Haining Farm is a 59-hectare property located between the Don River and the Yarra River in the region of Victoria’s Yarra Valley. This location makes it the perfect place to deliver and restore prime habitat to benefit the wetland-loving, but critically endangered, Lowland Leadbeater’s Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater.
The Haining Farm project aims to restore and create habitat for these animals, whilst providing an opportunity for visitors to engage with nature and experience native wildlife in their natural habitat. This combination of community engagement and habitat restoration is a world first, meaning this project could path the way for Australian landscapes, where both people and threatened species can go wild. We believe the best nature-focused education is achieved by being immersed in it.
In addition to creation of new habitat, the safety and well-being of local residents is a priority for the project. Therefore, considerable effort has been applied to bushfire prevention. We are working to ensure that concerns from residents and partners around the risk of bushfire are addressed.
One of the major threats to Victoria’s critically endangered faunal emblems is the loss of precious habitat, leading to fragmented populations. The historical dairy farm, Haining Farm is one of the few places in Victoria that provides suitable habitat requirements for both species.
By transforming the site into a public area with conservation areas and educational opportunities, the work will allow us the rare opportunity to create new habitat in a bid to protect the Lowland Leadbeater’s Possum and the Helmeted Honeyeater.
Restoring the farm will offer visitors the prospect of viewing native wildlife in its natural habitat and the chance to engage with nature through fun outdoor experiences such as walking, cycling, bird spotting and more.
Bushfire mitigation measures being implemented at Haining Farm include a 20-metre fuel break around the site, water access points and an open woodland buffer.
In 2021, Haining Farm was opened to the public and provides a unique experience for members of the community to witness conservation and education in action. Haining Farm has several walking trails that weave through the Conservation Zone where you can see and listen to the Don and Yarra River, marvel at young and old growth forest, and spot wildlife that have returned to the site since being restored.
At Haining Farm, you also have the option of taking a self-guided walking tour of the Climate Watch Trail and contribute important citizen science. Climate Watch is an initiative of Earthwatch Institute that aims to understand how changes in temperature and rainfall patterns are affecting Australia’s plants and animals enabled through citizen science. We know that climate change is having broad and profound impacts on ecosystems around the world. Here in Australia, climate change is affecting temperature and rainfall patterns which is influencing phenological changes in native plants such as changes in flowering times.
The Climate Watch Trail at Haining Farm contributes to Haining Farm’s Education Program which is a joint partnership between Greening Australia, Zoos Victoria and Parks Victoria. Citizen scientists can follow the Climate Watch Trail and record important ecological data that will contribute towards our understanding of the impacts of climate change on native species. Along the trail you will also learn about the science behind the restoration of Haining Farm such as the importance of underlying water regimes to support vegetation communities that provide habitat for Helmeted Honeyeater and Lowland Leadbeater’s Possum and the complexity of reconstructing habitat to benefit a wide range of benefits for native species.