Tree Change – The Australian Master TreeGrower phenomenon

  • 24 pages

  • Published: 12 Aug 2008

  • Author(s): Reid, Rowan

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The Australian Master TreeGrower (MTG) program is primarily a participatory outreach and extension project on agroforestry and farm forestry for farmers and regional advisers. Since 1996, it has delivered educational courses, prepared and provided extension information and tools, coordinated national extension events and supported regional farm forestry networks. In just a decade, over 1350 participants and more than 30 partner organisations have been involved in the delivery of 67 regional MTG courses throughout Australia. It has progressively become an integral component of state and regional extension programs. In recognition of its widespread success, the program was awarded the Allen Strom Eureka Prize by the Australian Museum for Excellence in Environmental Education in 2000.
This booklet provides a snapshot of the program and reports on the outcomes of numerous evaluations and assessments of its approach and performance. The real impact of the MTG program appears to be very much greater than what might be expected from a series of short courses for farmers and regional advisers. It has played a pivotal role in redefining how people think about agroforestry practices and extension in Australia and the role landholders can and should play in the research and development of revegetation options. It is this less tangible impact of the MTG program that, after ten years, is beginning to be evident in the way industry, governments and communities view commercial tree growing on farms and, increasingly, in positive landscape change on the ground. This is the ‘MTG phenomenon’.
The MTG program began with the financial support of the Myer Foundation. Since 1997, it has been funded by the Joint Venture Agroforestry Program (JVAP), which is supported by three R&D Corporations – Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), Land & Water Australia (L&WA), and Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation (FWPRDC). The Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) and the Natural Heritage Trust have also contributed to this project. The R&D Corporations are funded principally by the Australian Government. State and Australian Governments contribute funds to the MDBC.