By Kirra Grimes

A FORMER dairy farmer has reached out to the South Gippsland Shire Council to support his efforts to replant the forest that once covered the Gippsland hills.
Lenard Brennan – an 83-year-old pensioner with a disability – in his early life lived on a dairy farm at Yarram but has since relocated to Hastings.
He attended a public presentations session at Leongatha last Wednesday, where he told Acting Administrator Julie Eisenbise he was determined to reverse some of the environmental damage he felt he’d caused as a farmer, and he needed Council’s help to do it.
“I’m guilty of clearing 1000 acres, turning bush into pasture, and now I’m trying to turn it back into bush,” he said.
“I take global warming very seriously, it’s a real worry to me, and I’m determined to change it.
“I know I’m getting past my use by date, but it’s better late than never.”
Having already planted 25,000 gum trees at Krowera in the past 12 years, his goal, he said, was to plant a million more, to increase the organic carbon content of South Gippsland’s soil.
But he needed help accessing the funds and land required to achieve this, as his previous attempts to contact the State Government for support had been “ignored”.
“I want to see that giant forest again and I want to get it started ASAP, but I need more land and more people because I want the work to be carried on when I ‘fall off the branch’.
“I want to start a massive movement,” he said.
“I admire your passion and I encourage you in your efforts,” was Ms Eisenbise’s response to Mr Brennan.
She also suggested he get in touch with local Landcare groups and look for grant funding opportunities, saying Council would “continue to do the right thing” and “do what it can to look after its environment”.