With her 90th birthday just weeks away, Maisie Enders will not be walking off her farm anytime soon.
- Maisie Enders and her husband were among the first to put their whole farm under a conservation covenant
- At nearly 90 years of age, she received support from a team of jobseekers to help keep her farm sustainable
- They have been gaining skills and experience while working on conservation covenant properties
Mrs Enders and her husband Stan moved onto their Carboor farm in north-east Victoria in 1953.
Decades on, she remains determined to build on her late husband’s sustainable farming work, giving back to the land they have made a living on.
“The way he developed it [the farm] he wanted to preserve it,” Mrs Enders said.
In 2004, their entire 120-hectare farm was protected under a Trust for Nature conservation covenant.
A conservation covenant is a voluntary, legal agreement made between a private landowner and Trust for Nature to permanently conserve and protect the natural, cultural, or scientific values of the land.
The Trust’s conservation covenants are entered into under the Victorian Conservation Trust Act 1972, registered on Title and are legally binding forever.
Mrs Enders said her husband was eager to protect their surrounding habitat and was one of the first landholders to sign on, leading the way for greener farming practises.
“The others were more inclined to be bush blocks or bush parts of farms. At the time I think it was the first one that was a whole farm,” she said.
Mrs Enders said the work her husband has done has paid off as she spends every day toiling healthy land and watching biodiversity thrive around her while she continues to farm cattle.
Giving Maisie, jobseekers a helping hand
Leaving a working farm to nature is not always easy.
Mrs Enders’ cattle were breaking through fences and threatening fauna on her land as she struggled to find a fencing contractor.
Trust for Nature — one of Australia’s oldest conservation organisations — was able to work with the North East Catchment Management Authority to secure seven workers through the Working for Victoria program to lend her a helping hand.
The program is designed to help jobseekers during the pandemic find work and develop their skills and education.
They mended Mrs Enders’ fences and rehung dozens of gates.
It was one of more than 20 properties the crew was able to help in the region under the program.
The group’s work across diverse landscapes and on-the-job training is expected to help them in the job market when their six-month fixed-term contract finishes in May.
“It’s going to put everyone in better stead for getting another role going forward, there’s no doubt about that,” said NECMA Working for Victoria Wodonga team leader Blake Hose.
Making room for nature
In Victoria, 62 per cent of the land is privately held.
Trust for Nature works with 1,600 landholders statewide, with 80 based in north-east Victoria.
The organisation said it was vital that landholders help give nature a helping hand.
“Some of our most threatened plant and animal species exist on private land,” said Trust for Nature North East Area manager Amelia Haughton.
“Everything we can do to support landholders who might like to support their covenants and put aside habitats for nature is so important for the biodiversity throughout Victoria.”