How large is your footprint?

Real Estate Agents are reporting a marked increase in enquiries and sales from Melbourne residents wishing to relocate to regional areas.  The image of the bush block and rolling plains, clean air and easier lifestyle that has been lurking in the mindset of many is now manifesting into firing up the moving van.

The country idyll is something many aspire to and there is a lot to recommend it, but there is more to consider when moving to a country area than first meets the eye.  How big is the footprint going to be on the land?  What about bushfires? The list goes on.

Ray Draper of Central Highlands Environmental Consultancy has had a lifelong passion for the environment and the natural world in which we live.  It was this passion that drove him to develop his Consultancy over twenty years ago working with Councils, companies and individuals to assess properties and report on the best strategy for making sure the footprint is as small as possible.  The areas that come under Ray’s keen eye are habitat hectare assessments, bushfire assessments, environmental or land management plans and flora and fauna surveys.  His work has taken Ray around the State and beyond, often accompanied by his partner Cherie and their two young daughters, who benefit from a great outdoor classroom.

Another of Ray’s passions is the study of the Growling Grass frog, once plentiful throughout south eastern Australia, but now under threat, primarily due to the effects of chytrid fungus.  Ray was co-opted to work with James Cook University in Queensland over forty years ago to study the frog and now collaborates with Federation University to ascertain how well the frog is faring.  Not too well it seems.  Ray says. “There are 6,000 frog species worldwide of which 2000 are now critically endangered because of fungus.  We have found some of the fungus in the Ballarat region, which has reduced that population by a third.  Once we lose a species, we never get them back.” 

As populations grow and humanity encroaches further into the natural world, the need for caring for the environment is more important than ever.  Australia is a vast country, unique in the world with amazing animals, flora and fauna and we have a responsibility to preserve it wherever we can.  To contact Ray and learn more about your environment, go to