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In a big boost for nature and our environment, the region’s peak conservation group has been awarded a Lotterywest grant that will allow it to have an even greater impact in 2024.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region this week announced it was successful with a Lotterywest organisational capacity-building grant that will fund much-needed, behind-the-scenes projects.

That includes an I.T upgrade with new computers and laptops to cater for staff working both in the Margaret River headquarters and out in the field to map biodiversity and record data. New iPads will also be purchased for field work and will mean a boost for Nature Conservation’s productivity and capacity.

Funds are also now available for geospatial data mapping training for staff and key volunteers, and to implement a communications and stakeholder management strategy as well as a volunteer engagement strategy.

It’s a big win for Nature Conservation and will help to consolidate its data and work into an improved biodiversity database, as well as help prioritise environmental work on private and public land.

“We’re so thrilled to receive this news,” says the conservation group’s special projects officer Jodie Passmore. “Nature Conservation has done an incredible job connecting people to this landscape, engendering respect, and giving people the tools to take on-ground action for our unique environment. But we are so busy with our heads down that we rarely can focus on ways to increase our productivity and capacity.”

“This region receives 1.6 million visitors a year and our population is increasing steadily, so it’s vital that we are all doing everything we can to conserve, protect and improve our region’s resilience in this changing climate. That’s why this Lotterywest grant is so important, allowing us to better train our staff, upgrade our I.T, improve our biodiversity mapping capability, and to increase the communications and engagement tools we have. At a time where this community has shown us how ready they are to show up, we are so grateful to have this major boost to productivity.”

Jane Kelsbie MLA, Member for Warren-Blackwood, said: “It’s fantastic to see a grass roots, community-led organisation like Nature Conservation Margaret River Region receive this Lotterywest grant to help make a practical difference to the way the group operates. We know that the South-West is leading the nation in regional tourism growth and that most of those visitors are heading to Margaret River, which is why it’s so important we do whatever we can to support local community groups who are ensuring our coastal and forest environments are protected and continue to thrive. I wish them all the best as they continue their hard work conserving our precious natural environments for future generations.”

As the only State Government owned and operated lottery in Australia where all the profits go back to the community, Lotterywest said it is committed to supporting Western Australian community groups.