Victorian Environment Friends Network

The Victorian Environment Friends Network exists to help represent the common interests of all Friends groups in Victoria.  Our vision is protecting, restoring and enhancing the Victorian natural environment through community volunteer groups working for their special places and native species.

It is coordinated by a committee elected at the annual general meeting.

Friends groups, and groups with similar objectives, work in a great variety of natural situations – coastal sites, bush, grasslands, watercourses or wetlands.

They operate in conjunction with the relevant management authority, usually Parks Victoria, a municipal Council, or some other organisation such as the Trust for Nature.

Every group is independent and autonomous. Some are incorporated and have a formal constitution and membership structure, others operate informally, with no membership fee.

While each Friends group will have its own specific objectives, these will include, in broad terms:

  • Providing support for the reserve or species.
  • Assisting with special projects selected by the Friends in consultation with the appropriate management authority.
  • Bringing into contact people with a common interest in the reserve or species.
  • Fostering public awareness of the reserve or species.
  • Supporting the effective management of native flora and fauna in Victoria

Our Mission

  • One voice to champion Friends Groups to governments and authorities
  • Empower Friends Groups to achieve their objectives
  • Promote the value of Friends Groups to the community
  • Support Friends Groups to connect to their communities and get them involved
  • Help Friends Groups support each other

Our Constitution is available here

We conduct activities to: 

  • Connect and empower Friends groups through regional and urban networking events and workshops (both onsite and online webinars). These events provide opportunities for information sharing and training opportunities about shared environmental issues or provide ideas and inspiration to groups managing volunteer engagement, community involvement and fundraising opportunities. 
  • Champion the value of environmental work of Friends groups to government and relevant authorities through coordinated policy submissions and liaison on behalf of Friends groups, advocating to acknowledge the significant benefits from Friend group contributions and commitment to the natural environment.  
  • Recognise, acknowledge and value Friend group volunteers with the annual Best Friend Award which publicly celebrates the contribution of nominated volunteers with an award ceremony and broad acknowledgement through social media, newsletters and media announcements. 
  • Promote Friends groups to the wider community, including by providing relevant information about Friends and VEFN activities via regular newsletters and social media to help motivate and inspire Friend group participation and engagement  

Meet Our Team

Our Committee has an important ongoing agenda, working on behalf of Friends Groups. This includes: quantifying and valuing volunteer contributions; securing funding and support for VEFN and Friends groups; supporting Friends Groups to network and mentor and being a strong advocate for nature and environmental volunteering.

VEFN’s Constitution has recently been changed to ensure VEFN and its future operations are meaningful to its current membership and priorities; to strengthen the membership structure as an representing Friends organisations; to enable registration as a Charity and apply for ATO Deductible Gift Recipient status; and enable VEFN to auspice local groups should that be needed.

Victorian Environment Friends Network 2023/24 Committee

  • Anthony Bigelow, Convenor
  • Dr. Laura Mumaw, Deputy Convenor
  • Margaret Hunter, Secretary
  • John Orr, Treasurer
  • Judith Baldacchino, Committee Member
  • Carol Challis, Committee Member
  • Callum Clarke, Committee Member
  • Clive Edington, Committee Member
  • Jessica Gerger, Committee Member
  • Andrew Lucas, Committee Member
  • Dr. Nadine Richings, Committee Member
  • Graham Ross, Committee Member

Our VEFN 2023/24 Committee at the VEFN Awards celebration.

Pictured (L-R)
Andrew Lucas, Dr. Nadine Richings, Graham Ross, Jessica Gerger, John Orr, Clive Edington, Dr. Laura Mumaw, Carol Challis, Anthony Bigelow and Margaret Hunter. Absent: Judith Baldacchino, Callum Clarke