The August 2014 opening of the stunning, architecturally designed $1.9m Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre was the culmination of 16 years of planning, engagement, lobbying and fund raising by dedicated community volunteers from the Yea Wetlands Committee of Management and the Yea Wetlands Trust.
The vision came out of an enduring commitment to the health and wellbeing of the Yea Wetlands, and its contribution to the quality and vibrancy of river health across the State, extending to the Murray Darling system.
The Taungurung Clans have long recognised the environmental and cultural significance of the Yea Wetlands. Over the last 25 years the local community has co-ordinated its commitment to the area. In 1996 the Upper Goulburn Waterways Authority commenced a program of removing willows that were choking the Yea River before replacing them with local species. It was during those works that the potential value and diversity of the area's wetland ecosystems presented to the township and community. In 2002 Murrindindi Shire Council established the Yea Wetlands Committee of Management (COM), to assist with the management of the wetlands. This committee secured a grant for further development of the wetlands and to regenerate the area on which the Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre sits today.
With the environmental learning potential of the wetlands becoming more evident a feasibility study for an environmental education centre commenced in 2004. Since then the COM has worked closely with the Friends of the Yea Wetlands group, the Yea Wetlands Trustees, Murrindindi Shire Council and the local community to raise funds and secure several grants to build the wetlands into the eco-tourism attraction it is today.
Funding for the development of the Centre was secured in 2013 and included contributions from State Government, Melbourne Water, the Yea Wetlands Trust and significant local fundraising. The first sod was turned in July 2013 and just over a year later the centre opened its doors and the dream of an environmental learning and education centre for Yea was finally realised.
The Yea Wetlands and the Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre are now cared for by a team of dedicated volunteers having strong interests in attracting and servicing the needs of the region’s visitors and caring for, enhancing and promoting the Wetlands.
YEA WETLANDS DISCOVERY CENTRE INC
The YWDC and its operations is managed by an incorporated committee of volunteers, Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre Inc. responsible for the stewardship of the facility and the long term sustainability of the business. Murrindindi Shire Council is the owner of the building and funds and manages the two part time employees (1.1 FTE) who coordinate the YWDC activities. Both organisations work together in close partnership to deliver the range of services and activities on offer at the Centre. In addition to the two part time staff the YWDC is supported by an enthusiastic and dedicated team of over 40 volunteers.
YEA WETLANDS TRUST
Since its formation in 2004 the Trust has raised over $350,000 to assist the development of both the Wetlands and Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre as a base for environmental learning.
The Yea Wetlands Trust Fund is included on the Register of Environmental Organisations and as such has been granted Deductible Gift Recipient status.