Art collective Open Heart Surgery presents 'TOOLANGI' / by Minna Leunig

A few good friends and I have recently created 'Open Heart Surgery' (@openheartsurgery___), an arts collective fundraising for environmental and community based projects. Our first event is 'TOOLANGI' – a music and arts event showcasing a diverse range of works from locally based artists, with 100% of the profits going towards the protection of precious old growth forests in Victoria. 



Toolangi State Forest, located in Victoria’s central highlands, is home to many unique species and ecosystems which are currently on the brink of ecological collapse. Along with many of its neighbouring old growth Mountain Ash forests, Toolangi provides vital habitat for threatened species such as the Leadbetter Possum (Victoria's faunal emblem), the Powerful Owl, the Sooty owl and the Greater Glide. These beautiful creatures are now in a critical state of survival. Old growth Mountain Ash forests are the only form of habitat in which the Leadbetter possums can survive, and at the current rate of logging it is predicted that it will be extinct within the next 20 - 40 years. 

The Mountain Ash themselves (the world’s tallest flowering tree) now face an uncertain future. There are just 1.5-3% of Mountain Ash forests left as a result of clear-fell logging practices and major bushfires throughout recent decades. Not only do these forests provide vital habitat, they are crucial resources in the face of climate change, storing more carbon per hectare than any other forest studied in the world. Research shows that the older these forests are, the more carbon the trees sequester.

Thankfully, there are many groups making passionate efforts to prevent these forests from being logged. The Great Forest National Park is gaining more and more support, and if it goes ahead will ensure the protection of many areas of these forests. Recently, a case bought forward by Environmental Justice Australia on behalf of the Friends of the Leadbetter Possum has succeeded in halting Vicforests from logging in 34 areas with a Federal Court order. This is temporary though, with a two day hearing taking place from the 14th of December. 

Funds raised from this event will go directly towards supporting Environmental Justice Australia in their fight to expose the unlawful logging practices of Vicforests. Further funds will be contributed towards the Great Forest National Park.

'TOOLANGI' | 16th October 3.30pm | The Old Bar, 74-76 Johnson St, Fitzroy

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