Q&A with Eliza Lamb Environmental Coordinator - Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc.

We are so pleased to welcome the newest member of the Just a Glass family, the Helmeted Honeyeater.

The bird emblem for Victoria, is critically endangered. At Just a Glass Australia we celebrate all that is Australian native fauna and flora through our wine label artwork by Australian artist Kasey Rainbow and we are excited to share how our newest variety Just a Glass Heathcote Shiraz will be partnering with local conservation organisations to help fight the extinction of this beautiful species.

From June 2022 Just a Glass Australia will proudly support the incredible work of not-for-profit Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater. As an organisation they seek to increase awareness of threatened species and ecosystem conservation through education; advocacy; volunteerism; private landholder extension; habitat restoration and their indigenous plant nursery.

 

We spoke with Eliza Lamb, Environmental Coordinator at the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc to find out more about the incredible work they do and how as a brand Just a Glass Australia can help support.

 

Eliza Lamb Environmental Coordinator - Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc.
  1. Eliza, we are so excited about this incredible partnership, to allow our Australian wine lovers the opportunity to Sip Sustainably and do good through purchase power. Tell us about the work of the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc?

Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc. was formed in 1989 when a meeting was held calling on members of the public to join in the fight to help the species, then at the critically low number of only 50 birds left in the wild.

One of the most active Friends groups in Australia we raise awareness of the plight of the Helmeted Honeyeater through positive community action. This includes providing educational programs to schools, community and corporate groups, on-ground habitat restoration within the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Area (YNCA) and engaging local landholders to make improvements on their properties to increase habitat for threatened species.

We are working hard to protect and enhance habitat for the Helmeted Honeyeater, and this work has positive flow on effects to other species of flora and fauna present in the conservation area.

 

  1. What is the current number of Helmeted Honeyeaters in the wild and how have you seen this improve in recent times?

The numbers of Helmeted Honeyeaters in the wild currently is over 200 individuals. The population of birds can fluctuate depending on the success of breeding seasons and threats such as predation. With the work of the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater as part of the greater Recovery Team effort, the numbers have increased from the critically low numbers seen in the 1980’s.

 

  1. What has been one of the proudest moments as an organisation through the work you have done?

As a group we were so proud recently when we held our symposium celebrating 50 years of our faunal emblems being proclaimed. It was such a wonderful way to celebrate all the different organisations that work together for the common cause of saving the Helmeted Honeyeater. We came together in an event online – unable to meet in person due to the pandemic. It was an important time to reflect on the trials and tribulations and the mammoth effort that has gone into protecting and conserving not only the Helmeted Honeyeater but also Leadbeater’s Possum. The Leadbeater’s Possum is also one of our Victorian emblems, it is critically endangered, and the genetically distinct lowland population is only found within the YNCA.

  1. Outside of donations what are some things that people can do in their day to day to help support habitat restoration or nurture threatened species?

There are so many ways people can help by getting involved to act for threatened species!

We can:

  • Spread the message, talk to your friends and family about our threatened species – especially those that exist in our area.
  • Take action through day-to-day consumer choices (e.g. avoid certain big brands of paper who log forests home to Leadbeaters Possum and other threatened species),
  • Reduce your carbon footprint – Australia is losing species at an alarming rate and this is exacerbated by climate change. We need to do more to halt biodiversity loss by reducing our carbon usage – we can insulate our homes better, use resources that fit into a circular economy, and seek to move to our home to renewable energy. We can support businesses who do just that by our consumption choices.
  • Talk to your local MP and let them know as a member of the community you want better protections for threatened species,
  • Plant more native vegetation on your property
  • Take part in planting events or citizen science surveys. At Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater we run many planting and citizen science events. Planting habitat ensures that we are working to increase the habitat potential for the species to occupy into the future. Taking part in citizen science activities helps to record data that will inform our response and ongoing practices.
  1. What’s your hope for the Helmeted Honeyeater in the future?

My hope for the Helmeted Honeyeater is that one day the species will be in such a healthy position that the critically endangered status can be downgraded. We have a lot of work to do, and the persistence of the species is on a knife edge, but the work that the recovery team has been doing has seen amazing results, we must keep going, and continue to do things better.

  1. We are incredibly proud to be partnering with the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc. As a brand we are inspired by Australian native fauna and flora and are working hard to ensure we make a positive impact on the environment around us. How important do you think it is that brands celebrate the Australian environment and find ways to nurture it?

It is important for businesses to use their reach and communicate with their customers about the value of our flora and fauna, finding ways to conduct business and encourage consumer choices in a way that has a positive impact. With weakened government polices to protect biodiversity in this country, it puts the onus on consumers and businesses to drive change through the production of goods and services and how we use them. The voice of the public is a powerful one. Now more than ever we need to stand up and do things that seek to protect our threatened species, and brands have an important role in communicating this.

  1. How will the partnership with Just a Glass Australia support the work of the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc?

This partnership is going to help our organisation fund the purchase of plants to create habitat for both Helmeted Honeyeaters and Leadbeater’s Possum. We are a volunteer run organisation predominately that relies on grants and funding to do what we do. By Just a Glass Australia committing to donate funds, we can plant more native vegetation that will one day be habitat for our threatened species, which is just so exciting.

  1. You are invited to a dinner party and can bring any three people past/present/future to enjoy just a glass with… who would those three people be?

David Attenborough without a question as he communicates the importance of conservation to people all over the world. PJ Harvey because she is such a brilliant and talented singer/songwriter whose lyrics really evoke imagery of places and feelings, and finally my partner Aaron, for whom I couldn’t imagine attending a dinner party without and would be upset if I didn’t take him to hang out with PJ and David!

 

Want to find out more- Click here 


Just a Glass and Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater

 

Helmeted Honeyeater photo: By Stephen Garth


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