Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

2017 Camp-Out – Camping and Connecting with Country

Posted on 6 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

The beautiful Leanganook Campground on Mount Alexander set the scene for the Camp Out on The Mount over the weekend of 1-2 April 2017. Hosted by Connecting Country with Harcourt Valley Landcare and Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests, over eighty children and adults enjoyed a packed weekend of free environmental and cultural heritage education activities. Check out lots of fun photos at the end of this post!

To start the weekend, Trent Nelson of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation gave a Welcome to Country and Mount Alexander Shire Counsellor, Bronwen Machin, officially opened the Camp Out by cutting the pine tree ribbon.

A keen team of volunteer ‘Pine Assassins’ then headed down the road to Dog Rocks to treat feral pine trees. Experienced assassins mentored some new apprentices in drilling-and-filling and cutting-and-painting, and together they continued the work done at past Camp Outs controlling pines.

Back at the campground, families took part in engaging activities aimed at increasing understanding about the environment and Aboriginal culture. Parks Victoria ranger, Brendan Smith, ran through the importance of soils and showed how to propagate local indigenous plants, Aunty Julie McHale from Nalderun Aboriginal Services shared  Aboriginal kids games, and Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary held kids in awe with their wild animal display.

Ahead of lunch Aunty Julie told the creation story of Bunjil and answered questions about Aboriginal language, stories, and food sources. Everyone then focused on setting up their tents, having a rest in the sun, and soaking in the beautiful place. Later, George Milford from Harcourt Valley Landcare Group did a wonderful job of entertaining adults and children alike with stories about the history of the Mount, both geological and human.

Harcourt Lions Club provided a delicious BBQ dinner and Muckleford Landcarers Beth, Neville, Nioka, Maisy, and Theo prepared damper for all the kids to cook on the communal campfire. A big thank-you to Juliet Walsh and Jenny and Paul Leishman for donating the firewood.

Brendan’s walk along the Great Dividing Trail allowed us to see, hear and smell the bush at night while looking for animals with nocturnal habits. We spotted one or two Brush-tailed Possums and heard a few bats flying overhead.

It was a chilly night for those who camped out, but well worth it for the beautiful sunrise on Sunday morning. Early risers were treated to a bird and nature walk with Connecting Country’s Tanya Loos. They learnt how to be ‘bush detectives’ by sneaking quietly and looking closely, and how to tell your Grey Fantail from a White-eared Honeyeater.

Combining environmental education with on-ground action and an appreciation of the local forests is something the Camp Out has managed to do each year. A small army of volunteers made this event happen and for this great effort we thank everyone who gave up their time and energy to provide an active and informative experience at Leanganook.

Connecting Country is looking forward revisiting the mount on Saturday 17th June 2017 for the Little Habitat Heroes planting day. We hope to see more young families learn about and look after nature on Mount Alexander.

Camp-out on the Mount 2017 was made possible with support from the Australian Government, the Victorian Landcare Initiative, the Harcourt Lions Club, Harcourt Valley Landcare Group, and the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forest.


One response to “2017 Camp-Out – Camping and Connecting with Country”

  1. Beth Mellick says:

    Big thanks to the teenage pine assassins who were volunteers from the Castlemaine Secondary College.

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