A dinner and charity auction held in Bendigo has raised more than $15 000 for the Wetlands Environmental Taskforce.
WET is a charitable trust established in 2002 as a natural extension of the conservation activities undertaken by members of Field & Game Australia since 1958.
The WET trust has played an important role in developing the Heart Morass wetland near Sale and the Connewarre Wetlands Centre near Geelong, and also owns an allotment of 140 ha (350 acres) on the west side of Lake Buloke.
The dinner was held at the The Boardwalk in Bendigo just prior to the 2018 Duck Season.
As well as generating much needed funds for wetland conservation, the evening provided an opportunity for the WET Trust to formally acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Gary ‘Pud’ Howard.
Pud was the subject of a ‘This is your life’ presentation prepared by Laurie Rowe with the secret compliance of his many friends and colleagues in Field & Game.
While photographs rolled through on the screen showing not only Pud’s historical activities but a timeline of his hairstyle and fashion (much mirth ensued), the words honoured his leadership, dedication and enormous contribution to the Wetland Environmental Taskforce, Heart Morass and Field & Game Australia.
In late 1966 he was transferred to Yarram for work and was soon conscripted by Dr Hugh Martin to join the Victorian Field & Game Association. When the Yarram branch wound up, its assets and most remaining members transferred to Sale.
John Hirt summed up Pud in the early days.
“My initial impressions of his commitment and ability have been thoroughly confirmed over the years. His passion continues unabated, and has translated into a relentless and lifelong involvement and dedication to the aims and aspirations of Field & Game Australia and the wetlands.”
A dedicated environmentalist, long before it was fashionable, he embraced critical wetland/waterfowl habitat projects, including the establishment of many State Game Reserves within Gippsland, control structures at Dowds Morass, access improvements at Heart Morass and Lake Coleman, tree planting at Jack Smith Lake, Heart Morass, Clydebank Morass and Lake Coleman, pest eradication and nesting support.
The list of his work to rehabilitate the Heart Morass is too lengthy to detail and somehow, he still finds time to be a passionate duck hunter.
A life member of Field & Game Australia and Sale FGA Branch, this was an opportunity for the WET Trust to express its appreciation. WET also appreciates the generosity of supporters who donated auction items.