Saturday, October 24, 2015

Anne-Marie: Naturopath, Herbalist, Wildlife Carer & Raw Food Coach!

It is a delight to meet Anne-Marie. We came to visit, interested in learning about her wildlife land trust property, but left having learnt much more. Over tea and an amazing vegan passionfruit cheesecake we connect with Anne-Marie who invites us to camp overnight on her property. As the sun sets, we settle into her comfy chairs and over a few glasses of red wine, she tells us her story. 

Anne-Marie first settled in Western Australia when she migrated to Australia in the early 1980’s from Southern Ireland. She now lives on a Wildlife Land Trust property in Oakview, Queensland with her partner; nestled in the hills along an amazing creek, surrounded by bushland and wildlife.

Anne-Marie is passionate about Australian wildlife and devotes her life to caring for injured and orphaned wallabies, kangaroos, flying foxes and many other animals.  She works from her beautiful mud brick home running an online business as a naturopath and herbalist. Money raised from selling wildlife supplies goes toward caring for the little joeys and other animals she rescues. It costs about a thousand dollars and about 2 years to raise a joey and release it back to the wild, so the work of carers like Anne-Marie (many of whom are migrants to this country) is a wonderful contribution to conservation.

In 2005, Anne-Marie was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal cancer.  The doctors gave her 3 months to live and said she would have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Instead, Anne-Marie used her skills as a naturopath and herbalist, and found her own solutions.

Today, she is a committed vegan and says she is healthier than she has ever been and is also free of many of the other ailments that she used to suffer from such as allergies, arthritis, asthma and a poor immune system.  In between being a substitute mum to rescued wildlife, she runs vegan-cooking classes, to share her passion for eating healthy, delicious food with no animal products.

In the morning we go for a walk on the beautiful property. Besides the vegie patch, and the numerous sheds surrounding the house, there are 270 acres of habitat and many farm dams on the land. Incredible to realise that places such as this are more affordable than your average house on a half-acre block in a Sydney suburb.

During our walk, we see first hand the contribution of Wildlife Land Trust properties to both wildlife and habitat. While Australia is fortunate to have one of richest collection of endemic species on the planet, only 11.5% of our landmass has some form of protection as a protected area. We have one of
the worst records for mammal extinction in the world, and because many of our species are endemic, they are then lost to the planet forever. Private landholders who are dedicating large tracts of land for the protection of wildlife are making amazing contributions to conservation.

Our walk has ended and it is time to leave. We say our goodbyes and leave, feeling inspired by Anne-Marie’s story and glad to have learnt a little more about the concept of the Wildlife Land Trust properties, a concept that is spreading worldwide.

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