Ann McGregor 20 6 23In June 2023, the President of Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC), Ann McGregor, received an Order of Australia Medal in the King’s Birthday awards for service to conservation and the environment.

Along with her husband Bruce, Ann was a key figure in the campaign in the late-1970s to save Merri Creek from being lined with concrete as part of a project to build a new freeway running along the Merri Creek valley in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Soon after moving to Brunswick, Ann and Bruce formed the Brunswick Merri Creek Action Group in 1976 and over almost half a century have helped to turn Merri Creek from an open drain into the environmental and recreation asset that it is today. A webinar from Ann and Bruce explains this important history.

As well as being President of MCMC since 2012, and Secretary for 10 years before that, Ann is Vice-President of Friends of Merri Creek, a role she's held since 2002. She is also the founder and Coordinator of the Friends of Merri Creek Merri Birdwatch. Quarterly bird surveys have been undertaken at 10 sites on Merri Creek, led by experienced, volunteer survey leaders and open to all-comers since 2008.

Ann is grateful for being able to work towards a shared vision with the people of MCMC, Friends of Merri Ceek and other volunteers, Councillors, and Council and agency staff. She says it is very rewarding to see the transformation of the Merri valley but recognises there is still plenty more to do to protect and restore the waterways and natural places of the Merri catchment.

In addition to almost 50 years of volunteer work for Merri Creek, Ann has made important contributions to conservation elsewhere in Victoria.

She is a founder of the Nature Stewards Program Victoria, together with husband Bruce McGregor and a member Program Advisory Group. The Victorian Program is inspired by the well-established Master Naturalist programs in the USA. Ann regularly contributes as a specialist presenter to Nature Steward courses, which are regularly offered by local Councils across greater Melbourne.

Ann has also been a Board member of the Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance; has written numerous submissions to public environmental inquiries; has been a community representative on public committees, e.g. the Community Reference Committee for the Victorian Environment Assessment Council's (VEAC) Metropolitan Melbourne Investigation (2009-2010); and is the author of articles and publications in support of communities caring for nature and environmental initiatives.

The length, breadth and deep effectiveness of Ann's service stands out, as does her ability to inspire, collaborate and coordinate others. Her outreach to and connection with like-minded advocates and doers across Victoria involved in similar biodiversity protection and advocacy is a remarkable contribution to wider community capacity. Ann's skills and preparedness to take on specialist planning advocacy for the Friends of Merri Creek, appearing at state planning tribunals, government panels and advisory committees on behalf of better outcomes for Merri Creek, has multiplied the effectiveness of FoMC and MCMC.