Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Plains for the wanderer talk with Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club – 9 November 2018

Posted on 31 October, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Connecting Country is proud to work with Trust for Nature and delighted to promote the latest presentation with the Castlemaine Field Nats.

Deanna Marshall will present on ‘Plains for the wanderer‘  about a small grassland bird who is doing it tough – the Plains Wanderer. Deanna Marshall is Trust for Nature’s North West Area Manager, and has been working hard to help Plains Wanderer habitat in this region.

Plains-wanderers (photo by David Baker-Gabb)

Deanna supplied the following about these cryptic and special birds:

Plains-wanderers are nationally critically endangered. They share a physical resemblance to quail, but in evolutionary terms, they are one of a kind – there’s no bird like it in the world. In Victoria, 95% of native grasslands that Plains-wanderers formerly occupied have been lost to cultivation and urban development. The protection and maintenance of the habitat of the Plains-wanderer is vital for the conservation of the species, but will this be enough?’

The event commences at 7.30 pm on Friday 9 November 2018 in the Fellowship Room, located in the building behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC (next door to Castlemaine Art Museum). Following Deanna’s talk and questions, tea and snacks will be available.

 

AGM update: Can revegetation reverse the decline of woodland birds in rural landscapes?

Posted on 25 October, 2018 by Tanya Loos

STOP PRESS! UPDATE ON OUR THREATENED SPECIES FORUM AND AGM!

In a slight variation to Connecting Country’s program for our event on 10 November 2018, our esteemed guest speaker Professor Andrew Bennett has now confirmed he will speak on:

Can revegetation reverse the decline of woodland birds in rural landscapes?’

Andrew will talk about a study of revegetation and birds in south-western Victoria (Hamilton area) that has results that may be relevant to our local revegetation work.

We’re very excited to hear this talk, as Connecting Country’s long-term bird monitoring results suggest that the answer is YES. Recent statistical analysis of our data by Dr Kerryn Herman at BirdLife Australia found that restoration sites support a high diversity of bird species (second only to gully or fertile sites). Furthermore, these restoration sites have the highest number of individual birds recorded out of all of our sites.

We’ll also hear PhD candidate Jess Lawton present her recent research on the Brush-tailed Phascogale. The updated program flier can be found here.

Beautifully revegetated bushland by Campbells Creek provides a haven for bush birds, thanks to Friends of Campbells Creek


Join our nature share

Following the popularity of our nature quiz earlier this year, we’ve planned another fun activity. This time, we ask everyone to bring along a small item of nature that they love or inspires them. It could be an object such as a feather, or an animal-themed shirt, or an artwork of some kind. Each table then decides on which item to share with the wider group. It’s a bit of fun – participation is encouraged rather than mandatory!

AGM formalities

Our annual general meeting (AGM) and threatened species forum will be held at Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC) from 4.00 pm – 7.00 pm, with AGM formalities taking place from 4.00 – 4.30 pm. For a copy of our agenda click here.

If you are a Connecting Country member, you are:

  • Entitled to vote on any and all relevant agenda items. Proxy forms are available if you are unable to attend the AGM, but still wish to vote. These must be received at least 24 hours before the AGM is held.
  • Able to nominate to join the Connecting Country committee. If you are interested in applying to join the committee, you are encouraged to contact the current president – Brendan Sydes – to talk about what is involved in being on the committee and the opportunities available (email: president@connectingcountry.org.au). A copy of the committee nomination form may be downloaded here.

Please contact Margaret (margaret@connectingcountry.org.au) if you are unsure if you are a member, if you’d like a proxy form, or if you’d like a copy of the 2017 AGM minutes or 2017-18 financial statements to read before the meeting.

RSVP

To ensure sufficient catering and seating, please RSVP by email to margaret@connectingcountry.org.au or call the Connecting Country team on 5472 1594.

All are welcome! Membership forms will be available if you’re not already a member of Connecting Country but would like to join.

 

 

Winners in our eyes

Posted on 24 October, 2018 by Asha

Landcare in the Mount Alexander region was well represented at the recent National Landcare Conference in Brisbane. Both Ian Higgins (Friends of Campbells Creek) and the Cactus Warriors (Tarrangower Cactus Control Group) were up for National Landcare Awards. Sadly neither were awarded first place, but we appreciate the incredible work they do for our community and environment regardless of a trophy! We thank them for all for their achievements and the hard work they continue to do.

The nominees put together videos in the lead up to the awards, which are worth checking out: CLICK HERE for the Cactus Warriors’ video and CLICK HERE for Ian Higgins’ video. Friends of Campbells Creek was also  featured recently on WIN news – CLICK HERE to view the clip. These videos showcase the amazing difference our local Landcare groups make. Please share them around if you can.

Both groups have events on this Sunday 28 October 2018, so you may have to make a hard choice!

For information:

  • On the Cactus Warriors last community field day for the year, CLICK HERE
  • On the Friends of Campbells Creek‘s next working bee, CLICK HERE 

Here are Ian Higgins and the Cactus Warriors enjoying the National Landcare Conference (photos by Asha Bannon).

 

 

BirdLife Castlemaine AGM and Geoff Park presentation – 27 October 2018

Posted on 18 October, 2018 by Tanya Loos

The team at BirdLife Castlemaine invites you all to the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch. This historic occasion includes a presentation by the bird-man of Newstead himself, Mr Geoff Park, and a short guided bird walk.

BirdLife Castlemaine AGM and Geoff Park presentation
Saturday 27 October, 2018 at 2.00 pm
Campbells Creek Community Centre, 45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC

Please consider nominating for the committee. The positions vacant are Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and three general committee members. Nomination forms and proxy voting forms can be obtained by emailing castlemaine@birdlife.org.au or by phoning Judy Hopley (Acting Secretary) on 5472 1156. Nominations will be accepted at the meeting.

A Yellow-tufted Honeyeater in all its golden glory – one of Geoff Park’s stunning photos


Birdlife Castlemaine supplied the following biography of their guest speaker:

Geoff is a Director of Natural Decisions, an organisation with expertise in environmental and natural resource economics, ecology, land and water management, and agricultural science. With such a busy schedule, somehow Geoff manages to play a pivotal role in the Newstead community where he resides. He’s involved in many local projects that make Newstead the vibrant place it is. 

Renowned Australia-wide, Geoff’s blog Natural Newstead website (https://geoffpark.wordpress.com) is insightful, entertaining and a visual feast. It is a joy to read the daily posts and his photographs alone are stunning.  For those not already subscribed, it is highly recommended. Together with Chris Tzaros, Geoff runs highly sought after photography courses held in spring and autumn. Despite Geoff’s busy calendar he has always been patient and generous in answering bird queries. Should you run into him bird watching, he’ll be the bloke with the big lens who loves a chat about our feathered friends.

Following the AGM, talk and afternoon tea it is proposed to hold a short birdwatching ramble along nearby Campbells Creek.  Thanks to those who have already sent acceptances and apologies.  If you haven’t responded please let us know if you plan to attend.

RSVP via email: castlemaine@birdlife.org.au

Jane 00448 900 896 or Judy 5472 1156

 

Habitat restoration projects for 2018-2019 – call for expressions of interest

Posted on 18 October, 2018 by Jacqui

Connecting Country is pleased to invite expressions of interest for our new woodland habitat restoration projects in 2018-2019. We are thrilled to support our growing network of landholders who are interested or perhaps already committed to land management actions that benefit local habitat and the wonderful woodland wildlife it supports. This includes threatened species of the Temperate Woodland Bird Community that have been shown to be in decline in central Victoria, such as Hooden Robin, Jacky Winter and Diamond Firetail.

Understorey planting to restore woodland habitat in 2018. 

The opportunities for assistance have been made possible through our ‘Prickly plants for wildlife on small properties’ project supported by the North Central Catchment Management Authority, and for larger properties, the ‘Remnant rescue: restoring woodland bird habitat in central Victoria‘ project supported by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

To be eligible landholders must own land within Mount Alexander region and have a minimum of 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of native vegetation (excluding buildings, dams, gardens, etc.).

For information on how to apply – read on!

Commitment to on-ground actions

The project commitments will include planting of key missing understorey plants to enhance and support your existing native vegetation, along with priority weed control and pest management. Control of weeds and rabbits assists natural regeneration, and helps your plants have the best chance to get established and grow to benefit woodland wildlife on your property.

Eligibility criteria

We’re seeking properties and landholders that meet these criteria:

Hooded Robin pair (male above, female below). Photo by Geoff Park.

  • Location – within Mount Alexander Shire
  • Land tenure – private land owned by the applicant
  • Project area size – minimum of 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of native vegetation, excluding buildings, dams, gardens, etc.
  • Vegetation quality – existing remnant vegetation (native trees, grasses and shrubs), may include land in transition to native species after removal of grazing, but not cleared paddocks
  • Commitment – landholders willing and able to commit to land management actions (e.g., weed and rabbit control, supplementary planting, grazing exclusion, retaining fallen trees)
  • Long-term benefits – Properties and landholders likely to result in long-term improvements in biodiversity and habitat quality for woodland birds and other native species

Site visit process

Landholders who meet the eligibility criteria will receive a site visit to discuss your goals for your property, review habitat values on your property, and provide management advice and a species list.

Selection process for assistance

Following the site visit process, assistance will be allocated to landholders based on current vegetation quality, size of the proposed project area, commitment and capacity for land management actions, location relative to priority restoration areas, and the potential for lasting habitat improvement. Management actions will be tailored to each property, but may include development of a management plan, supplementary planting, weed and rabbit control, grazing exclusion, and retaining leaf litter, standing and fallen trees. In the case of high demand, we may not be able to assist every eligible landholder, but will keep you on file for future projects.

For selected properties, we will supply plants (if applicable to your project) and in-kind support, and then it is over to you!  Planting, watering, pest control and maintenance will be carried out by the landholder. For larger properties, some initial assistance with planting, weed and rabbit control, and grazing exclusion will be available from the Dja Dja Wurrung works crew. It will be up to landholders to manage any contractors required to assist you on your land. Of course we will be on deck for any information or questions as needed.

How to apply

All interested landholders in the Mount Alexander region are encouraged to complete an expression of interest formExpressions of interest close 21 November 2018. To find out more or discuss your eligibility, call Jacqui at Connecting Country on 5472 1594. If you have filled out an expression of interest form in the past 12 months, we have you on file and you don’t need to fill in another form. Simply email info@connectingcountry.org.au to let us know you are still interested and we will be in touch.

 

Creatures photo exhibition in Castlemaine

Posted on 17 October, 2018 by Frances

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) is holding a ‘Creatures’ photo exhibition. The 24 photos show a small percentage of the many wonderful creatures that inhabit our Box-Ironbark Forests. They were selected from 125 photos submitted by 23 local photographers.

The exhibition runs from 12 October to 29 November 2018 at Togs Place, 58 Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC.

Over half of the exhibition photos are of birds and include the critically endangered Swift Parrot, a group of perching Juvenile Scarlet Robins and a Red Wattlebird bathing. The rest show other beautiful local fauna including a macro shot of a Grasshopper Nymph, a watchful Koala and a curious Yellow-footed Antichinus. To see all submitted photos in a FOBIF Flickr album: click here

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests has been conducting art and photography exhibitions since 1999. They have all had the same purpose: to honour the native forests of the region, continuing the long tradition of artistic involvement with these forests.

This Creatures exhibition aims to give viewers an appreciation of the amazing variety and unique qualities of fauna to be found in our local bushlands. All photos are for sale with proceeds going to Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests. More than one copy of each photo is available for sale.

For inquiries please contact Bronwyn Silver on 0448 751 111.

 

Echidna presentation and Newstead Landcare AGM – 18 October 2018

Posted on 16 October, 2018 by Jacqui

Newstead Landcare is delighted to have Dr Kath Handasyde from The University of Melbourne to speak at their AGM at 8 pm this Thursday 18 October 2018 at Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons St, Newstead VIC).

The AGM will be speedy then we can all enjoy Kath’s presentation about one of only two Australian egg-laying mammals – the Echidna.

Echidna photographed at Strangways by Patrick Kavanagh

Echidnas are our most widely distributed mammals, occurring in all regions of Australia. They are classified as myrmecophages, feeding extensively on social insects, such as ants and termites.

These are a rich and abundant food resource for which echidnas have clear adaptations, such as a long narrow snout, sticky tongue and powerful digging abilities. Echidnas are one of the relatively small number of Australian mammals that undergo hibernation.

Please come along to hear some more about these extraordinary animals in a presentation about their ecology and behaviour.

All welcome! A gold coin donation will be appreciated to help cover costs.

 

Open house on Forest Fire Management Vic activities – 18 October 2018

Posted on 9 October, 2018 by Frances

Talk to Forest Fire Management Victoria, share your local knowledge and learn more about what they do in Central Victoria

Forest Fire Management Victoria invites you to come and discuss their management activities including:

  • The Joint Fuel Management Plan (previously Fire Operations Plan)
  • Domestic firewood
  • Planned burning and other fuel management activities
  • State forest and crown land management


When:
Thursday 18 October 2018 from 4.00 – 7.00 pm

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine VIC (next to Victory Park)

For further information visit https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au or email loddonmallee.plannedburning@delwp.vic.gov.au

 

Woodland birds of central Victoria with Chris Tzaros – 13 October 2018

Posted on 9 October, 2018 by Asha

Axe Creek Landcare invites you to:

Working with Nature — conserving woodland birds with special guest, Chris Tzaros (Birds, bush and beyond)

  • Join Axe Creek Landcare for a visual extravaganza of award winning bird photography from wildlife ecologist Chris Tzaros.
  • Learn about the habitat requirements of our woodland birds, why some are endangered and what conservation actions you can do to reverse local declines.
  • Meet neighbours and people and network to develop ideas for future on-ground activities.
  • Join optional local field trip for those interested in learning more in the field.
  • Light lunch provided.


When:
Saturday 13 October 2018 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm AEDT

Where: Emu Creek Hall, Cnr Emu Creek and Hargreaves Rd, Emu Creek (via Strathfieldsaye), VIC 3551

Bookings: click here

For more information please contact Adrian Martins on 0427 099 376.

 

Intrepid Landcare Leadership and Macedon Biodiversity Strategy

Posted on 3 October, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Krista Patterson-Majoor (former Connecting Country director) is now busy helping the beautiful natural environment and communities of our neighbours at the Macedon Ranges. Krista has notified us of two exciting opportunities:

Intrepid Landcare Leadership Course for young people

The Upper Deep Creek Landcare Network still have a number of places available for the Intrepid Landcare Leadership Retreat, to be held in Riddells Creek from Friday 26 October to Sunday 28 October 2018. This is a really great capacity building program for young people with an interest in the natural environment.

The retreat is open to 18 to 35 year olds. For further information, click here for the flier.

Applications close on 14 October 2018.

Have your say on the Draft Macedon Ranges Biodiversity Strategy

Krista and I hiked Mount Macedon earlier in the year -a top spot! Pic by Tanya Loos

Been hiking at Hanging Rock? Or enjoyed the cool montane forests of Mount Macedon? Here is your opportunity to read and review the Draft Macedon Ranges Biodiversity Strategy, prepared by Krista.

The strategy establishes a shared vision between Macedon Ranges Shire Council, the community and other stakeholders for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity values across the shire. It identifies some policy and planning initiatives, as well as priorities for community engagement, on ground action and monitoring change.

The draft strategy is available at: http://www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/About-Council/News/Have-Your-Say/Have-your-say-on-the-draft-Macedon-Ranges-Biodiversity-Strategy

Hard copies are available to view at all Macedon Ranges Shire Council administration centres. A summary document is available here.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council would like to know:

  • Is the strategy guiding our activities in the right direction?
  • Is the strategy feasible to implement and supported by our community and stakeholders?

You can have your say by sending a written submission to Macedon Ranges Shire Council, PO Box 151, Kyneton VIC 3444 or email mrsc@mrsc.vic.gov.au.

Submissions close on Sunday 21 October 2018.

 

Prickly plants for wildlife on small properties

Posted on 3 October, 2018 by Jacqui

A Diamond Firetail making good use of Hedge Wattle (Acacia paradoxa). Photo by Geoff Park.

We are pleased to announce that due to high demand for our ‘Prickly plants for wildlife’ project, we’ve secured additional funding from the North Central Catchment Management Authority to extend the project. This time we’re able to include smaller project areas.

Our original Prickly plants project during 2017-18 generated a huge amount of interest from our local landholders. Unfortunately we couldn’t include everyone, but we were able to help nine landholders develop and implement management actions over 64 ha of private land. As well as strategic revegetation of native prickly plants, actions included protecting remnant vegetation, and weed and rabbit control.

Many woodlands in the Mount Alexander region have lost their understorey plants that provided essential protection from predators, food and nesting habitat for small birds and mammals. Prickly Plants for Wildlife on Small Properties will supply eligible landholders with valuable prickly understorey plants that will enhance existing native vegetation, and provide habitat for many small birds currently in decline including Diamond Firetail, Jacky Winter, Hooded Robin, Brown Treecreeper and Painted Button-quail.

Prickly plant species that help these little birds include Bushy Needlewood (Hakea decurrens), Tree Violet (Melicytus dentatus), Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa), and acacias such as Hedge Wattle (Acacia paradoxa) and Spreading Wattle (Acacia genistifolia).

Expressions of interest to participate will open soon for eligible landholders with native vegetation of a minimum area of one hectare (2.5 acres).

Many thanks to North Central Catchment Management Authority for their support.

 

Nuggetty Land Protection Group book launch

Posted on 27 September, 2018 by Asha

Nuggetty Land Protection Group invites you to an afternoon celebrating the history of the area with the unveiling of a plaque marking the site of the Porcupine Flat School and the launch of ‘A History of Seventeen Central Victoria Schools’ followed by afternoon tea at ‘Crown Hill’.

Sunday 14 October 2018 from 2.30-4.30 pm

‘Crown Hill’, 186 Three Chain Road, Walmer, VIC 3463
(Vicroads RACV Country Directory: 44 C9; latitude 36.9604, longitude 144.1175)

  • Parking available in Three Chain Road and at ‘Crown Hill’ – enter via the shearing shed gate
  • Disabled parking also available
  • Plaque unveiling at the adjacent Porcupine Flat School site
  • Book launch to follow at ‘Crown Hill’

Enquiries: Jane Mitchell (0457 729 132 or jemitch517@gmail.com) or Sue Barnett (0417 368990 or sba56183@bigpond.net.au)

Those attending will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of ‘A History of Seventeen Central Victoria Schools: Baringhup, Baringhup East, Baringhup West, Bradford, Brokenback, Eastville, Gowar, Muckleford, Muckleford South, Neereman, Nuggetty, Porcupine Flat, Shelbourne, Shelbourne South, Tarrengower, Walmer, Walmer North’ by Ken James and Sue Barnett.

Please email Sue if you would like to reserve a copy of the book as it has a limited print run.

Image ‘Porcupine Flat School 1907’ courtesy of the Maldon Museum and Archives Association

 

National Waterbug Blitz Workshop

Posted on 27 September, 2018 by Asha

Help monitor the health of waterways in the Mt Alexander region!

North Central Waterwatch, Castlemaine Landcare Group and the Friends of Campbells Creek are working together to engage local community members in monitoring the health of Forest Creek, Barkers Creek and Campbells Creek in the Mt Alexander region. They will be providing an introduction to and training in water quality monitoring and waterbug assessments to those citizen scientists wishing to join the program.

Water quality monitoring looks at the temperature, turbidity, salinity, nutrient and pH levels of water, to helps us understand how conditions change over time. Waterbugs (or macroinvertebrates) are excellent indicators of river health and one way we can measure the success of remediation work over time.

Join these groups, together with John Gooderham (freshwater ecologist and co-author of ‘The Waterbug Book’) for this accredited workshop. You will learn the Agreed Level Taxonomy (ALT) macroinvertebrate method of identifying waterbugs and how to use water quality monitoring equipment. They will demonstrate how we can use this information to assess creek health, and show you how you can be a citizen scientist.

Each year North Central Waterwatch, in partnership with Castlemaine Landcare Group and the Friends of Campbells Creek, will release an Annual River Health Snapshot Report. The report will highlight changes in ecosystem health of these waterways using data collected by citizen scientists.

North Central Waterwatch is hosting a registration day and training session on Campbells Creek – please come along!

Campbells Creek – National Waterbug Blitz
When:
 Tuesday 16 October 2018 from 10.00 am – 2.30 pm
Where: Campbells Creek Swimming Pool Reserve, Midland Highway, Campbells Creek VIC (across the road from Beards Hardware). A map will be provided following registration.
Cost: Free event, lunch is provided.
To register: Click here or call 03 5448 7124
Bring: If you have them, bring gumboots or waders, waterbug ALT guide, magnifying glasses, camera and smart phone.

Download the Waterbug App from your App store prior to the event.

 

Threatened fauna forum and our AGM – 10 November 2018

Posted on 20 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

A date for your diary! Join Connecting Country for an afternoon/evening of science, food and fun.
Hear from two leading scientists and share a yummy vegetarian meal, incorporating our (famously short) AGM.

All welcome!

Threatened fauna forum and AGM
Saturday 10 November 2018 from 4.00 to 7.00 pm
Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC)

Our presenters are both wonderful supporters of Connecting Country. Andrew helped design both of our long term monitoring programs (woodland birds and nest boxes). Jess has incorporated the Connecting Country nest box data into her PhD on Brush-tailed Phascogales. Jess also assisted enormously in our 2018 nest box check.

Professor Andrew Bennett (La Trobe University & Arthur Rylah Institute): Connecting Country’s woodland bird data – trends and questions  


 

 

 

 

 

PhD candidate Jess Lawton (La Trobe University): Results of Connecting Country’s Brush-tailed Phascogale monitoring 

 

RSVP is essential if you wish to join us for dinner.
For more information and bookings email tanya@connectingcountry.org.au or phone 5472 1594.

To view our flyer for the event: click here

This threatened species forum is generously supported by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust via our Habitat Health Check project.

 

Water workshop with Muckleford Catchment Landcare

Posted on 18 September, 2018 by Asha

Let the rain run in, not off – an introduction to landscape function on a farm in transition

Join Muckleford Catchment Landcare at a workshop on how water functions in our landscape, presented by Muckleford landowner and ecologist, Paul Foreman, and land planning consultant, David Griffith.

Do you have cleared paddocks and want them to be more healthy and productive from both farm and conservation perspectives? Have these experts answer your questions about how you want your property to work.

Date: Sunday 23 September 2018
Time: 10 am to 12 noon
Location: Paul’s property at 678 Lewis Road, Muckleford VIC
Parking behind the house. Morning tea provided.

Please RSVP to Beth via email or call on 0431 219 980. 

 

Learn about landscape connectivity: science and practice

Posted on 18 September, 2018 by Asha

Newstead Landcare are hosting an interesting talk this Thursday.

Dr Jim Radford (Principal Research Fellow from the Research Centre for Future Landscapes, La Trobe University) will talk about the science and practice of connecting landscapes, what works and what we should be aiming for in landscape restoration projects.

Jim will focus on the benefits of revegetation in restoring rural landscapes, guiding principles for landscape restoration, and priorities and guidelines to improve landscape connectivity.

Landscape connectivity: science and practice
Venue: Newstead Community Centre, 9 Lyons Street Newstead VIC
Date: Thursday 20 Sept 2018
Time: 8 pm to 9 pm followed by supper

A gold coin donation would be appreciated to help cover costs.

 

Fabulous fauna photos required for FOBIF exhibition

Posted on 13 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

The theme of the next Friends of Box Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) photo exhibition is Creatures, and they are seeking entries now.

TOGS Cafe in Castlemaine will host the exhibition in November 2018.

So if you have a favourite photo/s of wildlife in our region send them along to FOBIF (info@fobif.org.au). Get cracking and select your fave pics: the closing date for the submission of photos is  1 October 2018.

Bronwyn Silver has kindly supplied some beautiful photos of local fauna for some inspiration.

For more info and the submission guidelines, see the FOBIF website here.

 

 

Baringhup Birds on Farms workshop – a great partnership event

Posted on 13 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

On 9 September 2018 about forty people gathered on a beautiful property in Baringhup to learn about Birds on Farms. The day was a joint workshop by Connecting Country and Baringhup Landcare, and the participants ranged from Connecting Country regular workshop enthusiasts, bird survey volunteers, farmers from in and around the Baringhup area and Landcare members.

Two bird surveys were conducted down on the bird survey area. Curiously each survey recorded 13 birds, though each time the species composition was different! The surveys may be seen here and here. A few new species were recorded on the day – including the Grey Fantail.

Many thanks to Roy and Caroline Lovel for being such wonderful hosts, and all the many helpers on the day, especially Jackie Brown who helped Roy wash up all the bowls and cups!

Attendee Liz Burns wrote this wonderful summary of the day. Thanks Liz!

 Birds On Farms workshop

As a long-term attender of Connecting Country’s field days, it was a pleasure to take up Tanya’s request for someone to write up today’s events. In fact, I could write a book with all the detailed notes that I’ve taken over the years.

As usual, this one hit the mark and maintained the usual high standard.

As a full-time biological farmer who relies upon our native birds for pest control and even some pollination services, and a keen lifelong observer of all the complex relationships in nature, this is a subject dear to my heart. It was even more heartening to meet other like-minded farmers with the added bonus of passionate  protectors of very old trees.

 To read Liz’s detailed notes of the speakers’ presentations click Birds-On-Farms-Field-Day-write-up

After lunch we did separate farm and birds walks: Roy led a group up to the top of the property, and Tanya and Chris conducted a bird survey on a lower restoration area.

I would like to see the Connecting Country model rolled out across the State, as the best value for money blending of agriculture, environment and Indigenous history, especially as 70% of the State is in private hands and the State does not manage Crown Land very well (in my opinion). If farmers could be helped with managing their land, incorporating environmental and cultural values, we could maximise biodiversity and future food production with a three-way partnership with farmers, environmentalists and Traditional owners.

As usual, the catering, the company and weather was of the highest standard.

Grateful thanks must go to Connecting Country and all involved, but in particular Tanya Loos for yet another fascinating and informative day.

Liz Burns, Trewella Farm, Musk

Please scroll through the following gallery of photos from the day.

 

 

Biodiversity Response Planning: a new Connecting Country project

Posted on 13 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Biodiversity Response Planning projects announced

BRP planning – photo by DELWP

Over the six months, a diverse array of government, Traditional Owner and community organisations from across Victoria came together to participate in an intense Biodiversity Response Planning process. Connecting Country was one of these organisations!

After a lot of hard work, 89 new projects were just announced by the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, including 85 projects for on-ground biodiversity action worth $33.67 million. These projects are part of the government’s investment to implement Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 and will be delivered by various stakeholders over the next three years.

Connecting Country is excited to announce that our proposed project was selected for funding.

For the full list of successful projects visit: https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/biodiversity/biodiversity-response-planning

Our project: Remnant rescue – restoring woodland bird habitat in central Victoria

Local landscape – photo by Bonnie Humphreys

We know that much of central Victoria’s native woodland has been heavily disturbed by a long history of mining, clearing, woodcutting, grazing, and changes in fire and water regimes. The Box-Ironbark landscape contains provides habitat for many threatened species including the threatened Temperate Woodland Bird Community. Scientific studies demonstrate an alarming acceleration in the decline of most species within this community over recent years. Habitat loss is the single greatest threat to woodland birds, and exacerbates other threats, such as predation by cats and foxes, and prolonged drought. Many of the remaining woodlands lack complexity and are missing the key understorey species that provide food, nesting sites and protection from predators for woodland birds and other animals.

Within the Mount Alexander region, large areas of remnant woodlands and priority habitat exist on private land. Through our work, Connecting Country has identified numerous private landholders with the interest, enthusiasm and capacity to protect and restore woodland habitat on their land, but require guidance and practical assistance.

This project restores habitat for the Temperate Woodland Bird Community by focusing on weeds and rabbit control to promote natural regeneration of native species. We’ll supplement this by strategic revegetation with key missing understorey plants to increase species diversity and community complexity. The project targets 60 ha of priority areas of potential habitat on private land, engaging landholders to develop appropriate management actions tailored for their properties. We’ll also implement weed and rabbit control on 40 ha of complementary areas of public land.

Diamond Firetail – photo by Geoff Park

Connecting Country is proud to oversee the project in collaboration with our project partners: local landholders, Dja Dja Wurrung, Trust for Nature, Parks Victoria and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

 

‘Future-proof your restoration’ seminars

Posted on 6 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

The recent ‘Future-proof your restoration’  seminars brought the local community together with relevant experts to discuss and share the issues we face in landscape restoration, especially the challenge of our changing climate. Seminar one (Friday 24 August 2018) explored ‘Weeds to watch’. Seminar two (Friday 31 August 2018) addressed ‘Planting for the future’.

Our excellent guest speakers shared a wealth of knowledge and experience, and their expertise was warmly received by an enthusiastic audience at both events.

Thank you to everyone who helped make these seminars successful, including our presenters, the Landcare Steering Group, and volunteers who helped behind the scenes. The seminars were funded by the North Central Catchment Management Authority, through the Victorian Landcare Program, and organised by Asha Bannon, Connecting Country’s Landcare Facilitator.

Everyone gathered to listen to our guests speak about ‘Weeds to watch’

Read on for short summaries of each event, and click on the presentation titles to download a copy of the slides. Keep an eye out for another blog post coming soon, with links to copies of the resources we had available at the events.

Weeds to watch

David started us off by talking about the ecology of weeds, and how they affect us and the environment. He gave useful advice about the most strategic ways to manage weeds effectively. David encouraged us to look at ‘absences’ of weeds on our properties and project areas, to learn to appreciate what we have achieved rather than be overwhelmed by the weeds we have yet to control. John then shared information about grassy weeds – those that are  a problem now, and those that are likely to become a bigger issue with climate change. He stressed the importance of early detection and eradication of new and emerging weeds, plus better practices to reduce their spread in the first place. For details see:

 

Planting for the future

The three presentations were very different and complemented each other beautifully! Jeroen spoke passionately about the urgent need for large-scale landscape restoration, based on his work on Bush Heritage properties in the Wedderburn and St Arnaud area – particularly the Nardoo Hills. Sacha clearly outlined a practical way to approach revegetation that buffers the changing climate, and uses scientific monitoring to guide us in that approach.  Brian took us down to the square metre level as he recounted the tale of the restoration of an urban waterway, and the return of bush birds such as Brown Thornbills to the Merri Creek. Brian also talked about the struggle many of us face when it comes to accepting and adapting to the new approaches needed to future-proof our restoration.

From left to right: Chris from Connecting Country, Jeroen, Sacha, Brian and Asha.

For details see: