Parks Trust board member and CEO of the Ian Potter Foundation Craig Connelly. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Parks Trust board member and CEO of the Ian Potter Foundation Craig Connelly. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

New trust allows Australians to better protect our national parks

New National Parks Conservation Trust to help protect Australian environment

Environment
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Members of the public will now be able to directly help preserve national parks across the country as part of a new trust.

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Members of the public will be able to directly contribute to the preservation and protection of the country's most fragile environments thanks to a new trust.

Launched in late November, the National Parks Conservation Trust will allow people to donate to environmental and conservation projects in national parks across Australia.

The trust will aim to fund programs to help protect endangered species and biodiversity in all national parks along with 58 marine parks and the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra.

Conservation projects in national park areas were previously only able to be financed through government funding.

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Parks Trust board member and chief executive of the Ian Potter Foundation Craig Connelly said the trust would further protect Australia's environment and animal species.

"National parks cover so much of the country, it makes sense as more people become aware of the fragility of the environment," Mr Connelly said. "There's been no capacity for general members of the public to help fund works like this before."

Parks Trust board member and chief executive of the Ian Potter Foundation Craig Connelly. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Parks Trust board member and chief executive of the Ian Potter Foundation Craig Connelly. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

He said the trust would fund projects such as those protecting endangered species or help hire Indigenous rangers.

"Endangered species are definitely a focus with more than 1500 species that are at risk of extinction in the not too distant future, and a clear focus of national parks to support the species is obvious," Mr Connelly said.

"The general public is becoming more aware of the biodiversity crisis that Australia faces, and we have a significant number of species that have already become extinct and there's a natural inclination to reverse that trend."

Many of the projects will go towards national parks in remote locations.

There's been no capacity for general members of the public to help fund works like this before. - Craig Connelly

Mr Connelly said one such program already being looked at was in the Christmas Island National Park.

"There's the opportunity to fund a junior ranger program over on Christmas Island, which is a joint venture with Parks Australia and Western Australia TAFE," he said.

"There's also opportunities for Indigenous programs across the parks and to also gain a better scientific understanding of what exists in sea beds in marine parks."

To mark the start of the organisation, the trust has set up a competition to help officially name a species of purple banksia.

The banksia species will be named by the public as part of a comptiton to help launch the trust. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The banksia species will be named by the public as part of a comptiton to help launch the trust. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

While the species already has a scientific name, the trust is looking for suggestions for the banksia's common name.

The species is only cultivated at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra.

Nursery manager Joe McAuliffe said the rare banksia species had been in the collection as seeds since the 1960s.

"There are other banksias that have a purple colour when they get new growth, but for plants to retain it, it rarely happens," he said.

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