In a first for a Victorian government body, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has thrown its weight behind crowdfunding by offering $200,000 in match funding to community groups raising funds for the state’s threatened species on Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible.
The pilot program, named the Threatened Species Collection, launched this week with five crowdfunding campaigns for species as diverse as the White-bellied Sea Eagle, Striped Legless Lizard and Brush-tailed Phascogale. The ones that reach their target will win a matched amount from the Victorian Government.
DELWP hopes this will encourage the public to get on board with the efforts of small, often lesser known but incredibly passionate community groups. Lisa Neville, Minister for the DELWP, stated:
“I encourage anyone, anywhere, who is passionate about conservation and helping save our species, to get behind these exciting grassroots campaigns.”
Those who pledge funds to the campaigns in return for creative rewards from the community groups – including campout experiences, cocktails in the forest and even a straw of bull semen. Libby Riches, a land care worker and creator of the “Landcare is Critical” campaign, noted:
“We’re a pretty diverse community down here in the Southern Otways and I think our rewards reflect that,. My favourite has got to be the Limousin stud bull semen. It’s pretty unexpected, but it shows how committed our farmers are to environmental conservation!”
The crowdfunding round comes after the announcement on Monday of a series of grants under the Threatened Species Protection Initiative, which includes $2 million to support community projects to undertake immediate action for threatened species through activities such as habitat creation, restoration and site protection.
Claire Merquita, General Manager for Pozible, explained:
“Crowdfunding is all about giving communities a sustainable way to own the projects that matter to them. I can’t think of a better place for this to happen than with our environmental category. These threatened species are part of our natural heritage. We need to lead the change ourselves, and that’s exactly what these community groups are doing, with excellent support from the Victorian Government.”
“Millions of people visit the Southern Otway Landcare Network each year without even knowing it as they drive along the Great Ocean Road. Crowdfunding gives us a chance to tell our story. The work we do now has a huge impact on the future, and I hope the public see the value of it and give generously.”
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