Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Connecting Country brochure reaches far afield

Posted on 5 December, 2019 by Ivan

We recently received an email from one of our valued members that gave us insight into the influence Connecting Country’s brochures can have on the broader community and even further afield. The email was from the lovely Kerrie Jennings, a long-time supporter and volunteer with Connecting Country. Kerry included some photographs of Japanese students reading our brochures and learning about the Central Victorian landscape and the biodiversity within. It is heartening to know where our educational materials can travel, and what impact it might have on future connections to our unique landscape.

Here is the message and photos from Kerrie:

‘Here is a couple of pics taken by the Loddon River at Baringhup of students visiting from Japan. They stayed with their host family in Castlemaine and traveled out to the farm and also our neighbors’ farms to see sheep, cattle and hay. This group visited the Baringhup Landcare picnic site by the river where we chatted about the restoration of the area over afternoon tea. The booklets in their hands are from Connecting Country and will be a great memory and indicator of local wildlife as well as our efforts to know and care for our part of the world.’

Cheers and many thanks

Kerrie’

If you have a relevant local story, interesting observation, great photograph or blog idea, please email us (ivan@connectingcountry.org.au) and we can create a blog to share with our community.

 

Dear deer, we are watching you

Posted on 27 November, 2019 by Ivan

Have you seen feral deer in your local area?

DeerScan is a new free community resource for Australian landholders, community groups and pest controllers. DeerScan can be used to map deer sightings, report problems or damage caused by deer, and document control actions. It can be used to inform your neighbours and local biosecurity authorities about current deer problems. You can use DeerScan to record new (and historical) observations of deer in your local area, as this will help to build a detailed picture of deer populations.

Deer facts:

  • Feral deer are becoming a major pest species.
  • There are six species across Australia (red, fallow, rusa, sambar, chital and hog).
  • Their numbers are increasing.
  • Local authorities need your help to map populations and report problems.
  • Everyone is encouraged to report all sightings into DeerScan.

DeerScan can be used to record information on:

  • Sightings and numbers – Where have deer been seen in your local area?
  • Damage – The damage or problems deer are causing.
  • Control activities – Locations where deer control has been implemented.

For further information have a look at the Deerscan website (click here) or download the FeralScan App on your smartphone. The process for recording deer sightings is outlined below.

Step 1 Register your details

Register your details in DeerScan or simply record information with a valid email address. You do not need to register but it will make it easier for you to view your own data, and enable the FeralScan team to keep you informed about how your data is helping to control feral deer in your local area.

Step 2 Map your observations

Record wherever you see deer, what species you have seen, what problems they have caused, and control activities such as ground shooting. To enter data, zoom to your current location and place a marker on the map, then insert the details of your observation in the form provided. Smart phone users can use the App to enter data while in the field.

Step 3 Submit your record

Submit your record and view the details in the All Sightings or My Data tabs. View other observations in your local area entered by other community members. You can also upload your photos to the Photo Gallery and they will display on the website.

 

 

Information you enter about feral deer and their impacts in your local area will help local biosecurity authorities to manage feral deer populations to reduce the damage they are causing. Feral deer are becoming a major pest throughout Australia so your input is important!

 

Sounds, celebrities and fine food – our 2019 AGM!

Posted on 21 November, 2019 by Ivan

On Saturday 16 November 2019, 75 people gathered at Campbells Creek Community Centre to enjoy an afternoon of formalities and hear an excellent presentation from local soundscape ecologist and environmental thinker, Andrew Skeoch. We celebrated the hard work and achievements of Connecting Country’s past decade with presentations from staff and our chairperson Brendan Sydes, as well as updating the audience on our current funding shortfall. We would like to warmly thank our presenters and all the committee members, staff and volunteers who assisted with the event, which was very well received based on feedback.

By far the biggest star of the show, was the amazing and intriguing presentation from celebrity scientist Andrew Skeoch (yes, he has given a TEDx talk! – click here). Andrew is one of our best-known nature sound recordists and works from a desire to address the fundamental question of our human relationship with the living biosphere. Andrew presented some interesting patterns in birdsong and provided the keen audience with some extraordinary spectrograms.

Image result for Spectrograms bird andrew skeoch"

Andrew presented what birdsong looks like in real-time stereo spectrograms (photo: Sarah Koschak)

 

Our AGM was short and sweet, and all of our committee members were re-elected for another year! The hard-working Connecting Country committee must be thanked for their considerable strategic and practical contributions to our organisation.

Elected members of Connecting Country’s 2019-20 committee of management are:

  • President:                   Brendan Sydes
  • Vice President:          Saide Gray
  • Treasurer:                   Max Kay
  • Secretary:                    Marie Jones
  • Ordinary member:    Karoline Klein
  • Ordinary member:    Malcolm Trainor
  • Ordinary member:    Christine Brooke
  • Ordinary member:    Deborah Wardle

 

AGM minutes will be circulated to members and available on request. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post with more details from Andrew’s talk. If you would like a copy of Connecting Country’s annual report for 2018-19 – click here.

Please enjoy this gallery of some of the smiling faces at our AGM. Special thanks to Johnny Baker for generously donating their delicious pastries, Vicki Edwards for the photos, and all the volunteers that generously helped with preparations, food and packup.

 

Cactus Warriors AGM and Plains-Wanderer talk: 24 November 2019

Posted on 20 November, 2019 by Ivan

Our partners, the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group, are holding their Annual General Meeting along with a talk on the critically endangered, fascinating Plains-Wanderer bird. Here are further details provided by the Cactus Warriors. 

The Cactus Warriors have, yet again, had a very rewarding year destroying many thousands of Wheel Cactus plants in our local environment and increasing awareness about this noxious weed in our community. The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group would like to thank the many landowners and volunteers for their dedicated work and wonderful results.

The Cactus Warriors are holding an end of year celebration to reward our ‘warriors’, including an exciting presentation and free lunch. The guest speaker, committee member Bec James, is a Natural Environment Program Officer with the Department Environment, Land, Water and planning, and Secretary of the Victorian Weed Society. And for something completely different, Bec will present about the project she’s currently working on to help save the critically endangered Plains-Wanderer bird in Northern Victoria.

We invite all past, present and future ‘cactus warriors’ to join us at 11:30 am on Sunday 24 November 2019 to hear our special guest speaker, followed by a delicious lunch. No RSVP is required. Please join us in the Band Room, Maldon Community Centre, 6 Francis St, Maldon VIC. We’ll have a very quick AGM at 11.00 am, before the presentation, which everyone is also welcome to attend.

For more information about Wheel Cactus, and how to control this invasive species, please watch the video below from the Cactus Warriors.

End-of-Year Celebration for all Cactus Warriors

 

Fruit Fly Workshops in November 2019

Posted on 19 November, 2019 by Jacqui

Graphic of fruit fly with Queensland fruit fly workshops text.

Learn about how you can fight fruit fly at a series of free workshops.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is working with Harcourt Valley Fruit Fly Action Group to raise awareness of Queensland Fruit Fly and steps to prevent an outbreak through a series of workshops for gardeners, backyard fruit and vegetable growers, schools, small scale farms and horticultural enterprises.

The sessions will be held in Maldon, Newstead and Castlemaine in late November 2019. Harcourt Valley Landcare Group will host a session in Harcourt in February 2020.

The workshops will cover fruit fly identification, traps, what to do if there is an outbreak, and more. Guest speakers will also share first-hand experience of the impact of fruit fly.

Session details

Newstead fruit fly workshop
When: 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm, Thursday 28 November 2019
Where: Newstead Community Centre, Lyons St, Newstead VIC

Maldon fruit fly workshop
When: 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm, Thursday 28 November 2019
Where: Maldon Community Centre, 6 Francis St, Maldon VIC

Castlemaine fruit fly workshop
When: 10.00 am to 12.00 noon, Friday 29 November 2019
Where: Town Hall, Lyttleton Street, Castlemaine VIC

For bookings contact: Lynne Meldrum at the Environmental Health team at l.meldrum@mountalexander.vic.gov.au or call (03) 5471 1866.

 

‘Hearing our place’ with Andrew Skeoch and AGM 2019 – BOOK NOW!

Posted on 13 November, 2019 by Ivan

Andrew Skeoch listening to nature (photo from Listening Earth website)

We would like to remind our valued Connecting Country members and the wider community to book now for our 2019 Annual General Meeting this weekend. Our very special guest, Andrew Skeoch, will speak about ‘Hearing our place’ in nature.

Frances Howe, Connecting Country Director, says ‘Andrew Skeoch is an educator, naturalist, environmental thinker and one of Australia’s best-known nature sound recordists. From his bush home near Newstead, he has journeyed over the last 25 years to remote locations in Asia, India, America, Europe, Africa and the Pacific in search of some of our planet’s most beautiful and fascinating sounds.

Combining this field experience with a deep curiosity, Andrew explores the crucial role of sound and communication in nature and evolution. He weaves the latest scientific understandings into a fascinating celebration of the natural soundscape around us.

His intriguing presentation will focus on our box ironbark birdsong and natural soundscapes, and will have you appreciating our local bushlands from an entirely fresh perspective.’

The AGM will include a brief presentation from staff and committee members about Connecting Country’s achievements over the last decade, to allow supporters old and new to hear what Connecting Country does and our plans for the coming year.

Crimson Spider Orchid (photo from Connecting Country archives)

This free event is at 4.00 – 6.00 pm on Saturday 16 November 2019 at Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC).

Afternoon tea will be provided from 3.30 pm.

Please RSVP online (click here) by 13 November 2019 for catering purposes. If you have any questions, please email asha@connectingcountry.org.au or call (03) 5472 1594.

Click here to download the flier.
Click here to download a committee nomination form.
Click here to download a membership application.

 

 Eltham Copper Butterfly events 2019

Posted on 28 October, 2019 by Frances

Confused about all the exciting things happening with Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) around Castlemaine at the moment?

We’re delighted that Castlemaine’s local populations of this threatened butterfly are getting the attention they deserve. Here is a summary of events prepared with help from local ecologist and ECB guru, Elaine Bayes of Rakali Ecological Consulting.

  • If you would like to help protect Eltham Copper Butterflies or would simply like a purpose while walking out in the bush, then come and join us in finding where ECB are so that they can be protected from threats.
  • If you are just curious and want to learn more about Eltham Copper Butterflies then come along to the Butterfly Celebration Day, ECB monitoring education session or Castlemaine Field Naturalist talk.
  • If you would like to become an Eltham Copper Butterfly Monitor and carry out searches either with our group or on your own, then join us on the ECB Monitor Training Events, so that you can learn how to contribute to conservation of the amazing Eltham Copper Butterfly.

2019 Eltham Copper Butterfly events around Castlemaine

Date Activity Further information
Friday 8 November 2019
7.30 – 9.00 pm
Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club talk on ECB with Elaine Bayes
Hear general information on ECB biology and monitoring
Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club
click here
Saturday 9 November 2019
1.30 – 4.00 pm
Field trip to Kalimina Park with Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club
See ECB habitat and learn method of ECB search
Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club
click here
Saturday 16 November 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – introduction
Receive training day on how to monitor ECB
Connecting Country
click here
Sunday 17 November 2019
1.00 – 3.00 pm
Butterfly Celebration Day at Castlemaine Botanical Gardens
Attend family event with art and music and ECB habitat tours
Castlemaine Landcare Group
click here
Sunday 1 December 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – practical
Carry out ECB searches as a group
Connecting Country
Bookings not required
For more information click here
Sunday 15 December 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – practical
Carry out ECB searches as a group
Connecting Country
Bookings not required
For more information click here
Saturday 28 December 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – practical
Carry out ECB searches as a group
Connecting Country
Bookings not required
For more information click here


Trained ECB Monitors
are also invited to join Karl Just and Elaine Bayes on their searches throughout November and December. The following dates are scheduled but may change depending on the weather – contact elaine@rakali.com.au if you would like to be kept updated:

  • Friday 15 November 2019
  • Friday 29 November 2019
  • Thursday 19 December 2019
  • Friday 20 December 2019
  • Friday 27 December 2019

This year’s events are supported by the Wettenhall Environment Trust and Mount Alexander Shire Council. 

 

Butterfly Celebration Day – 17 November 2019

Posted on 28 October, 2019 by Frances

Bring a picnic and help celebrate the special story of our local Eltham Copper Butterfly, and the Notoncus ants and Sweet Bursaria plants that make magic in our own backyards!

When: 1.00 – 3.00 pm on Sunday 17 November 2019
Where: Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, Downes Rd, Castlemaine VIC
Further information: click here

With funding support from Mount Alexander Shire Council, Castlemaine Landcare Group has sent choreographer Vanessa Case and musician Andy Rigby to work with local primary school students to tell this story in movement and music.

Butterfly Celebration Day will include a Welcome to Country and the Meeting Place, local musicians, community choirs and a preschool storytelling and craft workshop by Rose Demaria. Other local environmental groups will also be there. The community can go on a guided tour of the Butterflie’s habitat, which can be booked to avoid disapointment by clicking here

Connecting Country will be having a stall all day at the event, and will be giving away some Sweet Bursaria plants to early visitors. We will also have information on woodland birds, local plants and education events.

Image may contain: text

 

‘Hearing our place’ with Andrew Skeoch – Connecting Country AGM 2019

Posted on 17 October, 2019 by Asha

Andrew Skeoch listening to nature (photo from Listening Earth website)

All are warmly invited to the Connecting Country 2019 Annual General Meeting, where guest speaker Andrew Skeoch will speak about ‘Hearing our place’ in nature.

Frances Howe, Connecting Country Director, says ‘Andrew Skeoch is an educator, naturalist, environmental thinker and one of Australia’s best-known nature sound recordists. From his bush home near Newstead, he has journeyed over the last 25 years to remote locations in Asia, India, America, Europe, Africa and the Pacific in search of some of our planet’s most beautiful and fascinating sounds.

Combining this field experience with a deep curiosity, Andrew explores the crucial role of sound and communication in nature and evolution. He weaves the latest scientific understandings into a fascinating celebration of the natural soundscape around us.

His intriguing presentation will focus on our box ironbark birdsong and natural soundscapes, and will have you appreciating our local bushlands from an entirely fresh perspective.’

The AGM will include a brief presentation from staff and committee members about Connecting Country’s achievements over the last decade, to allow supporters old and new to hear what Connecting Country does and our plans for the coming year.

Crimson Spider Orchid (photo from Connecting Country archives)

This free event is at 4.00 – 6.00 pm on Saturday 16 November 2019 at Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC).

Afternoon tea will be provided from 3.30 pm.

Please RSVP online (click here) by 13 November 2019 for catering purposes. If you have any questions, please email asha@connectingcountry.org.au or call (03) 5472 1594.

  • Click here to download the flier including agenda.
  • Click here to download a committee nomination form.
  • Click here to download a membership application.

 

Become a butterfly monitor and help protect a threatened species – updated

Posted on 17 October, 2019 by Frances

Castlemaine’s Kalimna Park is home to the largest remaining population of the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly in the world. However, we don’t know how many butterflies there currently are, and its entirely possible that other, undiscovered populations exist around the Castlemaine area.

Local ecologists Elaine Bayes and Karl Just will be running four Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring sessions around Castlemaine VIC over November and December 2019, when the adult butterflies are out and about. The aim is to support interested community members to learn how to monitor with expert guidance, conduct more monitoring and (hopefully) discover new populations.

Eltham Copper Butterfly perched on flowering Sweet Bursaria (photo by Elaine Bayes)

This is a fantastic opportunity to get out in the bush, learn more about your local environment, and collect some really important data to help protect this beautiful threatened species. You might even discover a new population of this special butterfly!

Everyone is invited to get involved. Monitoring isn’t difficult but you will need:

  • A reasonable level of physical fitness, as monitoring involves walking off-track through the bush, often in warm weather.
  • A positive attitude and willingness to learn.
  • Ability to read maps, follow simple procedures and record sightings.
  • Please bring water, a hat and suitable clothing, and snacks to keep you going.


Monitoring dates and locations are:

  • 12-4 pm Saturday 16 November 2019. Location: Kalimna Park Rotunda, Kalimna Tourist Road, Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Sunday 1 December 2019. Location: Water tank on Hunter Track, top end of Hunter Street, Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Sunday 15 December 2019. Location: Parking spot just north of where golf course intersects with Kalimna Tourist Road, Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Saturday 28 December 2019. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine – click here for map.

You don’t need to attend all these events to become a monitor. Once you understand the monitoring method and feel confident you can identify an Eltham Copper Butterfly, you’re welcome to do your own monitoring and report sightings.

If you’d like to get involved in Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring, please just come along to a monitoring event, or for further information contact Ivan at Connecting Country (ivan@connectingcountry.org.au).

 

Our small endangered butterfly pulls a big crowd

Posted on 17 October, 2019 by Ivan

Our Eltham Copper Butterfly education event was a delightful success over the past weekend, with an enthusiastic crowd of 40 people attending to learn about this unique and threatened butterfly. The event was held at the Tea Room in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens (Castlemaine VIC) and included a guided walk with local experts Elaine Bayes and Karl Just, exploring the native woodlands north of the gardens. Karl and Elaine delivered an informative and engaging presentation on the fascinating biology of the Eltham Copper Butterfly and its symbiotic relationship with Notoncus ant species. It was warming to hear Elaine’s enthusiasm about the mating cycles of this butterfly and her excitement that more populations may exist around our region, and could be discovered during monitoring over the next few months.

The Eltham Copper Butterfly is a small and attractive butterfly with bright copper colouring on the tops of its wings visible during the summer flight season.

Some interesting butterfly facts:

  • This unusual species due has a close symbiotic association with a group of ants from the genus Notoncus and the shrub Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa).
  • Adult butterflies lay their eggs on the roots and stems of Sweet Bursaria. Once the eggs hatch, the ants guard the caterpillars (providing protection from predators), ushering the larvae to and from the ant nest at the base of the shrub, to feed on the Sweet Bursaria leaves at night.  In return the ants feed on the sugar secretions exuded from the body of the caterpillar.
  • The butterfly prefers open flight paths and receiving direct sunlight. It likes vegetation with an open middle and understorey.

Karl and Elaine will be conducting Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring sessions around Castlemaine over November and December 2019. We encourage interested people to come along, learn how to monitor and get involved with protecting this special butterfly.

If you’d like to get involved in monitoring please see our relevant blog post (click here) or contact Ivan at Connecting Country (ivan@connectingcountry.org.au)

Here are some photos from our recent event from Ivan Carter, and some lovely Eltham Copper Butterfly photos from Elaine Bayes:

 

Bird walk at Castlemaine Botanical Gardens – Sunday 20 October 2019

Posted on 9 October, 2019 by Ivan

BirdLife Castlemaine’s next monthly bird walk will be in the beautiful Castlemaine Botanical Gardens.

Local bird legend Tanya Loos will lead an afternoon walk for Bird Week, the same week as the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Bring your binoculars, and if you have a smartphone, come with your Aussie Backyard Bird Count App already downloaded and ready to go. Beginners and families welcome. We will do a count together to get you all set up for the Bird Count!

When: 3.00 pm on Sunday 20 October 2019

Where: Meet outside the Tea Room in Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, Downes Rd, Castlemaine VIC.

Bring: Water, snacks, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, long pants during snake season, and other weather-appropriate gear.

Walks will be cancelled if the temperature is forecast to be 35 degrees or more during the walk period, severe weather warnings are forecast, and/or if the day has been declared a Total Fire Ban.

Questions?: If you have questions about BirdLife Castlemaine’s walks program, you can email them at castlemaine@birdlife.org.au, or call Judy Hopley (0425 768 559) or Asha Bannon (0418 428 721).

Flame Robin enjoying some morning sun (Photo by Bonnie Humphreys)

 

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests PhotoShow – Now Open Togs Cafe

Posted on 26 September, 2019 by Ivan

One of Connecting Country’s closest collaborators, Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (FOBIF), has a photographic show that is now open at Togs Cafe in Lyttleton Street, Castlemaine, Victoria. It will run till 24 October 2019 and features a stunning array of local photographers. All photos are for sale with proceeds going to FOBIF.

Since 1999, the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests have been conducting art and photography exhibitions with this being their tenth exhibition since 2009. Six of these have been at Togs Cafe. They have all had the same purpose: to honor the native forests of the region, continuing the long tradition of artistic involvement with these forests. Photographers in this exhibition are all local residents, and talented ones at that.

Connecting Country would like to thank all the photographers who contributed photos to this project.

You can download a catalogue with a brief description of each photo here.

One of the photos from the show: Brown-headed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melithreptus) Photo: Patrick Kavanagh 2019

 

Cactus Warriors Wanted – Sunday 29 September 2019

Posted on 26 September, 2019 by Ivan

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) and Parks Victoria will hold their next community field day this Sunday to the west of the Maldon township, Victoria, Australia. This event is open to everyone in the community and is a great way to learn more about the threats posed by Wheel Cactus and do something about the spread across our region.

Come along, enjoy the fresh air, destroy some cactus and then join the community for a free cuppa and sausage sizzle.

Where: 200 Treloars Road, Tarrengower VIC (follow the signs along Watersons Road)

When: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm, Sunday 29th September 2019

Map of the catctus field day location, with the “x” marking the spot

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group Inc. (TCCG) consists of Landcare volunteers dedicated to the eradication of Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta). TCCG, in conjunction with Parks Victoria, holds friendly and informal Wheel Cactus Control community field days to inform and demonstrate control techniques, on the last Sunday of the month from May to October. These field days always end with a free BBQ lunch, cuppa and cake and the opportunity to chat, exchange ideas and make contacts.

It is a great opportunity to spend a rewarding morning outdoors, meeting neighbours and others who are concerned about preserving our unique environment. Everyone is welcome, no previous experience is required and all equipment is supplied. View the video to catch the ‘cactus warriors’ in action.

Cactus Warrior volunteers at work on a Community Field Day (photo by Lee Mead)

 

Meet Castlemaine’s endangered butterfly – Saturday 12 October 2019

Posted on 17 September, 2019 by Ivan

Did you know Central Victoria is home to the largest known population of the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly in the world?!

Enjoy these beautiful pictures of the Eltham Copper Butterfly taken by Elaine Bayes.

 

The rumours are true: North Harcourt & Sedgwick Landcare is back!

Posted on 12 September, 2019 by Asha

You may have heard the rumors. And yes, they are true! After a five year hiatus, North Harcourt & Sedgwick Landcare Group are planning on planting on, and they need YOU!

Anyone who is interested is welcome to come along to a casual meet up, where they will be throwing a BBQ, giving away some free plants, and showing off some nest boxes.

When: Sunday 22 September 2019 from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Where: 
Sedgwick Hall, corner Springs Rd and Sedgwick Rd, Sedgwick, VIC (scroll through photos below for a map)
RSVP: Appreciated via nhselandcare@gmail.com or their Facebook event – click here

To stay up-to-date, join their public Facebook group here: click here

 

Spring railway walk with Nuggetty Land Protection Group – 22 September 2019

Posted on 11 September, 2019 by Jess

Nuggetty Land Protection Group is planning a walk along the Nuggetty to Shelbourne Railway line. This was a branch line from Maldon through Nuggetty and Bradford and ends at the Shelbourne Station complex. The old railway line traverses farmland and Bradford Nature Conservation Reserve. The line was closed in 1960 after due to major fire damage. There will be a stop for lunch at the reserve to look at local birds, orchids and other flora. Binoculars, tea, coffee and water will be available.

Jacky Winter (photo by Kerrie Jennings)

Spring railway walk

When: Sunday 22 September 2019 from 9:30 am

Where: Park at Nuggetty Peace Monument, Nuggetty School Rd, Nuggetty VIC (turn right off Shelbourne Rd north of Maldon). A community bus will transport walkers to start of walk.

Bookings preferred: Jane Mitchell (0457 729 132) or Christine Fitzgerald (0419 347 408)

The walk is approximately 13 km. Bus will meet at intersections of roads if lift required and return you to your car or take you to next section of the walk. Please bring own lunch and water, and wear walking shoes, weather appropriate clothing and hats. The event will be cancelled if weather inclement. Please leave pets at home.

 

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests AGM – Monday 9 September 2019

Posted on 4 September, 2019 by Ivan

Jase Haysom, well-known local map maker, will speak at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (FOBIF).

FOBIF AGM
When: 7.30 pm on Monday 9 September 2019
Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Forest St, next to Victory Park, Castlemaine VIC  (access from IGA car park).

Information on how to nominate for the FOBIF Committee can be found here. All welcome and supper will be served.

Jase describes himself as ‘an incidental cartographer’:

I did not consciously decide that I would become a cartographer. It seems that, as a result of obliquely related actions, incremental step by incremental step I nudged myself in that direction. In the talk I’ll briefly look at how these incidental incremental steps occurred. I’ll then briefly discuss the mechanism I use to build a map and the limitations of the process.  If time permits the talk will finish with some personal observations.’

You can find out more about Jase’s map making including examples of maps at Cartography Community Mapping. He offers free mapping services to non-profit organisations such as Landcare groups. The maps have proved useful for resource management and as support material for reports, grant applications, transport and  training purposes.

Brush-tailed Phascogale (photo by Mike Grinter)

 

Landcare Week 2019 is next week!

Posted on 29 August, 2019 by Asha

Ready to get outside and enjoy the sunshine? Want to make a difference and help our local environment? CLICK HERE to see some of the Landcare events happening over the next month. Anyone is welcome to come along to these to give Landcare a try and ask questions.

Connecting Country and the Landcare Steering Group are also running four stalls for Landcare Week from 1 to 8 September 2019. We’ll be at Castlemaine Farmers Market, Castlemaine Maxi IGA, Wesley Hill Market and Maldon Market, so please come by for chat and pick up some free brochures!

 

Reminder: talk by renowned author Tim Low on Friday 6 September 2019

Posted on 29 August, 2019 by Ivan

Don’t miss out on a chance to spend the evening with a renowned author who wrote the first nature book ever to win the Australian Book Industry Awards prize for best General Non Fiction! Tim Low will talk in Newstead VIC on Friday 6 September 2019 at 7.30 pm.

Connecting Country and Newstead Landcare Group are delighted to host Tim, who will speak on his book ‘The New Nature’. Although controversial when first published in 2002, the book was recently updated and its themes are now more relevant than ever. Following Tim’s presentation there will be an opportunity for questions and answers, then a cuppa and cake.

Tim Low talk on ‘The New Nature’
When: 7.30 pm on Friday 6 September 2019
Where: Newstead Community Centre, Lyons St (Pyrenees Hwy) Newstead, VIC

All welcome. A gold coin donation will help us cover costs. Bookings not required. 

For our event flyer – click here

This event is supported by funding from North Central Catchment Management Authority and Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests.

Tim Low
Tim Low is a biologist and best-selling author of seven books about nature and conservation. ‘Where Song Began’ won several prizes, including the Australian Book Industry Award for best general non-fiction. It was praised in the New York Review of Books and recommended by Scientific American. ‘The New Nature’ was praised by Time magazine and listed by Who magazine as one of the books of the year. ‘Feral Future’ inspired the formation of a conservation group, the Invasive Species Council. Tim’s articles have appeared in Australian Geographic, The Weekend Australian Magazine, The Guardian and many other places. He works partly as an environmental consultant, and has a lizard named after him. He recently returned from a visit to Manchuria as a guest of the China Writer’s Association.

‘The New Nature’
The conservation movement talks about declining species, as it should, but this leaves many people unaware that some animals and plants are doing better today than ever before, because they have found ways to exploit us. Australia has winners as well as losers. Animals don’t have any concept of ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ so they don’t automatically recoil from cities and farms. Sometimes they can do better in cities than in forests – Australian cities and towns are gaining animals over time. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane now have peregrine falcons nesting on skyscrapers. Some urbanising species, notably corellas and flying foxes, are becoming sources of conflicts that need careful consideration. The notion of wilderness can get in the way of understanding all this because it implies that nature is authentic only when there is no human influence. But animals and plants have been benefiting from humans ever since Aboriginal people began burning the ‘wilderness’ to manage it.

You can read more about Tim Low and view his blog and website – click here