Nature reserve champion recognised

January 22, 2022 BY

Stalwart supporter: Stuart McCallum is not only passionate about nature, but underwater hockey, involved with a local club in Geelong. Photo: FILE

ENVIRONMENTAL volunteer, advocate, and former microbiologist and science teacher Stuart McCallum has been recognised as a Golden Plains Shire Senior Citizen of the Year nominee for 2021.

Mr McCallum is a pillar of the Friends of Bannockburn Bush, secretary of the Geelong Landcare Network, a member of the Ballarat Environment Network, and is working to establish a new group to nurture the Bruces Creek area.

“It’s great honour to be nominated. I appreciate that people are recognising that we’re trying to make a difference, improve biodiversity, and attitudes in the community,” he said.

“I’d like to accept the nominations on the behalf of all the members of Bannockburn Bush, for all the work they’ve done, because we’ve really set a standard for how you can look after reserves.”

In protecting Bannockburn Bushland Nature Reserve’s biodiversity, Mr McCallum and the friends have had fencing installed to prevent the entry of trail and quad bikes, cars, and four-wheel drives.

“This has opened up the bush to many more people for safe activities.”

Mr McCallum is also proud of the Friends’ partnerships with First Nations Peoples from the local Wadawurrung and Wathaurong communities, all about natural resource management, and connecting to country.

The reserve’s 2021 Full Moon Festival was organised by Mr McCallum, encouraging locals to connect with the environment, and appreciate it even more. He has also run Yellowgum festivals in the past.

Mr McCallum said he loves a challenge, but couldn’t do as much as he does without the “invaluable” support of his wife, Philippa.

He’s also nominated for the Citizen of the Year Award.

Other nominees for the Golden Plains Shire Senior Citizen of the Year Award include Barry Wemyss of Smythesdale, Ruth Georgalis of Dereel, Joan Coker of Haddon, and Peter Trevaskis of Inverleigh.