Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

A threatened butterfly gets a lot of love in Kalimna Park

Posted on 29 November, 2018 by Tanya Loos

On Sunday 25 November, 2018 attendees at our Kalimna Park Butterfly Count were delighted to observe two Eltham Copper Butterflies flying and then perching on native shrubs such as Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) and Rough Wattle (Acacia aspera).

The count was led by two Eltham Copper Butterfly enthusiasts, ecologists Elaine Bayes and Karl Just. Elaine and Karl have a long association with this tiny threatened butterfly, and the afternoon involved a very informative discussion about the ecology, life history, and threats facing the butterflies. We also went out butterfly-spotting of course!

This naturally deceased butterfly was found in Rhyll Plant’s bird bath in nearby Happy Valley. We thought it could be an ECB – but it is actually a closely related Grassland or Chequered Copper Lucia limbaria!

The Kalimna Park population of Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) is quite possibly the largest left in the state, but it is also not as well studied as other populations. Elaine and Karl are very keen to find volunteers who are willing to scour the park for adult ECBs.

The next butterfly count will be held on Saturday 12 January, 2019 between 1pm and 3 pm at Kalimna Park. Connecting Country will send out a blog post with all the details in early 2019. A subsequent count will be held on Saturday 16 February¬† – so pop those dates in your new diary ūüôā

We were all fascinated by the complex life history of the ECB and this butterfly’s relationship with the Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) and a species of ant. Elaine wrote a great article about this interrelationship in 2016 for one of our early Nature News – click here.

The Eltham Copper Butterfly has rightly received a lot of attention in our region over the years -Connecting Country is proud to take part in the story and work with the people who care for the butterfly in the coming months.

Please enjoy this gallery of photos from the Butterfly Count. Click on the arrow on the right to move through the pictures.

 

 

 

‘Talking fire’: reviving indigenous burning practices – two events in Newstead

Posted on 22 November, 2018 by Tanya Loos

How we manage fire is an important conversation for rural and bush communities. What can we learn from how Aboriginal people used fire? Are those techniques applicable today in local landscapes that have changed a lot over the last 200 years?

Join the Newstead community for two events this November:

Scott Falconer is responsible for fire management and state forests on public land across the Loddon Mallee Region ‚ÄĒ an area taking in over a quarter of Victoria

Returning cultural burning ‚Äď Djandak Wi ‚Äď to Country
Thursday 29 November 7.30 pm.
Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons St, Newstead VIC).

All welcome, no booking required.

Come and hear Scott Falconer (Assistant Chief Fire Officer with Forest Fire Management Victoria) share his experience in the United States and Canada where he explored the involvement of Indigenous people in land and fire management. Scott’s research was supported through The Lord Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal Churchill Fellowship. He was accompanied by Trent Nelson (Dja Dja Wurrung man and Parks Victoria Ranger Team Leader) for part of the research trip.

Reviving Indigenous Burning Practices in a Changed Landscape: Community Search Conference
Friday 30 November 9.00 am-5.00 pm.
Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons St, Newstead VIC).

Free event but please book your place by Monday 26 November via Eventbrite.

Join expert panelists and local community members to explore how we might combine Western and Indigenous fire practice and knowledge in our local landscapes. At this one-day event we will discuss how we can connect Indigenous fire traditions with current approaches to fuel reduction and planned burns to shape new ways to protect our landscape and communities. This event is for everyone with an interest in this topic: community, government, academics, researchers.

Full details can be found on the Talking Fire website.

Talking Fire¬†is a community initiative designed to create different kinds of community conversations about fire. It’s supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council Community Grants Program.

 

Science, fun and fine food: our 2018 AGM and Threatened Species Forum!

Posted on 15 November, 2018 by Tanya Loos

On Saturday 10 November 2018, some 60 people gathered at Campbells Creek Community Centre to enjoy an afternoon of science,¬† fun and delicious food. The event combined Connecting Country’s Annual General Meeting for the 2017-2018 year with a threatened species forum to launch our new ‘Habitat health check’ project. We celebrated the findings and achievements of Connecting Country’s long term monitoring programs with presentations by two very special scientists who directly support these programs: Professor Andrew Bennett and PhD Candidate Jess Lawton.

We would like to thank the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for generously supporting ‘Habitat health check’, and to our presenters and all the committee members, staff and volunteers who assisted with the event.

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

Elected members of Connecting Country’s 2018-19 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

For minutes from the AGM and forum, please click here. A more detailed review of Andrew and Jess’ presentations will be shared next week.

If you would like a copy of our Annual Report for 2017-18, click here. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the report (especially Jacqui for making it look beautiful).

Please enjoy this gallery of some of the smiling faces at our AGM and Threatened Species Forum. (Photos by Tanya Loos and Frances Howe.)