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The R E Ross Trust Farewells Eda Ritchie AM

At the end of the month Eda Ritchie AM will step down from her longstanding role as Trustee of The R E Ross Trust. Eda joined the RE Ross Trust board in 1997 and was Chair for 5 annual rotations. Eda’s contribution to the environment goes way beyond her role with the RE Ross Trust. Eda sat on the Board of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) when it made recommendations for marine park legislation in Victoria in 2000. This resulted in, at the time, Australia’s largest comprehensive, adequate and representative system of marine national parks in Australia. Eda was also on the VEAC Council when it published its final recommendations on its Box Ironbark Forest Investigation which lead to a range of new national parks and conservation reserves protecting one of Victoria’s most important and diminished ecosystems. Of her many years of dedication and commitment to the Trust, Eda says that “time flies when you are having fun”. Eda is particularly proud of the approach the Trustees took in leveraging the Trust’s unique role as both a philanthropic body and as owner of  Hillview Quarries.  The Trust worked with the Trust for Nature to assess the significant conservation values of a quarry property near Officer and ultimately gifted a parcel of 55 hectares of pristine bushland to Cardinia Shire Council with a Trust for Nature conservation covenant, to be enjoyed by the community in perpetuity. Another favourite project was again working with the Trust for Nature, this time on the purchase of the spectacular Neds Corner Station in 2002.  Located in north western Victoria the former 30,000 hectare sheep and cattle station is a mosaic of rare landforms and threatened ecosystems and is now a fully protected conservation reserve. Eda has also enjoyed working with the Wettenhall Environment Trust as “they do such a good job of distributing small environmental grants”. Reflecting back on her 21 years at the Trust, Eda wishes that “we had put more into the environment”.  She is inspired by current work around sustainability, particularly with farmers, and feels that it is likely the Trust will fund more environmental work in the future. Eda is confident that after all these years she is leaving the Trust in good hands – “Sarah is a terrific CEO and the two new Trustees – Prue Digby and Jon Webster – are top people.” It seems that Eda will have little spare time on her hands – her love of the arts, golf and working with her local community on a new health service will keep her busy and she also says that she “will continue to engage with philanthropy as it has such an important role to play.” In signing off, Eda shares how impressed she is with Amanda Martin’s “mountainous achievement in growing the AEGN from a concept to the organisation that it is today.” Thank you Eda for all you have done for our environment!