Why We're Supporting WOTCH (Wildlife of the Central Highlands) this Fashion Festival

This Melbourne Fashion Festival, we've partnered with WOTCH to support a cause close to our hearts and homes.

We've pledged all profits from our upcoming SISTER x Kannava Runway for MFF to be donated to local grassroots organisation WOTCH (Wildlife of the Central Highlands).

Dedicated to protecting Victoria's native forests through the use of citizen science, community engagement and advocacy, WOTCH's commitment to the flora and fauna in our state is so important. Some of our smallest and cutest little critters are at serious risk of extinction, and their habitats are still being logged.

WOTCH use thermal and infrared video technology to search for threatened species in forest earmarked for logging, in order to have the area protected. In this way, WOTCH has managed to protect over 1500ha from logging since it was established in 2014.

We were lucky enough to sit down with and pick the brain of Hayley Forster from WOTCH, some of her generous and insightful answers below...

What does the WOTCH ideal world look like?
We would love a world where protection of our native species was prioritised over resources or profit, where logging native forests and native species habitat for paper production was a thing of the past and where our forests were protected and valued as the incredible and important places that they are.

What is something we could all do to help conserve and protect native forest and endangered species in our everyday life?
You can make sure that all of your paper, cardboard and wooden products are FSC certified so to ensure they have not come from our native forests and threatened species habitat. You can support wildlife conservation and environmentalist groups by - volunteering, donating or sharing content.

What is something you wish every Victorian knew about the current situation with our native forests?
So much of the native forests in Victoria have seen terrible disturbance and destruction through logging and wildfire, as native forest logging continues we are losing the little high quality conservation value forest that we have left. Over 85% of logged native forest is turned in to pulp for paper products.

What will the funds donated from the SISTER x Kannava runway go toward?
At the moment our priority for fund raising is for our court case against VicForests. The case goes to trial on the 7th of March.
We are fighting to protect the threatened species that were heavily impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires. And arguing that VicForests should not be logging in habitat of these species that have lost so much and while the environment department has not completed reviews into the overall impact/damage to each of these species. Our focus species are Greater Glider, Sooty owl, Powerful Owl and Smoky mouse. You can find more info on the court case on our website

If someone would like to get involved, what is the best way to support WOTCH?
If you are interested in volunteering with WOTCH you can sign up to be notified of opportunities on our website wotch.org.au. You can also make a donation to WOTCH via the website, or you can follow us on social media and share content to help expand our audience. Outside of that, donations go to equipment, resources, fuel etc. Stuff to enable us to continue surveys for threatened species.

You can learn more about the important work WOTCH do, and get involved via the WOTCH website and instagram.

Emma & Alice xoxo