The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group will be holding its next field day on a property on the eastern side of Cairn Curran.
The Control Group would like to make this a record year in the War on Wheel Cactus. Over 50 volunteers attended the first field day for the year and everyone is welcome to participate this month (26 May from 10.30am). Click here to download the flyer which has a map and directions.
“What does successful landscape restoration look like?” was the question posed on a recent Landscape Restoration Bus Tour run by Connecting Country.
Participants in the tour were given a rare opportunity to ‘jump the fence’ into well-established landscape restoration projects on private land to hear the property owners talk about what they had done, why they did it, and how successful they considered the project to be. The tour was led by Geoff Park from the North Central Catchment Management Authority who did a great job of helping participants to interpret what we were seeing and hearing.
Peter Skilbeck adressing the group.
The first site visited was a revegetated ridgeline on a grazing property at Joyces Creek (south-west of Newstead) owned by Peter Skilbeck and his family.
Peter told the group that he began his restoration work because he wanted to grow some trees and shrubs on his property and the site he chose (on a stony ridge) was the “hungriest bit of country” he had. The area, which included some large old Yellow Gum and Grey Box trees, was fenced off and sown with indigenous trees and shrubs using direct seeding about 12 years ago. Peter considered that the project had been quite successful because the plants were growing well and there has been some natural regeneration of native herbs, shrubs and trees in between the planted rows. He considered the most successful area of direct seeding to be where germination had been least successful -leaving more room between plants for natural regeneration. Continue reading
On the weekend of the May 18-19, BirdLife Australia are coordinating the first of this year’s bi-annual mainland surveys for Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters. These occur across south-eastern mainland Australia. This year marks the 19th consecutive year for these range-wide volunteer surveys and they continue to provide insights into the movements and habitat requirements of these two charismatic and highly threatened bird species. Regent Honeyeaters are extremely rare visitors to the Mount Alexander Shire and surrounds, whereas at least some Swift Parrots migrate to (and through) the local area each year in the cooler months. One of the few inland areas to be visited by Swift Parrots so far in 2013 is the Muckleford-Maryborough area where birds have been seen foraging in Yellow Gum and Grey Box vegetation.
Anyone can undertake one or more surveys for these threatened birds – whether this be in your backyard, your favourite local patch of bushland or along a well-vegetated roadside.
For further information, click here to the BirdLife Australia website – the link to the powerpoint display at the bottom of the page is particularly useful. Attached is also a copy of the datasheet (click here). If you undertake a survey at a particular area and find none of the two target species, it is still important to complete the datasheet and return it to BirdLife Australia. Knowing where the bird isn’t occurring is almost as important as knowing where it is occurring. (If you see either of these species at others times, Birdlife would still be very interested to hear about these sightings).
A hungry Swift Parrot. Photo by Geoff Park.
National Reconciliation Week will take place this year between 27 May – 3 June 2013. A range of activities will be held in the Mount Alexander Shire that the community can become involved with, including an indigenous food planting event with Castlemaine Landcare. Also on National Sorry Day (26 May) there will be a gathering in Castlemaine next to the Market Building between 9.50am to 11.45am where people can add their thoughts to the Sorry Tree. This flyer has the full details, as well as the website address for the recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution. While Connecting Country is not directly involved in this year’s program, we are very supportive of this initiative and of efforts towards reconciliation.
It is with great pride that Connecting Country introduces its inaugural Work Crew. Over the past few weeks, this team of five willing workers – Alex (crew leader), Daniele, Jack, Jules and Teresa – have set to work fencing, planting, weeding and controlling pest animals across the shire. They will also receive on-the-job training in Natural Resource Management over the next few months. The crew was formally ‘launched’ at a special lunch-time event on Thursday 18 April at their depot in Castlemaine. You can find out more about the crew on the Connecting Country staff page.
Workcrew cutting the ribbon at the launch. From left Alex, Teresa, Juliet (Jules), Jack and Daniele.
Funded by the Federal Government’s Biodiversity Fund, the Works Crew will carry out these works on private property as part of Connecting Country’s ‘Connecting Landscapes Across the Mount Alexander Region’ programme. Programme manager Jarrod Coote said at the launch, ‘Over the next 4 to 5 years, the programme aims to connect large areas of remnant bushland through the establishment of habitat corridors and scattered plantings on private land. These works are vital if our wildlife is to have somewhere to go in a changing climate. If successful, these works will also reverse some of the native fauna population declines that have occurred as a result of historic habitat modification, fragmentation and loss.’
The Works Crew will implement ‘Connecting Landscapes’ projects on private land. Within particular areas throughout the shire, native bushland on private properties will have their pest plants and vermin treated, and in some cases, missing components of the vegetation re-planted. In addition, many hundreds of hectares of new plantings will be established to form new connections between isolated bush blocks on public and private land.
To express an interest in taking part in the programme, contact Jarrod at Connecting Country on 03 5472 1594 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The May Castlemaine Field Naturalist Club guest speaker will be Matt Sheehan who will talk on “Reflections on the importance of invasive species research, policy development and action for the protection of native ecosystems”.
Matt currently runs a business in Castlemaine called ‘Wild Matters’. He is the former National Chilean Needle Grass Facilitator, and still regularly works on a variety of invasive species issues for all levels of government.
Matt will talk about his interest in botany, starting from Castlemaine Secondary College (including field classes with Ern Perkins), and his journey from there through his degree, honours, PhD and the then his professional experiences at Catchment Management Authorities, state agencies and now as a consultant. His talk will focus on invasive species and draw on examples from his research, policy and community work to show the importance of this work in protecting native vegetation and supporting the work of community groups like the field naturalist clubs.
The talk will be held on Friday 13 July at the Uniting Church Hall in Lyttleton St, Castlemaine (building behind the church), and will commence from 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome.
The fifth edition of the North Central CMA’s Innovative Farming newsletter is now available. This edition includes:
- An interview with Joel Salatin (Time Magazine recently labelled him ‘the world’s most innovative farmer’)
- Upcoming events for the Farming for Australian Conditions project
- An update on the Kilter Agroforestry venture
- A recap on the recent events that the Farming for Australian Conditions project has delivered throughout our region
You can download the newsletter here. This is a large file (8.6 MB) and may take a while to download on your computer depending on your internet connection. If you would prefer to have a hard copy, contact Joel Spry at the NCCMA (0407 835 973, email@example.com) to arrange to have the newsletter mailed to you.
The Faculty of Veterinary Science at The University of Melbourne has been working on a Wildlife Health Surveillance project since July 2008. The aim of the project is to better understand baseline wildlife health and patterns of disease, detect changed patterns and investigate factors involved. Their website can be found here.
You can report sick or dead mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibian to Pam Whitely on 0400 119 301 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information is contained in this flyer.
Trust for Nature held a nest box installation workshop on Sunday, 21 April on a private property neighbouring Pilchers Bridge Nature Conservation Reserve (NCR), south-east of Bendigo.
The workshop is part of a larger project being run by the Trust, which provides nest boxes to 13 private properties that border Pilchers Bridge NCR. Four of these properties already have a Trust for Nature conservation covenant in place. The Trust is also placing nest boxes within Pilchers Bridge NCR itself, to help create better habitat for hollow-dependent wildlife. With more nest boxes on more properties, it is hoped that this combined effort will lead to more wildlife using the Box Ironbark forests of northern Victoria.
Miles Geldard from Wildlife Nestboxes, ran the workshop and taught 34 private landowners how to install the nest boxes and where best to place them. Each attendee received a number of nest boxes at the end of the session. Continue reading
Beginning at 10am on 26 May, Trust for Nature are hosting a Biodiversity field morning at Pigeon Hill, near Maldon. Landowner Jeanne Daly will talk about her conservation work over the last 20 years on her convenated property on ‘Pigeon Hill’ and Chris Tzaros from Birdlife Australia will speak about Woodland Bird conservation. Many of you will know of Chris Tzaros from his ‘Wildlife of the Box Ironbark Country’ book, and his recent evening talk at Newstead on Bird Photography. Find out all the details about this Trust for Nature event in this flyer.