Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Restoring landscapes in a changing climate – 13 November 2021

Posted on 21 October, 2021 by Frances

How do we plan for restoring and revegetating our fragmented habitat, in a time of climate change? What are the latest projections for our climate over the coming decades and how does this affect revegetation projects? Connecting Country are hosting an online event exploring this topic, combined with our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 13 November 2021 at 2.00 pm. This year’s AGM theme is ‘Restoring landscapes in a changing climate’ and Connecting Country has secured two guest speakers who will explore climate change projections for our region and how revegetation projects might look in the future.

Guest speakers at the event will be Bonnie Humphreys (Connecting Country) and Geoff Caine (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning). Bonnie will update the audience about Connecting Country’s mission to create two climate future plots in our region, with support from the Ross Trust. Bonnie is Connecting Country’s Landscape Restoration Coordinator and coordinates on-ground actions and ecological surveys. Geoff will be speaking on the latest climate projections for our region and the implications for biodiversity and revegetation. Geoff is a Program Manager (Community and Partnerships) at DELWP, focusing on climate change, energy and sustainability.

Landcarers and landholders in the Mount Alexander region are increasingly concerned about the future viability of their revegetation work, given recent weather patterns and future climate predictions. Many have seen their revegetation plantings die in recent years due to heat and water stress, and some have even stopped planting.

Connecting Country seeks to help address this issue and has secured funding through the Ross Trust to establish two climate future plots of 500 plants right here in Mount Alexander region during 2021-23. This ‘Future-proof our forests’ project focuses on two important species from our local area: Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) and Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa).

You may have heard the terms ‘climate future plot‘, ‘climate-resilient landscapes‘ or ‘climate-ready revegetation‘, but what do they actually mean? In simple terms, they refer to the use of climate change modelling to plan for revegetation, by using suitable indigenous plants sourced from places with climates similar to that predicted at the revegetation site in decades to come (usually hotter and drier places). This is a new and emerging revegetation technique.

Bonnie Humphreys (Connecting Country) will talk about how climate future plots work and the challenges of pioneering our first local plots. ‘We are working to include a variety of plant provenances, grown from seed from areas that are hotter and drier, as well as areas that are cooler and wetter’. ‘Even though our climate is predicted to become hotter and drier, there may be other genetic information stored within a particular provenance, such as ability to survive an insect attack, or frost resilience, which plants from the hotter and drier area do not have,’ said Ms Humphreys.

The project has selected plant provenances based on Bureau of Meteorology’s climate predictions for our region. These are paired to these predictions with species distribution and the availability of seed for our chosen plants. Connecting Country hopes the climate future plots will create seed production areas and provide climate-adapted seed for use in future revegetation projects. They will also help to identify individuals and provenances most suited to survive in our changing climatic conditions.

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

Bookings are essential for this online event. To make a booking – click here

To find out more about the AGM 2021 (including AGM documents) – click here

If you have any questions, please email ivan@connectingcountry.org.au or call (03) 5472 1594.

Thank you to the Ross Trust for their invaluable support of our ‘Future-proof our forests’ project.

 

Announcing Connecting Country AGM – 13 November 2021

Posted on 14 October, 2021 by Frances

Connecting Country is delighted to announce our Annual General Meeting 2021 (AGM). While we’d really like to meet up in person, an online meeting allows for unpredictable COVID-19 restrictions and opens the event to a broader audience.

Please join us for this free online event on Saturday 13 November 2021 at 2.00 pm for brief AGM formalities and our special guest presenters. As usual it will be much more than an AGM!

Our theme is Restoring landscapes in a changing climate

Special presentations:

  • Future-proof our forests
    Bonnie Humphreys (Landscape Restoration Coordinator) and Ivan Carter (Engagement Coordinator)
    Join Bonnie and Ivan to learn about Connecting Country’s mission to create the first climate future plots in our region, with support from the Ross Trust.
  • Climate scenarios and planning considerations for central Victoria
    Geoff Caine  (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning)
    Hear Geoff speaking on the latest climate projections for our region and the implications for biodiversity and revegetation.


Everyone is welcome!
 Please register your attendance and we will send you the link prior to the meeting – click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AGM formalities

The following Connecting Country AGM documents are available for download:

Please note only current Connecting Country members can vote in the AGM. To become a member or renew your membership – click here

If you have any questions, please email info@connectingcountry.org.au

Thank you to the Ross Trust for their invaluable support of our ‘Future-proof our forests’ project.


 

The Great Southern Bioblitz: 22-25 October 2021

Posted on 19 August, 2021 by Ivan

For several years the iNaturalist citizen science platform has run the City Nature Challenge – a gentle competition between cities and regions around the world to see which location can collect and identify the most sightings of life-forms in their area over a week-long period each March.

In 2020 the Great Southern Bioblitz was born. This is a similar event to City Nature Challenge but held in October (southern hemisphere spring) when more plants are flowering, animals are more active and fungi are still plentiful. This year, the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club is hosting the Great Southern Bioblitz for our region of central Victoria, i.e., the Mount Alexander Shire and the eastern half of Hepburn Shire.

All are welcome and encouraged to contribute. You simply photograph as many plants and animals as you can within the region during the Bioblitz period, 22-25 October 2021, and load your sightings into iNaturalist via your phone or computer. Even if you are unable to record your own sightings you can still contribute by identifying the observations that others have uploaded.

Great Southern hemisphere bioblitz is a chance to engage with nature (photos: Euan Moore)

 

The Great Southern Bioblitz is not only fun, but an important way of recording the life-forms that are present in our area. Once you add a sighting to iNaturalist, others can help with or verify the identification. Data are then fed into repositories such as Atlas of Living Australia and state biodiversity databases such as Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.

To find out more:

  • Visit the Great Southern Bioblitz website – click here
  • Check out the 71 groups (10 in Victoria) taking part so far – click here

To download the iNaturalist app to your device or create an account on your computer – click here

The Great Southern Bioblitz is coming from 22-25 October 2021 (photo: Great Southern Bioblitz)

 

Training workshops

The Great Southern Bioblitz organising team has scheduled some training workshops to help people learn how to use iNaturalist and how to take part in the Bioblitz. This training will be useful beyond the Bioblitz as it will enable you to submit sightings from anywhere at any time.

Register for training at the following links:

  • A beginners guide for using iNaturalist
    Tuesday 17 August 2021 from 8:30 – 9:30 pm AEST
    To register – click here
  • Advanced tips for using iNaturalist
    Tuesday 7 September 2021 from 8:30 – 9:30 pm AEST
    To register – click here
  • A beginners guide for using iNaturalist
    Tuesday 28 September 2021 from 8:30 – 9:30 pm AEST
    To register – click here

 

A big thank you Euan Moore from the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club for the text and photographs for this article. To learn more about Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club – click here

 

Platypus mysteries to be revealed – Baringhup Landcare Group

Posted on 15 July, 2021 by Asha

See below information about Baringhup Landcare Group’s exciting upcoming event with the Australian Platypus Conservancy:

The platypus is one of the world’s most amazing animals.  This furry, warm-blooded mammal lays soft-shelled eggs like a lizard, uses its bill to navigate underwater, and sorts out arguments with the help of venomous spurs.  The platypus is also among the most popular of Australia’s animal icons – a great flagship species for freshwater conservation.  But what about the platypus’s own environmental needs?  How is the species faring in the wild?  And what needs to be done to ensure that populations survive in our local rivers and creeks?

Baringhup Landcare Group has arranged for Geoff Williams from the Australian Platypus Conservancy to share his knowledge of this amazing monotreme on Tuesday 3 August 2021 at Baringhup Community Hall starting at 7.00pm.  Visitors are welcome. Bookings essential (see below).

Geoff will highlight the features that make the platypus so special, explain its conservation needs and how to go about helping these animals. He’ll then give some hints on how to spot platypus in the wild and outline the possibilities of becoming involved in ‘citizen science’ programs to monitor local populations.

Geoff Williams has been studying platypus since 1994 when he helped found the Australian Platypus Conservancy, an organisation dedicated to researching platypus conservation needs.  Prior to his work with the APC, Geoff was Director of Healesville Sanctuary for five years from 1988 to 1993 and, before moving to Victoria, was Assistant Director of Sydney’s Taronga Zoo from 1985 to 1988. Geoff has presented numerous public talks on platypus at venues throughout Australia, including various universities, the National Museum in Canberra and the Melbourne Museum (on behalf of Australian Geographic).

Please note: To help manage COVID restrictions please booking via www.trybooking.com/BSPNW or contact Di Berry using the details below. COVID limits and regulations will apply. Bookings essential.

For further information, please contact:

Baringhup Landcare:

Diane Berry (Sec) 0403 020 663

Email: dianejberry@hotmail.com

Australian Platypus Conservancy:

Geoff Williams 03 5416 1478/0419 595939

Email: platypus.apc@westnet.com.au

 

Wheel Cactus community field day – Sunday 27 June 2021

Posted on 23 June, 2021 by Ivan

Old and new volunteers alike are invited to Tarrangower Cactus Control Group’s next Community Field Day on Sunday 27 June 2021. 

Read on for more details from the Cactus Warriors.

The morning’s activities begin at 10:30 am and end with a delicious BBQ lunch and friendly chat around 12:30 pm. We supply all the necessary equipment, so please come and join us for a rewarding morning in the outdoors. Just make sure you wear sturdy boots and long pants and sleeves for protection.

The location for this field day is at the eastern end of Bells Lane, Eastville VIC. To get there, head north out of Maldon along Bridgewater Rd. for 9 km, then turn right into Murphys Rd. Drive another 3 km and turn right into Bells Lane, and you’ll find us another 1.5 km along, on the side of the road in Bells Lane. The route will be well marked with our ‘cactus’ boards.

These events are COVID restriction-compliant and family-friendly, but children must be accompanied by a parent at all times. If you have any queries or want to see a map for directions, please go to our website www.cactuswarriors.org  

Location: Bells Lane, Eastville VIC
15 km from Maldon via Bridgewater and Murphys Roads
Date: Sunday 27 June 2021
Time: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

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 below to catch the ‘cactus warriors’ in action.

 

How to identify and record deer sightings – Friday 25 June 2021 online

Posted on 23 June, 2021 by Frances

There is no doubt that feral deer have increased their distribution and impacts in central Victoria over the past decade. We have seen a sharp increase in sightings from our community and have had many conversations about their detrimental impacts on our native forests and woodlands.

Deer facts:

  • Feral deer are becoming a major pest species in Victoria.
  • 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.
  • For more information on the potential distributions of the six feral deer species – click here

We recently received the following message from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP) regarding a training session on Friday 25 June 2021 from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. Online.

Please read on for information about how to join DELWP’s online event.

Feral deer in the dry woodlands of Victoria (photo by ABC Victoria)

 

How to identify and record deer sightings: DEWLP

Dr Chris Davies from the Australian Deer Association will present the training.

Topics covered will include deer species, habitat preferences, behaviour and sign.

Chris will also cover the use of the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas Go data collection tool.

For those who aren’t able to participate due to the short notice of next Friday’s event, or others that may want to undertake the training through your networks we will schedule further training with more notification time.

________________________________________________________________________________

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+61 3 7019 2540,,322444677#   Australia, Melbourne

1800 571 208,,322444677#   Australia (Toll-free)

Phone Conference ID: 322 444 677#

 

Mount Alexander FOBIF long walk: 20 June 2021

Posted on 2 June, 2021 by Ivan

Our friends and partners at Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) have planned a 12 km walk across the iconic Mount Alexander in central Victoria on Sunday 20 June 2021, subject to relevant COVID-19 restrictions at that time. It will be a stunning walk through a variety of landscapes. FOBIF’s walks have a reputation for providing interesting insights into our local natural environment and biodiversity hotspots, led by local experts and passionate volunteers.

Mount Alexander, known as Lanjanuc to the Jaara Jaara people, has plenty of interesting geology and vegetation across the mountain.

Here are more details from FOBIF.

Mount Alexander long walk: 20 June 2021

This FOBIF walk will be just under 12 km which doesn’t sound very long but the majority is off-track negotiating rocks and other obstacles so is fairly slow going. In addition there is a sustained climb up past Black Wallaby Rocks and a short but steep descent from Langs Lookout, both of which require reasonable balance and fitness.

Walking at a moderate pace and including refreshment breaks we can expect to be out for between 5-6 hours allowing for time to enjoy the experience.

For our Bendigo neighbours we will start from the well known carpark on Harcourt-Sutton Grange Road by the water channel, aiming to arrive there about 9.50 am.

To do this we will need to leave Templeton Street, Castlemaine VIC at 9.30 sharp.

To whet the appetite pictures of two of the features, namely the large red gum and Black Wallaby Rocks are included.

For any queries contact Jeremy on 0409 933 046.

To visit FOBIF’s website – click here

 

 

Healthy dams event 2021 – last chance to book!

Posted on 25 May, 2021 by Ivan

We have just SIX tickets remaining for our Healthy Dams event on 5 June 2021, which is part of our Healthy Landscape project. Book now to avoid disappointment for what will surely be a great education event.

‘Healthy dams’ will be hosted by Connecting Country and local ecologist, Karl Just, who has a natural wonder and fascination with aquatic plants and animals, and their importance to farming and biodiversity. We have planned this in-person event at a stunning private property in Taradale VIC, which fronts the Coliban River and has several farm dams.

This event is part of our ‘Healthy Landscapes’ project, funded through the Australian Government’s Smart Farms program.

The workshop will cover:

  • How to improve the health of dams and ponds.
  • Suitable plants for waterways and revegetation of aquatic areas.
  • Frogs, wildlife and improving water quality.
  • Options for stock management and nutrient management.

We will have the opportunity to tour two dams on the property and the Coliban River at the farm in Taradale.

Dams and ponds provide vital farm infrastructure, as well as habitat for many invertebrates, amphibians and birds, and sometimes even mammals. The workshop will explore how to create and maintain healthy waterways for the benefit of people, farm productivity and the natural environment.

The event will be on Saturday 5 June 2021 from 1.00 to 2.30 pm in Taradale, VIC. It’s sure to be popular and tickets are limited. To book please – click here 

Healthy farm dams can boost farm productivity while supporting native wildlife and providing clean water (photo by Australian National University)

 

Catering for this event is BYO. Please come equipped for potential weather extremes, wear sturdy shoes and bring adequate water and nourishment.

Our Healthy Landscapes project is about helping our local farmers and other landholders to manage their land sustainably for the benefit of wildlife, themselves and the broader landscape. We are also developing a Healthy Landscapes guide book, especially targeted to the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria. This event is part of a series of educational workshops for landholders on sustainable land management.

Our special presenter – Karl Just

Karl is an established ecological consultant and researcher based here in Castlemaine VIC. He has dedicated his time to providing environmental management plans for parks and reserves, conducting flora and fauna surveys and educating the community on improving our natural environment. He has a particular interest in the beautiful and threatened species, the Eltham Copper Butterfly, as well as searching for other endangered species in our region. Karl has a focus on wetlands and waterway surveys, as well as management planning.

 

 

Community Cactus Warriors field day – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Posted on 25 May, 2021 by Ivan

Our friends and partners at the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group Inc. (TCCG) are having a Community Cactus Field Day on Sunday 30 May 2021, at the eastern end of Bells Lane, Eastville (north-west of Maldon, VIC). The morning’s activities begin at 10.30 am and end with a delicious BBQ lunch and friendly chat around 12:30 pm. TCCG supply all the necessary equipment, so please come and join them for a rewarding morning in the outdoors.

Tarrangower Cactus Control Group 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.

To catch the ‘cactus warriors’ in action on video – click here.

Please find read on for more details from TCCG regarding the field day.

Cactus warrior volunteers at work on a community field day (photo by Lee Mead)

 

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group sincerely thank all the volunteers who have helped control local Wheel Cactus infestations. Many community members have contributed to maintaining our ‘war on Wheel Cactus’ over the past years.

Volunteers have helped clear Maldon Historic Reserve of major infestations, helping to preserve our native plants and animals and restore our stunning park. Many local property owners have been assisted over the years by the cactus warriors giving valuable assistance and advice. There’s also been many devoted and passionate volunteers who have served on our committee, bringing an amazing range of skills and talent – thanks to all of you.

Old and new volunteers are all invited to our next Community Field Day on Sunday 30 May 2021. The morning’s activities begin at 10:30 am and end with a delicious BBQ lunch and friendly chat around 12:30 pm. We supply all the necessary equipment, so please come and join us for a rewarding morning in the outdoors.

The location for this field day is at the eastern end of Bells Lane, Eastville VIC. To get there, head north out of Maldon along Bridgewater Rd for 9 km, then turn right into Murphys Rd. Drive another 3 km and turn right into Bells Lane, and you’ll find us another 1.5 km along, on the side of the road in Bells Lane. The route will be well marked with our ‘cactus’ boards.

These events are Covid-safe and family friendly, but children must be accompanied by a parent at all times. If you have any queries or want to see a map for directions, please go to our website at www.cactuswarriors.org

Tarrangower Cactus Control Group Inc

 

Dja Dja Wurrung cultural tour – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Posted on 25 May, 2021 by Ivan

We often receive queries from our community regarding how to learn about and connect with Dja Dja Wurrung culture, their significant and sacred places, and connection to Country.

Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation are coordinating a Dja Dja Wurrung cultural tour, providing an excellent opportunity for community members to learn more about our local Indigenous history, and see evidence of aboriginal occupation and connection to the Mount Alexander (Leanganook) region in central Victoria. The lucky attendees will visit some significant sites and hear from Uncle Rick Nelson, Dja Dja Wurrung Elder and Traditional Owner for the Castlemaine region. Catering will be provided Aboriginal caterers, Murnong Mummas.

Please read on for further information from Nalderun, including the event flyer and details on how to book.

 

Dja Dja Wurrung Cultural Tour

Are you interested in learning more about your local community’s Indigenous history?

Local Traditional Owner and Dja Dja Wurrung Elder, Uncle Rick Nelson will take you on a unique tour of his favourite places

Friday 28 May 2021, 9.30-1.30 pm

• See evidence of Aboriginal occupation in the region
• View traditional artifacts from both public and private collections
• Visit culturally important sites in the region
• Learn about the seasons in this area and Indigenous worldviews
• Morning campfire tea en route, with Wattle seed and Lemon Myrtle biscuits
• Tour ends with special indigenous finger foods presented by well known Aboriginal caterers Murnong Mummas

Tour Guide Uncle Rick Nelson Dja Dja Wurrung Elder and Traditional Owner for the Castlemaine region
Assisted by Kath Coff Nalderun’s CEO and PHD candidate in Indigenous pedagogies
Accompanied by members of Nalderun’s Youth Mentor Team

NUMBERS ARE STRICTLY LIMITED – SO PLEASE BOOK EARLY

Bookings at the Market Building or https://www.bendigoregion.com.au/visit-castlemaine-maldon/things-to-do-tickets

Please note you do have to select the correct tour date at the top of the page to be able to book.
$180 full /150 concession

Departure from Djaara Park / Victory Park (Mostyn St, Castlemaine VIC) near the picnic area and BBQ 9.15 for 9.30 am. Transport will be in a comfortable mini-bus. Please note tour will go ahead rain or shine!

Nalderun has curated a series of films for Reconciliation Week, screening at the Theatre Royal starting 29 May 2021. There is also an important exhibition for Reconciliation Week at the Market Building.

Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation (NEAC)

 

Healthy healthy dams event – Book Now – 5 June 2021

Posted on 13 May, 2021 by Ivan

Connecting Country is delighted to announce our third event for our Healthy Landscape project is now open for booking, with spaces limited to 25 people. ‘Healthy dams‘ will be hosted by local ecologist, Karl Just, who has a natural wonder and fascination with aquatic plants and animals, and their importance to farming and biodiversity. The event will be held in-person at a stunning private property in Taradale VIC, which fronts the Coliban River and has several farm dams.

This event is part of our ‘Healthy Landscapes’ project, funded through the Australian Government’s Smart Farms program.

The workshop will cover:

  • How to improve the health of dams and ponds.
  • Suitable plants for waterways and revegetation of aquatic areas.
  • Frogs, wildlife and improving water quality.
  • Options for stock management and nutrient management.

We will have the opportunity to tour two dams on the property and the Coliban River at the farm in Taradale.

Dams and ponds provide vital farm infrastructure, as well as habitat for many invertebrates, amphibians and birds, and sometimes even mammals. The workshop will explore how to create and maintain healthy waterways for the benefit of people, farm productivity and the natural environment.

The event will be on Saturday 5 June 2021 from 1.00 to 2.30 pm in Taradale, VIC. It’s sure to be popular and tickets are limited. To book please – click here 

Farm dams can be productive and also support native animals and clean water. Photo: Australian National University (ANU)

 

Catering for this event is BYO. Please come equipped for potential weather extremes, wear sturdy shoes and bring adequate water and nourishment.

Our Healthy Landscapes project is about helping our local farmers and other landholders to manage their land sustainably for the benefit of wildlife, themselves and the broader landscape. We are also developing a Healthy Landscapes guide book, especially targeted to the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria. This event is part of a series of educational workshops for landholders on sustainable land management.

Our special presenter – Karl Just

Karl is an established ecological consultant and researcher based here in Castlemaine VIC. He has dedicated his time to providing environmental management plans for parks and reserves, conducting flora and fauna surveys and educating the community on improving our natural environment. He has a particular interest in the beautiful and threatened species, the Eltham Copper Butterfly, as well as searching for other endangered species in our region. Karl has a focus on wetlands and waterway surveys, as well as management planning.

 

 

Walking Together – Balak Kalik Manya – May 2021 update

Posted on 12 May, 2021 by Ivan

We received an exciting update from Harley Douglas, project manager at Djandak, regarding their Walking Together – Balak Kalik Manya Project. This is a four-year project committed to writing site-specific management plans for two sites within Dja Dja Wurrung Country: Kalimna Park in Castlemaine and Wildflower Drive in Bendigo VIC. Both sites were selected because of their proximity to growing townships and the increasing pressures of urbanisation slowly encroaching closer and closer to these park boundaries.

After a lot of stakeholder engagement, the draft management plans are now ready for community review and Djandak are seeking feedback. Please read on for details from Harley.

Dam and riparian vegetation at Wildflower Drive (photo by Djandak)

 

Walking Together- Balak Kalik Manya – Newsletter Update

The Walking Together- Balak Kalik Manya Project is a four-year project committed to writing site-specific management plans for two sites within Dja Dja Wurrung Country; Kalimna Park in Castlemaine and Wildflower Drive in Bendigo. Both sites were selected due to their proximity to growing townships and the increasing pressures of urbanisation encroaching both park boundaries. The project is exploring how we can increase community connection with nature, how to improve visitation rates and encourage appropriate use of these sites, all while maintaining and improving biodiversity. The project will promote Djaara employment and assist in Djaara reconnecting with traditional practices of land management. For more information on the project please see this short video.

Since workshopping our management plans with Djaara members, community members, and government stakeholders, our respective management plans for Kalimna Park and Wildflower Drive have now reached a draft phase and are ready for review and comments by impassioned stakeholders. Djandak are seeking your feedback as a user of either park who can provide valued subjective knowledge that we might not have considered within our current draft plans.

The draft management plans will be housed on Djandak’s webpage for a few weeks before taking both plans offline to revise and incorporate the relevant comments and suggestions. Djandak will then finalise the management plans, including design elements, and place back on our website for people to view permanently.

Here is the link to our webpage and the Walking Together- Balak Kalik Manya section- http://djandak.com.au/projects/walking-together-balak-kalik-manya

Djandak are aware of the many user groups and community that frequent our parks and the different values that each of us have do not always align perfectly. For this reason, Djandak asks that all comments are constructive in their manner and appropriately worded. Any comments that are perceived as derogatory or unconstructive will not be considered for the final management plan.

All comments can be provided either by downloading and commenting directly into the document (using the comment function in Adobe) and sending back through to myself, or provide comments in an email to me with relevant sections clearly labelled (e.g. ‘Value 7- I think that…’, or ‘Strategy 29- …’).

Please feel free to redistribute the link to Djandak’s webpage and our management plans amongst other interested Djaara and community members, the more people we have commenting on our plan the more representative the plan will be of what the community and Djaara aspire our parks to look and feel.

Thank you,

Harley Douglas
DDW Member
Project Manager- Dja Dja Wurrung Enterprises Trading as Djandak
P: 5444 2888
E: harley.douglas@djadjawurrung.com.au

 

 

 

Last chance! ‘Camp Out Collage’ contributions due 18 April 2021

Posted on 14 April, 2021 by Asha

Don’t forget to visit our special web pages if you’d like to join us for this year’s virtual ‘Camp Out on the Mount 2021’! Joining in is easy and fun. To get started – click here!

We are hoping for lots of contributions so we can create a ‘Camp Out Collage’ of photos, stories, and pledges. For every contribution you make to the collage, you will be entered into a draw to win some great prizes, including nest boxes, plants, books, and more.

Prizes!

  • Nest box installed by Wildlife Nestboxes .
  • Book bundle on native plants of the Mount Alexander Region from Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests featuring Mosses, Eucalypts, Acacias, and Native Peas.
  • Local produce hamper.
  • Small selection of indigenous tubestock to plant (acacias and sheoaks).
  • Brochure bundle from Connecting Country featuring Woodland birds of Central Victoria, Indigenous plants of Castlemaine and surrounds, and Reptiles and Frogs of the Mount Alexander Region.

Entries are due by 18 April 2021.

Thanks to Theo Mellick-Cooper and Liz Martin for sending in these stunning contributions!

Camping Out photo by Theo Mellick-Cooper

Loving Leanganook photo collage by Liz Martin

 

Caring for old trees on 24 April 2021 – book now!

Posted on 8 April, 2021 by Ivan

Connecting Country is excited to announce that tickets are now available for the second event of our 2021 autumn workshop series. ‘Caring for old trees‘ will be hosted by two local leading naturalists, Jarrod Coote and Tanya Loos, who coincidentally both previously worked with Connecting Country. The event will be held in-person at the stunning Hillside Acres farm, in North Harcourt, Victoria.

This event is part of our ‘Healthy Landscapes’ project, funded through the Australian Government’s Smart Farms program.

The workshop will cover:

  • How to look after older trees in the landscape.
  • Why they are important to farming and biodiversity.
  • Methods of protection and providing succession.

We will also have the opportunity to tour of some beautiful large old trees at Hillside Acres. Old trees provide vital farm infrastructure, as well as habitat for many birds, arboreal mammals, microbats, and insects. The workshop will explore how to ensure that old trees remain part of our local landscape, and how to ensure the next generation of old trees.

The event will be on Saturday 24 April 2021 from 10 am to 12 noon in North Harcourt, VIC. It’s sure to be popular and tickets are limited. To book please – click here 

Due to COVID-19 limitations, catering for this event is BYO. Please come equipped for potential weather extremes, wear sturdy shoes and bring adequate water and nourishment.

Our Healthy Landscapes project is about helping our local farmers and other landholders to manage their land sustainably for the benefit of wildlife, themselves and the broader landscape. We are also developing a Healthy Landscapes guide book, especially targeted to the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria. This event is part of a series of educational workshops for landholders on sustainable land management.

Our special presenters

Jarrod Coote

Jarrod is an environmental educator and practical ecologist. He runs Hillside Acres farm and has developed a sound knowledge of flora and fauna identification, ecology and habitat requirements. He has taught at education institutions and is a former Connecting Country employee. Jarrod has a passion for sustainable farming and land management, as well as birds and indigenous flora species.

Tanya Loos

Tanya is a superstar of many aspects of ecology and is best known for her ability to explain the intricacies and beauties of the natural world to the community. Tanya has previously worked with Connecting Country and Birdlife Australia, and is an expert in birds, mammals and community engagement. Her experience includes ecological consulting, project planning, client liaison and delivering training. She is also an author, blogger, and well-known advocate for environmental stewardship and sustainable land management.

 

Launched! Camp Out on the Mount 2021 web pages

Posted on 31 March, 2021 by Asha

It’s almost time! The virtual ‘Camp Out on the Mount’ officially kicks off this Saturday 3 April 2021, and the brand new Camp Out web pages are ready to explore right now! To have a look – click here

This year, to reduce the risk of having to cancel or reschedule, we have decided to jump the gun, get creative and plan for a virtual ‘Camp Out on the Mount’ 2021.

When: 3 – 18 April 2021
Where: 
Online at www.connectingcountry.org.au/landcare/camp-out-on-the-mount-2021/
How to join in: 
Explore the ‘Camp Out on the Mount 2021’ web pages and send in contributions to the ‘Camp Out Collage’ of photos, stories, and pledges
Questions:
Email asha@connectingcountry.org.au

Camp Out Collage

We aim to capture the ‘Camp Out on the Mount’ spirit by encouraging everyone to engage with our special ‘Camp Out 2021’ web pages, and inviting you to contribute to our ‘Camp Out Collage’.

Each page focuses on one of the elements that make the Camp Out special:

  • Camping out (of course!).
  • Caring for the land.
  • Loving Leanganook.
  • Connecting with Indigenous culture.

Join in and enter the draw

For each contribution you make to the ‘Camp Out Collage’ you will be entered into the draw to win a prize. Please note that you are only eligible to win the prizes if you live in Australia, and some of the prizes (such as the nest box and plants) will only be available for properties in the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria.

You may send in a maximum of four entries (i.e., one entry for each element). The four elements are: ‘Loving Leanganook’, ‘Connecting with Indigenous culture’, ‘Caring for the land’, and ‘Camping out’.

To learn more and to send in a contribution to the collage – click here

Send your completed form(s) to asha@connectingcountry.org.au by midnight on Sunday 18 April 2021. Your entries will be added to a collage of photos, stories, and pledges, which will be shared on our website in the coming months. You will also be automatically entered into the draw to win a prize (if you wish to opt out of the prize draw, please note this in your email).

Prizes!

  • Nest box installed by Wildlife Nestboxes.
  • Book bundle on native plants of the Mount Alexander Region from Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests featuring Mosses, Eucalypts, Acacias, and Native Peas.
  • Local produce hamper.
  • Small selection of indigenous tubestock to plant (acacias and sheoaks).
  • Brochure bundle from Connecting Country featuring ‘Woodland birds of Central Victoria’, ‘Indigenous plants of Castlemaine and surrounds’, and ‘Reptiles and Frogs of the Mount Alexander Region’.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate, so please share with your friends and start exploring!

This event was made possible by the Victorian Landcare Facilitator Program, funded by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning.

 

Rabbit Round-up Field Day 2021

Posted on 31 March, 2021 by Asha

Blampied–Kooroocheang/Rocky Lead Landcare Group, with support from Hepburn Shire Council and the Victorian Rabbit Action Network, invite you to a ‘Rabbit Round-up – Field Day 2021’.

A rabbit control workshop to demonstrate on-site, best practice approaches for farms, lifestyle and conservation properties.

The all-weather venue has a diverse range of rabbit issues, ideal for discussing strategy and demonstrating control techniques. Morning tea provided.

Newer and experienced land-managers welcome!

Date:  Saturday 10 April 2021
Time:  10 am – 12 noon
Location:  Camp Castle Hill, 3530 Midland Highway, Blampied VIC
Booking:  Places are limited, please register at https://www.trybooking.com/BPUQK or contact Brian Bainbridge (phone 0437 048 648 or email bbainbridge@hepburn.vic.gov.au)

To download the event flier – click here

 

Landcare Link-up – February 2021

Posted on 17 March, 2021 by Asha

Thank you to the enthusiastic cohort of Landcare and Friends group representatives from the Mount Alexander region, and other stakeholders, who braved the cold at our February 2021 Landcare Link-up.

The evening started with small, socially-distanced discussion groups where Landcarers talked about issues that are important to individual groups, our broader community, and the land we all share.

Discussion topics included:

  • Climate change impacts.
  • Biodiversity monitoring.
  • Weed and pest animal management.
  • Waterways.
  • Landcare promotion.
  • Group successes and challenges.


The second feature of the Link-up was viewing a series of nine COVID-safe video updates prepared by local groups in lieu of in-person presentations about their work. The videos are all unique and exceptional in true Landcare style, and well worth a watch.
They provide a valuable ongoing resource for all of us to keep sharing inspirational Landcare stories.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our series of blog posts presenting the videos. To visit our web page where you can view all the Landcare video updates at your leisure (and share with your friends!) – click here

 

 

Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club AGM plus excursion – 12 & 13 March 2021

Posted on 10 March, 2021 by Asha

As a monthly tradition, Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club hold a meeting with a guest speaker on the second Friday of the month, followed by a group excursion or field trip the following day.

Castlemaine Field Nats provided the following details about thier March 2021 excursion. For more information visit their website – click here

Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club
2021 Annual General Meeting and Guest Speaker

Our meeting on Friday 12 March 2021, 7.30 pm will again be online using Zoom (if you wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au).

Following our AGM, the guest speaker will be Reiner Richter, one of the most prolific contributors to citizen science databases in Australia with many specialties including dragonflies and orchids. Reiner will tell us about the recent field guide he has produced together with Ian Endersby: ‘Dragonflies and Damselflies of Victoria and Tasmania‘.  Reiner will explain what lead him to produce the book and the work required to get better photos of many of the species. He will also discuss the photo processing that was required in order to show the required detail for the publication.

Our guest speaker will follow the usual ‘observations’ session when members can share recent interesting sightings with an option to show a photo or two. If you have photos to be shown please email JPEG file(s) to Euan Moore at calamanthus5@bigpond.com by noon on the day of the meeting.

Excursion

Our February excursion to Tullaroop Reservoir had to be postponed due to the sudden COVID lockdown, so we will try again on Saturday 13 March 2021. Meet at the car park opposite the Castle Motel, Duke Street (Castlemaine VIC) at 1.30 pm sharp or at the Tullaroop Reservoir picnic ground at the dam wall at 2:00 pm.

Watch out for raptors as you drive across the Moolort Plains to the reservoir!

After gathering at the picnic ground, we will take a short drive to where we will park and then walk along the shore of the lake and in nearby bushland. Afterwards we will drive back to the picnic ground for afternoon tea. There is a toilet block at the picnic ground.

Bring binoculars, sunhat, block-out, hand sanitiser, water and snacks and wear stout walking shoes.

Please comply with current Government COVID-safe requirements.

The Field Trip will be cancelled in extreme weather conditions.

There are NO excursions on total fire ban days.

Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club

 

Camp Out on the Mount 2021 – we’re going virtual!

Posted on 10 March, 2021 by Asha

This year, to reduce the risk of having to cancel or reschedule, we have decided to jump the gun, get creative and plan for a virtual ‘Camp Out on the Mount’. No, this doesn’t mean toasting marshmallows by the light of your computer screen. We are encouraging everyone to plan their own camping trip in whatever way is possible for you, and to join in online by contributing to our ‘Camp Out Collage’ (details to come).

When: 3 – 18 April 2021
Where:
Online at www.connectingcountry.org.au/landcare/camp-out-on-the-mount-2021/
How to join in:
Sign up to our blog for updates, or check the webpage during the dates above
Questions:
email asha@connectingcountry.org.au

We hope to capture the ‘Camp Out on the Mount’ spirit by encouraging everyone to engage with our special ‘Camp Out 2021’ web pages, and inviting you to contribute to our ‘Camp Out Collage’ of photos, stories and pledges. These will focus on some of the elements that make the Camp Out special:

  • Camping out (of course!)
  • Caring for the land
  • Loving Leanganook
  • Connecting with Indigenous culture

More details about how to participate will be shared on our blog in the coming weeks. To subscribe to our weekly e-news so you don’t miss any updates – click here

Camp Out on the Mount 2019 (photo by Leonie van Eyk)

 

Healthy dams for habitat 2021 – more tickets now available

Posted on 4 March, 2021 by Ivan

Sold out in a week! We did not expect the 100 tickets for our ‘Healthy dams for habitat’ event to book out so quickly, but they did. So we have upgraded our Zoom account and now have another few hundred tickets available.

To book – click here

Healthy dams for habitat‘ is hosted by local leading naturalist and wetland expert, Damien Cook. The free online event will feature a presentation by Damien on how to create and improve dams to supply clean water and habitat for a variety of native plants and animals. The event is part of our ‘Healthy Landscapes’ project, funded through the Australian Government’s Smart Farms program.

The event will aim to help our local farmers and other landholders to manage their land sustainably for the benefit of wildlife, primary production and the broader landscape. We will also develop a Healthy Landscapes guide book, especially targeted to the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria, and deliver two further educational workshops for landholders on sustainable land management.

The online event will be held on Thursday 18 March 2021 from 7-8 pm. It’s sure to be popular and tickets are limited. To book – click here 

Damien Cook

Damien has been a keen naturalist for 30 years and has developed a sound knowledge of flora and fauna identification, ecology and habitat requirements. He is a recognised expert in wetland, riparian and terrestrial ecology, particularly in the factors affecting the establishment and management of aquatic and wetland plants, and also the revegetation of terrestrial ecosystems. Damien is also Co-director of Rakali Ecological Consulting, a company based in central Victoria that specialise in ecological assessment (flora and fauna), mapping and land management planning for a variety of ecosystems, including wetland and terrestrial vegetation in south-eastern Australia. Damien’s roles include ecological consulting, project planning, client liaison and delivering training. Damien is also a shareholder in Australian Ecosystems Pty Ltd, an ecological restoration company with its own large scale indigenous plant nursery.

There are excellent examples of healthy dams in our region (photo by Bonnie Humphreys)