August 2012

WOFWG members went happily back to their childhoods for August’s farm visit to Animals on the Move (‘AOTM’), a unique farm based on a compact property at Gembrook.

Leonie Woodham and family took on the enterprise over fifteen years ago. They built it up and diversified its activities. They now offer franchise opportunities to other animal lovers to take animals into the community. On top of this success, AOTM has won business awards for its administration, business model and efficiency.

WOFWG members appreciated that there are also career opportunities for young animal lovers, with the enterprise being a hands-on venue for training and certification of animal carers. The business has appropriate accreditation from government regulatory bodies to keep and display protected species. A significant benefit of this is that the features, nutrition, health and habitat needs of these animals are explained to enthusiastic audiences. This widens the understanding and appreciation of these animals, hopefully ensuring their greater respect and protection. In vans, trailers and specially designed containers, trained handlers take animals into the community.

There is a wide range of farmyard and Australian native animals. Younger animals, such as lambs, calves, rabbit litters and chickens are very popular with junior school groups. Leonie explained that each of the AOTM programs is unique, designed to encourage a caring and nurturing approach towards animals in domesticity, as well as in the wild.

AOTM aims at a range of client groups, not just educational opportunities for school children. Displays are booked for corporate or public events and also for markets or aged care centres. Animals which participate are not just the usual farm yard creatures – sheep, cattle, goats, gees and so on, but also reptiles, birds and other wild life.

WOFWG’s September activity is a visit to the MacKay’s dairy property “Arnum” at Poowong East. Here, WOFWG will see the principles of LandCare and wildlife protection put into practice.

Women of all ages are welcome to join Women on Farms. The key criterion is an interest in farming and farming women. There is no need to be actively farming to participate. For more details contact secretary, Jenny Stephenson on 9700 0282 or visit our website at www.womenonfarms.org for the 2012 monthly program.

For enquiries about this article, contact: Mary Hughes, Ph. 03 5628 4195.