What's Next Dialogue

Over 40 people came together on 15-17 September, meeting on Gunnaikurnai Country at Kalimna West to discuss the future of our forests. Co-chairs Tom Fairman, Ian Cane and Michelle Freeman guided spirited and important discussions about the state of flux our forests are in, and the challenges facing them.

Urgent questions about how our forests are managed, who will manage them, and how their health can be assured in an uncertain future were explored and debated. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Co-chairs' report for more information, and thank you to all who attended and contributed to helping to make the weekend a success. A special shout out to Maddy Rzesniowiecki for jumping straight in the deep end and helping to organise and run the 'What's next' dialogue - you can learn more about GFD's newest star in the profile below!

Yarram Dialogue

The Yarram Dialogue on 'Plantations in the landscape' is fast approaching and will be held on 10-11 November at the Yarram Regent Theatre.

Likely topics for discussion will include an exploration of what we want from and for our planted forests, their environmental impacts and interactions with community and culture.

The organising committee is working hard on finalising the field trip stops and scoping paper, so keep your eyes peeled for further info in our next update.

Upcoming events

GFD members are shining the spotlight on our initiative at a range of events over the coming months.

Ewan Waller will be presenting at the Forestry Australia Conference,
(15-18 October) while the Royal Society of Victoria's Symposium (26-27 October) will focus on the topic of 'What's Next' for our forests, with several presentations from GFD participants.

If you can make either event, please attend to support their work and help spread the word!

AGM update

A short and sharp GFD Annual General Meeting was held on 4 October, with Tristan Hennessy moving from Vice-President to ordinary member, and Tom Fairman stepping up into the Vice-President role. We also welcomed David Bennett as an ordinary member.

GFD President Ewan Waller acknowledged the growth and progress of GFD over the last year, noting that the next 12 months should aim to further build numbers and diversify representation from the Gippsland community.
A big thanks to all who attended!

Getting to know... Maddy Rzesniowiecki

Maddy's path to the GFD has been a winding one. Before moving towards a stronger involvement in community building, her background was in science and arts, focusing on philosophy. She then started a community art gallery called Woven Projects which facilitated a number of exhibitions, projects and performances, many focused on environmental and community themes. Maddy has also had a long involvement with Initiatives of Changes, where she supports First Nations cultural awareness and education programs, before beginning her Masters of Environment this year and coming to the GFD...

Why did you get involved with GFD, and why you think other people should get involved?
I first heard about and connected with GFD through a field trip for university. I adored the sound of a group of people coming together and volunteering their time in order to help make change, particularly in relation to places that had personal importance to them. I feel like this kind of leadership, where people step up to care for and restore the natural world, is so necessary at this time of climate crisis. I reached out to volunteer which is how I got involved. I would really encourage others to do the same. It’s an empowering experience. Being in the room means your voice is heard and you can play a key role in directing discussions and outcomes.

How do you feel the GFD process is going and where you think it can go from here?
I see that GFD has a lot of potential to facilitate emergent and creative relationships between groups that have previously been separated. I think ensuring a strong and balanced representation of people from all different perspectives at the dialogue will be key to effective, sustainable, and just outcomes for the future. During the most recent ‘What’s Next’ dialogue, there was a resounding consensus of the need to change our language from one of forest management to forest stewardship. This to me represents the sort of cultural shifts that GFD could help facilitate.

Can you tell us about your favourite patch of forest?
I spend a lot of time in Green’s Bush on the Mornington Peninsula. This is a place of tangled trees, open grasslands, and coastal heathlands which I love. When it comes to Gippsland, I can’t go too far past the forests at Yiruk Wamoon, now known as Wilson’s Prom. Looking out over crystal blue waters from the forest there feels almost surreal.

What are your thoughts on the future of our forests?
I think that reconnecting to and helping to restore these places that sustain lives (both ours and other nonhumans) is vital. They are places that provide nourishment, education, and give in both ways we know and ways we are yet to uncover. I really believe we need a cultural shift to rediscover care for these forests and understand our dependence on them. My hope is that GFD could help to provide stepping stones and building blocks to this future by bringing people together to find innovative programs and structures to support its emergence.


Upcoming events


12 Finance and Resourcing sub-committee
13 Yarram Dialogue Advisory Task Group
19 Strategic and Admin sub-committee
20 Yarram Dialogue Advisory Task Group
26 Comms and Engagement sub-committee

Past events

1 Yarram Dialogue Advisory Task Group
6 'What's Next' Dialogue Advisory Task Group
7 Steering Committee
13 'What's Next' Dialogue Advisory Task Group
14 Finance and Resourcing sub-committee
15-17 What's Next Dialogue
26 TFD/GFD meeting
20 'What's Next' Dialogue Advisory Task Group
21 Strategic and Admin sub-committee (no minutes - the group worked on the strategic plan)
28 Comms and engagement sub-committee (no minutes - the group worked on the comms plan)
4 Annual General Meeting
6 Yarram Dialogue Advisory Task Group

Dialogue resources...

'Plantations in the landscape' Dialogue
More info coming soon...
Kalimna West 'What's next?' Dialogue
Scoping paper
Co-chairs' report - coming (very) soon!
Orbost 'Healthy Forests' Dialogue
Scoping paper
Co-chairs' report
Rawson 'Scoping' Dialogue
Scoping paper
Co-chairs' report
GFD presentation
email youtube website 
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet