken Mival (second from the left) and the fox control committee on a night walk to see the threatened greater glider)

Following the 2009 bushfires that destroyed his home and two thirds of his small township of Flowerdale, Victoria, Australia, in 2014 EHS Support Environmental Auditor Ken Mival joined Landcare Australia—a national not-for-profit that works to “protect, enhance or restore the natural environment in their local community through sustainable land management and conservation activities.”

With over 6,000 groups and 100,000+ volunteers, the Landcare movement is diverse and encompasses farmers and farming systems groups, landowners, Landcare groups and networks, youth groups, traditional owners, and various other related groups interested in caring for and restoring coastal habitats, rivers and local bushland. Its activities include wildflower walks, night walks to see nocturnal animals such as possums and the greater glider, weed and litter removal, tree planting, and the reduction of feral pests. Its main aim is for natural habitat restoration to enhance biodiversity, and to build resilience in Australia’s food and farming systems.

Ken Mival

Initially, Ken assisted with wildlife surveys and re-planting of trees where many had been destroyed by fire. After being invited onto the local Flowerdale Group committee, he now represents the group on the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network (UGLN) that coordinates group actions within the group’s area of South Central Victoria around the catchment of the Goulburn River, a major tributary of the Murray River that defines the border between Victoria and New South Wales.

For the last seven years, Ken has also been on his local fox control committee for the King Parrot Creek catchment. The committee educates the local community through workshops and provides assistance through the organization of farm chemical courses, so that local farmers and volunteers can be qualified to purchase and know correctly how to use the range of chemicals used on modern farms. This includes various methods to control foxes and other pests such as feral cats, dogs and other animals that kill the native wildlife and damage the environment.

Twice a year the group places trail cameras on the properties before they do any baiting, so that they know where the foxes are and to record the threatened native species. These cameras have recorded significant recovery of the local species, in particular ground dwelling birds like the lyrebird and other animals including long-nosed bandicoots, and brush-tailed phascogales, both of which have shown encouraging improvements in range and numbers.

The following are a few of the posters Ken has prepared for the UGLN:

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