The Elephant in the Woodland project has completed the first year of activities with eight site biodiversity assessments done on the level of course wood debris and biodiversity impacts of managing firewood collection in Uralla Shire woodlands.
Over 20 people have received detailed training on undertaking biodiversity assessments in addition to three land holders, and landholders have incorporated their assessments into property plans.
Two supply chains for sustainable firewood have been set up for winter 2019 and the community now has a growing awareness and appreciation of the importance of using sustainable firewood, with benchmark values of awareness being established in 2018.
A number of homes (28) have undertaken a Home Energy Review, and all have taken actions to improve the thermal performance of their homes. Z-NET has advised on sustainable design and building for three new home builds and eight renovations. Sixteen people have participated in thermal improvement workshops, installing completed projects for curtains and draft proofing, reducing the firewood energy requirement for heating. Two homes and one business has swapped from firewood to AC as their major heating source.
The project has reached out to both local and national communities with over 2600 people directly reached by project activities. Partnerships have been established with a range of research (e.g. CSIRO, UNE), government (e.g. Uralla and Armidale Regional Councils, NT LLS, Uralla and Bundarra Central Schools), community (e.g. SNELCC, Z-NET Hepburn, Community Power Agency) and business partners (e.g. UPC Renewables, Neil Howards Electrical) resulting in the project having input into the national science education platform run by Questacon (https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=498972527268002 ), local school projects on sustainable energy and firewood use, and the design of community benefit initiatives for regional communities, where large scale renewable energy projects are going ahead.