Upper Yarra Crank Up
VicForests once again attended and supported the annual Upper Yarra Crank up at the Yarra Junction museum in early April.
The event was a great opportunity for us to engage with more than 300 community members and help them with their questions about Victoria’s native timber industry.
It was great to also see many representatives who work in the industry including Powelltown mill Kelly's mill.
We regularly attend events, such as the Upper Yarra Crank Up, as they help us develop a better understanding of the opinions and concerns that the community have around timber harvesting.
We also support the communities we work in by offering grants to local charity, sporting, educational and community groups through our Community Support Program.
The Yarra Junction museum is one of the community groups who have received a grant through the VicForests Community Support Program.
VicForests is a long-standing sponsor of the Marlo Woodchop.
Liz Langford, VicForests Regional Engagement Manager, said “We have sponsored the Marlo woodchop for more than eight years now and event goers usually enjoy visiting our display to collect a free seedling."
“It is also a good chance for people to come and learn more Victoria's native timber industry.
“Woodchopping has a long and proud history in Victoria, just like our timber industry, and VicForests sponsorship of events like the Marlo woodchop allows us to show our support in the regional communities that we operate in.
“All of the timber used as part of the Marlo woodchop has been provided by VicForests from our sustainable harvesting operations,” she said.
The Marlo woodchop holds two different types of competitions for various skill levels over the day, standing block and underhand. Standing block is where the participant chops through the middle of a block of wood about breast height and with underhand they stand on the wood and chop from above.
The winner of the Standing block is awarded the Victorian title and each competition winner receives $1000.
“This year drew a large number of beginner woodchoppers with an impressive 22 of the entrants competing this year as new comers to the sport,” she said.
VicForests is proud to support woodchop events in Victoria and provide the high quality wood required to hold such competitions.
VicForests grant supports Cann River classes for children
Cann River Community Centre received a grant as a part of VicForests’ Community Support Program that will enable them to continue their arts and crafts classes for children.
The Community Centre runs a series of activities for children aged as young as four and has recently been struggling from a lack of financial assistance.
The VicForests’ grant will purchase new sewing machines for a class that is run weekly for local children, many of whose families cannot to buy the machines themselves.
Ms Julie Brownlie, Community Centre Sewing Class Instructor, said that the funds provided by VicForests will greatly assist in keeping this community program running.
“The classes are run solely by volunteers and the Centre has been struggling to maintain the costs of these activities for our local community.
“Thanks to VicForests we will be able to continue the sewing classes for the local children whose families often can’t afford to buy the materials required,”
“These classes will help the children of Cann River to improve both their skill levels and their self-esteem,” she said.
The Community Centre will be able to purchase up to three speed adjustable sewing machines for the classes with the grant provided by VicForests.
“The new machines will be for the younger and less confident children to help them improve both their confidence in their ability to sew and their control of the machine,” Ms Brownlie said.
Ms Brownlie said that these classes also help the children further develop a range of skills.
“We have children as young as four taking part in our classes which help them to learn hand-eye coordination, sharing and become more outspoken.”
VicForests partners with Noojee Historical Society
The Noojee and District Historical Society will be upgrading its facilities as a result of a three year sponsorship from VicForests as part of its annual Community Support Program.
The Noojee and District Historical Society runs a historical and educational facility that showcases the culture and industry of Noojees history by maintaining and reconstructing historical sites.
The society has sought funding in order to create a picnic garden in the grounds of the replica historical train station to provide families and visitors a dedicated place to enjoy their surroundings.
Mr William Langoor, President the Noojee and District Historical Society said that the three year sponsorship provided by VicForests will be instrumental in maintaining the towns precious historical sites. “Thanks to VicForests we will be able to create a space where families and visitors can sit and admire some of our unique heritage sites.
“The on-going sponsorship means that we will be able to continue to invest in much needed restorations of some of the most stunning historical pieces in our region.”
Mr Langoor said that the society regularly contributes to the community by undertaking many community projects that support the towns tourism trade and maintain the heritage of the area.
VicForests grant supports Warragul Opportunity Shop
VicForests has provided funding to Baw Baw Combined Churches Food Relief to support their Opportunity Shop through a Community Support Program grant.
Baw Baw Combined Churches Food Relief recently opened an Opportunity Shop in Warragul to raise money for their food relief program and sought funding to promote the shop to the broader community in its early stages.
The organisation is instrumental in providing food aid and support for over 600 families in the Baw Baw Shire. Mrs Anne Pascoe, Manager Baw Baw Combined Churches Food Relief said that the funds provided by VicForests will be a great help in launching the Opportunity Shop to the public.
“Thanks to VicForests we will be able to promote our Op Shop to the community and begin to raise some much needed funds for the food relief program.
“This program is a lifeline in our community that supports people from all backgrounds including youth, senior citizens, families, and their children, and local aboriginal groups.”
Mrs Pascoe said that the group will begin promotion of the Op Shop immediately in order to get the word out to the community.
VicForests’ annual Community Support Program helps regional community groups and services, who are positively contributing to their local area.
The VicForests initiative, now in its seventh year, has provided over $350,000 to communities as well as a number of in-kind donations and ongoing support to other groups and services across the State.
Liz Langford, Regional Engagement Manager VicForests, said the grants are supporting the important work of community organisations.
“Many of our staff live and work in regional Victoria and VicForests is proud to support these communities.
“Each year we have a great response from organisations applying for a grant and we’re happy to be able to reach out and help many different groups and projects,” Ms Langford said.
VicForests’ Community Support Program assists organisations that contribute to the wellbeing of local communities by providing grants of up to $2,000 to charity, sporting, educational and community groups in regional Victoria. Close to 250 community groups have received grants from VicForests since commencing the program in 2009.
For more information about the Baw Baw Combined Churches Food Relief Opportunity Shop please visit http://www.warragul.foodrelief.org.au
East Gippsland Field Days
VicForests sponsored the woodchop at this year's East Gippsland Field Days and was one of 350 exhibitors at the two day Bairnsdale event on 29-30 April.
The timber industry in East Gippsland produces around 25 per cent of Victoria’s hardwood output. The region also home to Australia’s largest fishing fleet, as well as expanding tourism, manufacturing and retail sectors.
The East Gippsland Field days is an annual event that showcases the agriculture, local produce and rural services that contribute to the region.
This year's event was a success as it attracted around 9,000 visitors over the two days.
VicForests sponsored an event for Australia’s most skilled woodchoppers this year at AusTimber.
The event has already attracted many state, nation-wide and international woodchopping champions including Laurence O’Toole, the world champion in Underhand and Standing divisions.
Mr O’Toole has won over 350 Victorian and Australian Championships over the last 15 years and competes in up to 20 shows a year both nationally and internationally.
Liz Langford, VicForests’ Regional Engagement Manager, said that woodchopping events always draw a big crowd and the community really get involved in the spirit of the event.
“Woodchopping is a uniquely Australian sport and VicForests recognises the important role it plays in many rural communities throughout Victoria and Australia.
“Laurence is a third generation woodchopper. He is also a Victorian local which gives rural communities a real sense of pride.
“The skill and speed with which he operates during a competition is truly remarkable,” she said.
The competition features a range of disciplines including Standing block, where the axeman swings at the log in a baseball fashion, Underhand, where the axeman stands on the block and chops it from above and a chainsaw racing competition using production hot saws.
There will also be Double handed cross saw cutting which requires one person on each end of the saw and a Tree felling championship competition.
“The tree felling completion is a truly spectacular event that requires great skill and stamina.
“The competitors are required to climb up the tree pole and then chop it while balancing on a board being held up by the tree,” Ms Langford said. Almost 40 axeman have signed up for the competition so far bringing with them a vast range of skills experience.
“The double handed cross cut saw contestants will be competing for Victoria’s state title.
“We are looking forward to watching some of Australia’s top woodchoppers and Victoria’s top tree climber and fellers compete,” Ms Langford said. VicForests is proud to support woodchop events in Victoria and provide the high quality wood required to hold such competitions.
The AusTimber and VicForests woodchop will be held on Saturday 16 April at 10am at the Traralgon Showgrounds. Media Release AusTimber is held every four years and is the largest event in the Australian timber industry.
Teaching Children the value of sustainably managed forests
VicForests provided each student at Gladysdale primary school with a seedling in celebration of International Day of Forests and to teach them about sustainable forest management.
The United Nation’s International Day of Forests is held on 21 March every year and is a chance to show the positive nature of forestry and the benefits forests provide to communities across the world.
VicForests Regional Engagement Manager, Liz Langford said that VicForests is an active member of many local communities where its staff, contractors and customers, work and live. “Forestry is a vibrant and important component to local economies in regional Victoria.
There is a great sense of pride among timber communities and many industry workers are fifth or sixth generation in their family.
“Many of the children at this school have family or family friends who work in the industry and it is really positive for them to learn about sustainable forestry practices.
“We gave each child a seedling of their own to nurture and grow to teach them about the forestry cycle of harvesting, regrowing and selling timber products.”
Principal of Gladysdale primary school, John Shackleton said "It's wonderful to see VicForests so committed to the local community. The students really appreciated the seedlings they were given and it was a great way to get the students engaged when talking about the important role that sustainable forestry plays in our community."
Forestry plays an integral part in the lives of at least 1.6 billion people around the world, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and daily subsistence needs.
Ms Langford said that VicForests regrows all forests that it harvests, planting thousands of trees each year.
“VicForests has a store of around three billion seeds and our staff collect around 1,500 kilos of seeds every year so we are able to regrow all the same species of plants.”
“In addition to the environmental benefits of sustainable forests, they also produce beautiful, useful and recyclable materials we all use or appreciate in our daily lives,” she said.
VicForests is certified to the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (AFS) which provides customers with a guarantee they are purchasing locally sourced and sustainable timber products.
VicForests is also proudly supporting the upcoming Gladysdale Apple and Wine Festival in May 2016 and regularly supports and assists local communities with grants, donations and ongoing partnerships with local groups and services.
VicForests take Mansfield students on field trip
VicForests’ Peter Scales, Liz Langford and Andrea Wandek accompanied two groups of Year nine Humanities Mansfield College students on field trips this March.
They took the students to visit Charles coupe as part of their investigations into forest uses and gave an overview of VicForests operations and sustainable forestry and specifics around the Charles coupe.
It was a great opportunity to talk about the history of timber in the area and to highlight the crucial regeneration process that occurs in every harvested area.
In addition to the annual Community Support Program and a number of ongoing partnerships, VicForests regularly makes ad hoc timber or financial donations to community projects and initiatives. Below are examples of our recent donations
VicForests donates timber to local community group
VicForests has donated Ash and Acacia timber to the Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild/Alexandra Community Shed to support their local wood craft activities.
The Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild are a community group in Alexandra which are part of the Australian Men’s Shed Association that looks after men’s health in regional communities.
The Guild supports its members by providing materials and tools to produce wood working pieces, as well as the opportunity for them to socialise and feel part of their community.
Max May, Secretary of the Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild, said that they are very grateful to VicForests and their contractors for this generous donation.
“VicForests have donated both Ash and Acacia logs.
“The Ash timber will predominantly be used to make woodworking benches for a new Guild workshop and the Acacia logs will be used for appearance pieces such as bowls and platters to utilise the good colour.
“Our new workshop will hopefully be ready soon so it will be great to have some fine looking wood working benches for our members to create serving platters, furniture and other household products.
VicForests contractors, Eddy Haulage and Johnson Logging, assisted in the harvesting and delivery of the timber to the Guild. Jim Anderson, VicForests Planning Officer, said that It’s great to see this timber being put to use in the local community.
“A number of the Guild members have worked in the timber industry and it is great for them to be able to keep a connection to the industry.
“They have a wealth of experience and knowledge and I'm sure they will put this timber to good use.
“I hope this relationship can continue but none of this would have been possible without the help of our contractors,” Mr Anderson said.
The Guild has outgrown its present site behind the Alexandra Timber Tramway and Museum and will soon be moving to a new location.
“We currently have 65 members and are now looking for a new and larger place. We would be grateful for any assistance towards this move", Mr May said.
VicForests donates $25,000 of timber to Bairnsdale's All Abilities Playground
VicForests visited the site of Bairnsdale’s future All Abilities Playground in July 2013. The playground has been designed as a recreation space for children of all abilities and ages.
East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Cr Richard Ellis said, “VicForests have contributed significantly to the project in the form of donating sawn timber and timber poles. The supplied timber is all sourced from East Gippsland. The value of the VicForests donation is approximately $25,000.
Bairnsdale’s All Abilities Playground is planned to be a themed play space that reflects the East Gippsland landscape and major regional activities.
The play space will include “mountains” with play structures based on an old sawmill. A “riverbed” connects the mountains to the “sea” with a large shipwreck-themed play space. The playground also includes play equipment designed for use by all ages and all ability levels, and sheltered picnic and BBQ facilities.
VicForests is very proud to have been able to assist a project that is aimed at providing a safe recreation space for all children to enjoy together, regardless of their abilities
We at VicForests are members of many local communities. Our staff, contractors and customers, work and live across the state and are committed to contributing to these regional communities.
The playground is due for completion this October (weather permitting) and Liz Riseley, a member of the All Abilities Playground Committee tells us that her son Harry is patiently waiting for a chance to make sull use of the facilities. It should be in full operation well before Harry’s 10th Birthday next 1st April.