Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Tuan Talk by Jess Lawton – Newstead Landcare AGM

Posted on 17 October, 2017 by Asha

This Thursday evening, 19th October 2017, Newstead Landcare Group is hosting a presentation by PhD candidate Jess Lawton. Jess is studying the Tuan or Brush-tailed Phascogale, a threatened and declining species of the Box-Ironbark country. The presentation will start at 8pm at Newstead Community Centre and all are welcome. A gold coin donation would be appreciated.  Afterwards there will be supper and a brief AGM.

Jess says,

“The Brush-tailed Phascogale is a rare, threatened species, and is declining in Victoria. Our understanding of its conservation biology is limited because it is sparsely distributed, ‘trap-shy’, and has been difficult to survey using traditional techniques. We know that this species has a rapid reproductive cycle, whereby all males die of stress and exhaustion after their first breeding season. We also know that this species often has a large home range of up to 100 ha. Therefore, the current thinking is that it requires large areas of intact forest for a population to persist. However, this species still occurs in modified habitats, such as paddock trees, roadsides, and isolated remnant patches. The aim of my study is to see if the occurrence of the Brush-tailed Phascogale in a modified landscape relates to patch size and patch connectedness.

Connecting Country set 150 nest box sites in 2010 to provide habitat for this species through the Mount Alexander Shire. They have since monitored many of these nest box sites every two years, and now have a number of years of data on this species occurrence in the region. I selected 50 of these 150 sites, stratified according to landscape context (ie. the amount of tree cover surrounding each nest box site). Between April and June 2016, while Connecting Country conducted their nest-box checks, I set two cameras at each of these 50 sites.

In this study, I model the occurrence of Brush-tailed Phascogales in the Mount Alexander Shire with landscape attributes, such as the size of a forest patch, and a number of habitat attributes collected in the field, including forest productivity, forest structure, logs and leaf litter, and tree size and species.

One property near Axe Creek was home to a particularly active population of Brush-tailed Phascogales, and you can watch a video of the sort of footage we detected”


Getting to know plants of Maldon and surrounds

Posted on 12 October, 2017 by Asha

Intern Sarah Edwards has recently commenced her placement with Connecting Country and attended the ‘Get to know your local plants’ workshop in Maldon on Saturday the 7th of October 2017. This is her account of the afternoon:

Out of the 1100 plant species found in beautiful central Victoria, 60% of these are native species. These native plants are separated by their characteristics (flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, bark) and are crucial for the survival of the birds, bugs, marsupials and other native animals that are found here.

This was an invaluable workshop. When attempting to correctly identify plants using reference books, there is often a limited amount of information and pictures able to be displayed, making detailed identification a challenge. The last thing I would want to do is accidentally pull out a native plant that I thought was a weed. One of the values of this workshop was being able to use live plant samples to practise on and have experts (Bonnie Humphreys and Frances Cincotta) on hand to help.

We all undertook a series of activities, the aim of which was to use the brief descriptions and other clues provided to identify what a given plant specimen was called. Each table had different types of plants (eucalypts, wattles, pea flowers, prickly shrubs etc.) that share similar characteristics.

Working in small groups, we touched, inspected, smelt and viewed juveniles and adult plant samples and worked as a team to correctly name them. It was like trying to work out a puzzle. Some species were more difficult to identify than others and at times it was quite tricky (and prickly!) but collaborating with others made this activity very enjoyable.

There are two more plant identification workshops coming up that are focusing on local weeds in Newstead and Chewton. See for the details.


Spring at Pilchers Bridge event – Sat 7 October 2017

Posted on 2 October, 2017 by Tanya Loos

The Axe Creek Landcare Group would like people to know of their upcoming event “Spring at Pilchers Bridge”, a jam-packed program of expert speakers on the flora, fauna and management of Box-Ironbark forests.  The program includes:

  • A bird identification walk around the Trust for Nature covenanted property, Led by  Salli Dearricott, followed by a quick pancake breakfast
  • A video on Indigenous Burning techniques presented by Trent Nelson, Parks Victoria and  Mick Bourke, DELWP
  • Orchids of the Box-Ironbark Forests by  Julie Radford-Whitfield, Amaryllis Environmental
  • Bushfire Preparedness by a representative from the CFA
  • Wildlife, Habitat, and Nestboxes by  Miles Geldard, Wildlife Nestboxes
  • Flowering patterns of local Eucalypts by Bob McDonald, apiarist.

They have also asked us to let you know the following:

  • Lunch can be purchased from the Eppalock Primary School Sausage Sizzle.
  • Bring your own binoculars, sturdy shoes, camera and water bottle
  • Free entry, pancake breakfast, tea coffee and sunscreen
  • All welcome but no dogs please

 Saturday  7 October.       
8am to 4pm  at 178 Huddle Creek Rd, Myrtle Creek  

Enquiries: Chris Kirwan phone 5439 6494

For a flier of the event, click here.