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The Shire is on board, and Big Thanks to those of you who have written to the Shire to congratulate them. It's a bold move. Early responses from Mary-Anne Thomas, Member for Macedon, are not enthusiastic, but we're playing a long game. If residents of Riddell and surrounding towns come to know and love Barrm Birrm, that will slowly shift political opinion.

The long game is to share the love, and the best way to do that is to come for a walk.

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Out walking with Geordie, who is surveying Barrm Birrm's flora.

'Come for a walk' is the approach Riddells Landcare has taken on from its earliest days.

I went on a bushfoods walk with Russell Best soon after I moved here, the whole walk in quite heavy rain, but that didn't slow Russell down! Not exactly the weather to admire seeds and fruit glowing in the sunshine, but I came back energised. Being in Barrm Birrm with someone who knows it and loves it is invigorating!

And when you gradually fall in love with a place, you start asking yourself: "What can I do to help?"

We are creatures with an instinct to care for the natural world, and Barrm Birrm is one of those rare places where you can let that instinct off the leash.

The 'Weeds and Wildflowers' walk is now a monthly event - last Saturday of each month, the next on Election Day, so I'll be getting my voting done beforehand. The magic of weed walking is that keeping your eyes peeled for the occasional weed means you pay attention. You really look and discriminate one plant from another. Then when you get down to take out a weed without disturbing its native neighbours, you get a feel for how that little vegetation system works.

Orchid specialist Andrew Dilley, who lives just nearby in Gisborne, is now supporting the Orchid Team, enthusiasts all, who have committed to a monthly walk to comprehensively get to know where the orchids are on this 120 hectares of hillside. This will take a while, since orchids are sensitive creatures which don't flower every year, and it's a big hillside. But as with weed walking, it's a great reason to be out on that hillside, absorbing how it works.

The amazing thing to me is how, once you extend yourself to the land, how immediately Barrm Birrm gives back. On the Orchid-eers first search, we found incredible orchids, and Matt found one that Andrew Dilley finds has only recently and not often been sighted in Victoria. Total excitement all round! .... see our first report via the link below.

Walking through through Chocolate Lilies looking for orchids, it came to me that Barrm Birrm is a place to let yourself off the leash. Yes we need to protect it, but just being free to get to know its plants, its animals, its creeks, brings the experience of being alive in a natural place.

Riddells Creek's ecotherapy park.









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Orchid-eers on the job, left to right, Margaret, Sean, Matt, Sophie and orchid specialist Andrew Dilley. See the link to read our first report, and get an introduction to Thelymitra aristata!

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Romsey's ecotherapy park, $2.7 m.