Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Backyard science cures for boredom

Posted on 2 April, 2020 by Ivan

No doubt you have seen some great ideas of how to remain engaged and occupied during the isolation phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a very challenging time and impacts continue to spread across the globe. Connecting Country is adapting our community engagement model, to deliver some events to our audience, community and stakeholders in the comfort of their own home. Stay tuned for when we advertise these events in the coming months. We also hope to produce some videos down the track to keep everyone engaged.

We have discovered some excellent activities you can do from the safety of your own backyard and still contribute to science.  ‘The Conservation’ recently published an inspiring article. Please enjoy the following extract highlighting many useful activities and ideas to contribute to backyard science. To view the full article  –  click here.

Environmental projects need your support too

The yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes) is a curious little marsupial (photo by Jane Rusden)

If you’d like to get your mind off COVID-19, there’s a plethora of other options for citizen scientists. You can contribute to conservation and nature recovery efforts – a task many took to after the recent bushfires. Some sites ask volunteers to digitise data from ongoing environmental monitoring programs. Contributors need no prior experience, and interpret photos taken with remote digital cameras using online guides. One example is Western Australia’s Western Shield Camera Watch, available through Zooniverse.

Other sites crowdsource volunteers to transcribe data from natural history collections (DigiVol), historical logbooks from explorers, and weather observation stations (Southern Weather Discovery).

Citizen science programs such as eBird, BirdLife Australia’s Birdata, the Australian Museum’s FrogIDClimateWatchQuestaGameNatureMapr, and the Urban Wildlife App, all have freely available mobile applications that let you contribute to ‘big’ databases on urban and rural wildlife.

Nature watching is a great self-isolation activity because you can do it anywhere, including at home. Questagame runs a series of ‘bioquests’ where people of all ages and experience levels can photograph animals and plants they encounter.

In April, we’ll also have the national Wild Pollinator Count. This project invites participants to watch any flowering plant for just ten minutes, and record insects that visit the flowers. The aim is to boost knowledge on wild pollinator activity.

The data collected through citizen science apps are used by researchers to explore animal migration, understand ranges of species, and determine how changes in climate, air quality and habitat affect animal behaviour.

This year for the first time, several Australian cities are participating in iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge. The organisers have adapted planned events with COVID-19 in mind, and suggest ways to document nature while maintaining social distancing. You can simply capture what you can see in your backyard, or when taking a walk, or put a moth light out at night to see what it attracts.

For those at home with children, there are a variety of projects aimed at younger audiences.

From surveying galaxies to the Bird Academy Play Lab’s Games Powered By Birds – starting young can encourage a lifetime of learning.

If you’re talented at writing or drawing, why not keep a nature diary, and share your observations through a blog.

By contributing to research through digital platforms, citizen scientists offer a repository of data experts might not otherwise have access to. The Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) website has details on current projects you can join, or how to start your own.

Apart from being a valuable way to pass time while self-isolating, citizen science reminds us of the importance of community and collaboration at a time it’s desperately needed.

 

Sharing is caring – Landcare Link-up a success

Posted on 10 March, 2020 by Asha

Do you want to make a difference and help care for our local environment? Are you interested in learning more about caring for our local environment? A great place to start is by getting involved with your local Landcare group!

At our recent ‘Landcare Link-up’ on Saturday 29 February 2020 at the Castlemaine Uniting Church Hall, nine of our local Landcare and Friends groups shared stories of their work with 35 fellow volunteers and other community members. Our region has one of the highest densities of landcare and friends groups in the country, who deliver on-ground works, biodiversity monitoring and landowner education events.

Here is a small taste of what each group spoke about – if anything piques your interest, please go ahead and contact the group to chat more! Contact details can be found on our website by clicking here.

Maldon Urban Landcare Group – Update on their work monitoring and protecting large old trees (aka ‘Living Treasures’) on public land in Maldon.

Friends of Kaweka Sanctuary – The history of Kaweka Sanctuary and the work of the Friends group to care for this beautiful park right in Castlemaine.

Barkers Creek Landcare and Wildlife Group – Information on local rabbit populations, the recent ‘Rabbit Buster workshop’, and how to manage rabbits in our region.

North Harcourt & Sedgwick Landcare – The story of this group’s recent rejuvenation, how they are working to engage new people and the next generation, and their plans for the future.

Intrepid Landcare retreat – An overview of the exciting 2019 Intrepid Landcare retreat for 16 to 35-year-olds in Castlemaine.

Sutton Grange Landcare Group – Introduction to the Albert Cox Memorial Sanctuary and Sutton Grange Landcare Group’s work to care for this special site.

Golden Point Landcare – An engaging talk about the process and benefits of becoming incorporated!

Muckleford Catchment Landcare – How this group keeps Landcare fun by focusing on things like planting days, bike-riding, and good food.

Tarrangower Cactus Control Group – Using biocontrol to support weed control and a new survey for Landcare groups to give feedback on weed management in the Mount Alexander Shire.

A huge thank you to everyone who spoke at the Landcare Link-up and to everyone who came along to share in the storytelling. It was a heart-warming and inspiring afternoon, and a great showcase of the amazing power of volunteer groups!

Landcare volunteers at the February 2020 Landcare Link-up (photo by Jacqui Slingo)

 

Talking sludge with Susan Lawrence – 13 March 2020

Posted on 5 March, 2020 by Frances

Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club are hosting Susan Lawrence talking about ‘Sludge: An Environmental History of the Gold Rush’ on 13 March 2020.

The gold rush was one of the defining episodes in Australian history and has left a rich legacy in culture, architecture and archaeology. Many of the stories are well-known but the profound environmental disruption associated with the gold rush is all but forgotten. For decades a deluge of sand, silt and gravel poured from the mines. New research is showing how one hundred years later the effects of the sludge continue to shape Victoria’s rivers and floodplains. It has implications for the management of cultural heritage, river remediation programs, catchment management, public health and debates about how people and environments interact.

Prof. Susan Lawrence is an archaeologist at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She has nearly thirty years’ experience working on sites all over Australia, including Tasmanian whaling stations and South Australian farms. She is the author of several books and has published internationally on gender, artefact studies, urban archaeology, colonialism, and industrial archaeology. Susan is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Society of Antiquaries of London. Her most recent book is Sludge: Disaster on Victoria’s Goldfields (Black Inc/La Trobe University Press 2019), co-authored with Peter Davies.

Castlemaine Field Naturalists meet monthly at 7.30 pm in the Fellowship Room behind Castlemaine Uniting Church, 24 Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC.

Visit their website for more information – click here

 

Nature photography in Newstead – 8 March 2020

Posted on 5 March, 2020 by Frances

The Mount Alexander region is blessed with some extremely talented nature photographers. Their thoughtful and evocative images help us appreciate and connect with the local environment. Local photographers and Connecting Country supporters, Janet Barker, Frances Cincotta, Patrick Kavanagh, Geoff Park and Bronwyn Silver, are holding an exhibition, Photographers of the Goldfields, at the Newstead Arts Hub in March 2020.

The launch and exhibition opening will be this Sunday 8 March at 11 am, so please come along and enjoy the talent on display and some tasty local food. 

Heron and Egret (photo: Geoff Park)

Here is a message from the photographers:

From the tiniest world contained on a dewdrop, to the expansive landscapes of the Plains and Mounts, the beauty of the Goldfields is all around us. However many treasures remain sight unseen, until revealed by the camera’s lens/focus.

Photography allows us to appreciate, understand and learn more about our local environs. Seen in its best light and in the moment, a photograph reveals that millisecond in time, for all time.

Bronwyn Silver, Geoff Park, Patrick Kavanagh and Janet Barker see their photography as a way of celebrating and ultimately protecting nature. Photographers of the Goldfields 2020 will feature some of our favourite gems, worth taking a longer look at.

Saturday 7 March to Sunday 29 March 2020
Weekends & Monday 9 March from 10 am to 4 pm 
Launch: Sunday 8 March at 11 am – All welcome
Newstead Arts Hub: 8A Tivey Street, Newstead VIC

Scroll through below to enjoy some favourite images and visit the exhibition to see more.

 

Clean up Australian Day: Sunday 1 March 2020

Posted on 27 February, 2020 by Ivan

Clean up Australia is happening this Sunday 1 March 2020, including at eight locations across the Castlemaine region in central Victoria. Clean Up Australia inspires and empowers communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment. What was started 30 years ago, by an ‘average Australian bloke’ who had a simple idea to make a difference in his own backyard. It has now become the nation’s largest community-based environmental event. It is hard to believe that this initiative began as the inspiration of one man, Ian Kiernan.

An avid sailor, Ian was shocked and disgusted by the pollution and rubbish that he continually encountered in the oceans of the world. Taking matters into his own hands, Ian organised a community event with the support of a committee of friends, including co-founder Kim McKay AO. This simple idea ignited an enthusiasm and desire among the local community to get involved and make a difference. And surely if a capital city could be mobilized into action, then so could the whole nation! And so it was that Clean Up Australia Day was born in 1990.

Local working bees in our region, include:


The best way to get involved in a cleanup activity is to view the map of all working bees (click here), where you can search via postcodes and townships. You can also create a cleanup event working bee, which is really awesome, and fundraise for your event if required. 

 

 

 

 

Gorse management info session: 21 March 2020

Posted on 27 February, 2020 by Ivan

Our partners at Sutton Grange Landcare Group have teamed up with the Victorian Gorse Task Force (VGT) to deliver an information session on Gorse (Ulex europaeus). Gorse is a species of flowering plant in the pea family (Fabaceae). It’s native to the British Isles and Western Europe, and has spread over 23 million hectares in Australia.

Join the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) at the information session with the Sutton Grange Landcare group on Saturday 21 of March 2020, held in the Sutton Grange Hall (921 Faraday-Sutton Grange Rd, Sutton Grange VIC ). There will be information about the role of the Victorian Gorse Taskforce, a chance to chat with their Extension Officer, information on best practice gorse management and refreshments to finish.

RSVP to Brydie Murrihy on 0428 335 705

For more information please contact:
Brydie Murrihy (VGT Extension Officer)
m. 0428 335 705
e. VGT@cva.org.au
or
Christine Brooke (Sutton Grange Landcare)
e. sglg@live.com

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce was formed in 1999 and launched a community-led integrated approach to reducing gorse across the landscape. VGT members include local people who have successfully controlled gorse on their land, as well as natural resource management, agricultural, pest management and other experts. We work with private landowners and public land managers such as the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, local councils and catchment management authorities. We also work with researchers exploring new ways to tackle gorse.

Please enjoy the video below by the VGT, that outlines the impacts of Gorse across Victoria.

 

Climate change resilience workshops in Castlemaine

Posted on 27 February, 2020 by Ivan

Our fabulous Castlemaine Community House is offering a series of three workshops to assist individuals and families to develop resilience around the climate crisis. The workshops will be facilitated by Dr Susie Burke, environmental psychologist and therapist, and member of Psychology for a Safe Climate.

  • Where: Castlemaine Community House, 30 Templeton St, Castlemaine VIC
  • When: Please refer to times and dates for each workshop below
  • Cost: $15, or $10 concession (or if booking for more than one person)
  • How to book:  Please book directly with Castlemaine Community House online via the website links below.

Further information regarding the workshops is available from Castlemaine Community House via their website (click here) or by telephone at (03) 5472 4842

Coping with Climate Change

Date: Wednesday 11 March 2020
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
To book: click here

An experiential workshop to help people deal with grief and anxiety, come to terms with the climate emergency, and stay engaged in solutions.

This workshop is for anyone who is deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change on the things they love and care about, and would like to explore with others how to come to terms with the climate crisis and cope with distressing thoughts and feelings.

Participants will learn techniques for making room for uncomfortable feelings, free themselves from self-defeating thoughts and urges, cultivate a perspective of active hope, and increase their capacity to be present and focus on what matters in the context of the climate emergency.

Deep Adaptation to Climate Change

Date: Monday 23 March 2020
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
To book: click here

A workshop to help people start to come to terms with the climate emergency, and stay engaged in solutions.

In this workshop participants will discuss and begin to work out what ‘Deep Adaptation’ could mean (and what it doesn’t).  Four questions guide the work on Deep Adaptation:

  • Resilience: what do we most value that we want to keep and how?
  • Relinquishment: what do we need to let go of so as not to make matters worse?
  • Restoration: what could we bring back to help us with these difficult times?
  • Reconciliation: with what and whom shall we make peace as we awaken to our mutual mortality?

Parent Workshop – Talking with Children about Climate Change

Date: Monday 30 March 2020
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
To book: click here

A workshop which aims to help parents think through the impact of climate change on their children, cope with that knowledge themselves, whilst at the same time supporting their children to cope with climate change now and in the future.

By attending this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Think through how they, as parents, can respond to the current reality of climate change and the threat of worse impacts to come.
  • Learn strategies for coping with the ‘uncomfortable truths’ of climate change
  • Gather ideas about how to support their children to cope with it.
  • Learn about the skills and capacities that our children, the next generation, will need for engaging in efforts to restore a safe climate, and for adapting to the inevitable changes ahead.

 

Facilitator: Dr Susie Burke PhD FAPS
Dr Susie Burke is an environmental psychologist, therapist, climate change campaigner and parent, currently working in private practice in Castlemaine.  She is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society, and author of the Climate Change Empowerment Handbook and other articles and resources on the psychology of climate change.  She consults, and runs workshops and individual sessions to help people cope with and come to terms with climate change, with a particular interest in how to raise children in and for a climate altered world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platypus citizen science workshop: Sunday 15 March 2020

Posted on 20 February, 2020 by Ivan

Our friends and partners at Friends of Campbells Creek are organising a FREE public workshop on Sunday 15 March 2020 in Campbells Creek, VIC. Experts from the Australian Platypus Conservancy will highlight the conservation needs of these animals and outline ways the community can help monitor their populations in local rivers, creeks and lakes.

The platypus rarely uses sight when underwater – its eyes normally close automatically as soon as it dives (photo: Australian Platypus Conservancy)

A practical demonstration in nearby Campbells Creek will follow the formal presentation.

Bookings can be made online – click here

For the event flyer – click here

The platypus is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ in Australia and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. For more information and maps of distribution – click here.

More details about the event are provided below, courtesy of Friends of Campbells Creek.

Community skills monitoring project

Monitoring key species of fauna and flora can teach us about the health of local ecosystems and alert us to changes in the environment. This workshop will help Landcare groups, other environmental organisations and interested individuals focus on how citizen science methods can be used to collect data about platypus and rakali populations. However, the principles involved can be applied more broadly for monitoring other species.

Presenters: Drs Melody Serena and Geoff Williams of Australian Platypus Conservancy

Proposed timetable and format:

1.00 pm Arrival, registration and welcome
1.30 pm Presentation 1: Platypus biology and conservation considerations
2.30 pm Presentation 2: Rakali biology and conservation considerations
3.15 pm Questions and afternoon tea
3.45 pm Presentation 3: Platypus and rakali spotting hints and research/monitoring techniques
4.30 pm Questions, Final summary and briefing for field session

Field-based practical session (optional extra activity for interested participants)
4.45 pm Travel to selected local field site
5.00 pm On-site briefing regarding observation session
5.15 pm Observation session
6.00 pm Debrief
6.15 pm Finish

For inquiries and email bookings: please contact Thea King on: info@focc.org.au

 

Birdlife Castlemaine AGM: Saturday 7 March 2020

Posted on 13 February, 2020 by Ivan

Our partners and friends at BirdLife Castlemaine are having their Annual General Meeting (AGM), following their monthly bird walk. It is a good chance to hear their achievements and what is planned for the year ahead, as well as enjoy a bird walk at the lovely Mount Tarrengower. Here are the details from BirdLife Castlemaine.

Please be advised that the 2020 Annual General Meeting of the BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch will be held on Saturday 7 March 2020 at 11.30 am at 25A Church Street, Maldon VIC.

The meeting will follow the monthly bird walk to be held on Mount Tarrengower. Morning tea will be available from 11.00 am. A nomination form for committee positions is available by contacting BirdLife Castlemaine via email (castlemaine@birdlife.org.au). The positions vacant are Convenor, Secretary, Treasurer and committee members. A proxy voting form is also available. Please consider nominating for the committee.

Nomination forms and proxy voting forms should be emailed to castlemaine@birdlife.org.au OR mailed to: Secretary, BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch, 25A Church Street, Maldon VIC 3463. Nominations will also be accepted on the day of the AGM.

Best wishes
Secretary – BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch

For further information please – click here

Twenty-eight bird lovers enjoyed ‘Breakfast with the Birds’ and February 2020 Bird Walk at Warburtons Bridge, Glenluce VIC (photo by Birdlife Castlemaine)

 

 

 

 

You are invited! Join us for the Landcare Link-up – 29 February 2020

Posted on 6 February, 2020 by Asha

Are you interested in learning more about our local Landcare/Friends groups? Maybe you want to get involved in environmental volunteering, meet like-minded people, show your support, or just want to know what Landcarers have been up to? Come along and join local volunteers at the February Landcare Link-up at the Castlemaine Uniting Church Hall.

This is the third annual Link-up dedicated to sharing the stories of Landcarers from the Mount Alexander region and highlighting some of the key projects and achievements. This year Landcarers are keen to invite the broader community and stakeholders along to be part of the journey and learn from the various groups in our region. The Link-up is always a casual and fun affair, with stories from a variety of groups and plenty of time for chatting over hot drinks and snacks.

To read about the Sharing Stories Landcare Link-up in 2019, please click here.

When: Saturday 29 February 2020, 4:00-7:00 pm

Where: Castlemaine Uniting Church Hall, 24 Lyttleton St, Castlemaine Victoria, Australia.

RSVP: by February 24 2020 to asha@connectingcountry.org.au or call (03) 5472 1594

Click here to download the invitation for the Landcare Link-up.

 

Become a Connecting Country Member: Join us on our landscape restoration journey

Posted on 6 February, 2020 by Ivan

We have noticed many of our supporters are not currently members of Connecting Country. The support we offer is not exclusive to our members, but we would love to sign up some new people and increase our membership in 2020. By being a member, you are showing your support for Connecting Country, and assisting us to achieve our aims and objectives. Membership provides insurance cover when you attend our events and activities or volunteer with us, and also allows you to vote at our Annual General Meeting and have a say on our future direction.

We currently have 250 valued members and would be thrilled to increase our membership to over 300 members this year. More members will assist us when applying for grants and presenting to potential funding bodies.

Membership is free, and needs to be renewed annually. Applications from first time members are submitted to the Committee of Management for official approval.

To become a member of Connecting Country for free, and help us on our mission of landscape restoration, please click here.

Connecting Country runs community education events, attracting over 1,000 attendees in the past year (photo by Ivan Carter)

 

For a quick recap of some of what we do and why it’s important, view the following video.

How Connecting Country began

In 2007, the Normal Wettenhall Foundation (now Wettenhall Environment Trust) developed a work plan for supporting community-led landscape restoration in south-east Australia. The Executive Officer contacted Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (Mount Alexander Region), an environment group in Castlemaine, to see if there was interest in working collaboratively across the region on a landscape restoration project. A reference group formed, eventually leading to the creation of Connecting Country.

During 2008, the project produced a Biodiversity Blueprint (click here for details) that identified our assets, the possible threats they face and what future actions we can take. It suggested directions, clarified priorities in landscape restoration and helped reconcile cultural, agricultural and natural values.

In 2009, Connecting Country worked in partnership with the North Central Catchment Management Authority to implement a program across the local landscape with a specific focus on the threatened Brush-tailed Phascogale (Tuan) and its Yellow Box Woodland habitat.

Since 2012, we have implemented programs related to local Landcare support, habitat connectivity and pest plant and animal management. We have supported development of local action plans, habitat enhancement for woodland birds, community skills training in environmental management and biodiversity monitoring. For more information on our current projects click here.

Ted Macarthy with a revegetated Acacia (photo by Leonie van Eyk)

 

Rabbit Buster Workshop – 16 February 2020

Posted on 4 February, 2020 by Asha

Are you a property owner or Landcare member wanting to manage rabbits? Wondering what to do next?

Barkers Creek Landcare & Wildlife Group are hosting a workshop and demonstration day as part of the annual Rabbit Buster Month campaign, with support from Connecting Country, Agriculture Victoria, and North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA).

The session will cover:

  • Best practice rabbit management- presented by Agriculture Victoria’s Leading Biosecurity Officer, Jessica Seidel.
  • Integrated rabbit management.
  • Case studies from local Landcare groups and land managers.
  • Rabbit management demonstration by Jarrod Coote (field site visit).

Click here to download the flyer with more information about the workshop and how to register.

Why manage rabbits?

Rabbits have been significant pests in Australia since they were released near Geelong, Victoria in 1860. Rabbits are one of Australia’s most serious pest animals and typically:

  • Destroy pasture, crops and plant communities, impacting on agriculture and the environment;
  • Cause soil erosion and associated sedimentation of waterways;
  • Compete with native fauna for food and habitat.

For more information and resources about rabbit management, click here.

Rabbits can impact native vegetation, revegetation, and pastures alike. Photo: Pest Smart CRC

 

Turtle wisdom – slow down and watch the dam

Posted on 16 January, 2020 by Ivan

It was turtle time in Chewton last week, with local legends Marie Jones and John Ellis sending in some excellent photographs of a family of Long-Necked Turtles living in their dam. The dam has turned out to be important habitat for a family of turtles, with the larger creeks and rivers mostly dry in the long hot summers of central Victoria. The Eastern Long-necked Turtle is an east Australian species of snake-necked turtle that inhabits a wide variety of water bodies and is an opportunistic feeder. It is a side-necked turtle, meaning that it bends its head sideways into its shell rather than pulling directly back. Please enjoy the words below from Marie and John, who were kind enough to send in the observation and good news story. Feel free to send us your incidental observations of nature and wildlife – we’re always keen to share them with our friends and supporters.

‘We knew we had the odd interesting swimmer living in our dam – one had already been in the January Chewton Chat (last photo). But it was a social visit by staff from Connecting Country that really opened our eyes. They spotted long-necked turtles of varying sizes, maybe a family.

The dam is now a prime focus and counting the heads a daily routine. Seven heads up at the same time is the current record. A dam lot of interesting life out there…’

 

Butterfly Monitoring 28 December 2019 – POSTPONED!

Posted on 27 December, 2019 by Ivan

Due to the extreme weather forecast on the 28 December 2019, we have decided to move the Eltham Copper Butterfly Monitoring Session to the 31 of December 2019 (10am to 2pm). The new location is listed on the booking page below, if you are able to attend. 

We have cancelled the monitoring session due to the fact that the Eltham Copper Butterflies will not be out once the temperature is this warm, so monitoring on these days would be a waste of time. Our monitoring consultants have suggested the change in dates and locations and we are excited to have two remaining sessions to find some new populations of this precious and endangered butterfly.

We have created a new booking session if you are able to help us on the 31st of December from 10am to 2pm. The temperature is forecast to be mid to high 20s, so perfect for the Eltham Copper Butterfly. Alternatively, there is a final session on 3 January 2020.

Monitoring dates and locations:

  • 10-2 pm Tuesday 31 December 2019.  Location: Water tank on Hunter Track, top end of Hunter Street, Kalimna Park, Castlemaine VIC, Australia.
  • 12-4 pm Friday 3 January 2020.  Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine VIC, Australia.

Please book for these events – click here

Everyone is invited to become 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.

To learn more about this wonderful and interesting little butterfly click here. It would be terrific to find some new populations in our region and this is the perfect opportunity to survey some excellent butterfly habitat. You don’t need to attend all these events to be 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.

Sorry for the inconvenience and hopefully you can attend another session. The weather sure is extreme at the moment and we thank you for your patience. If you’d like to get involved in Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring, please come along to a monitoring event.

Karl Just and Elaine Bayes educate the community on how to identify the precious Eltham Copper Butterflies. Photo: Ivan Carter

 

Copper Butterfly monitoring dates – 31 December 2019 and 3 January 2020

Posted on 17 December, 2019 by Frances

Although the early summer weather was unfavourable for our beloved Eltham Copper Butterfly, butterflies have now been spotted out and about in Kalimna Park (Castlemaine VIC). Local ecologists and butterfly enthusiasts Elaine Bayes and Karl Just have been busy training enthusiastic volunteers in how to conduct the vital monitoring needed to help this threatened species.

In addition to the planned butterfly monitoring on Saturday 28 December 2019,  Karl and Elaine have now scheduled a further monitoring day on Friday 3 January 2020.

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!

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. Our aim is to support interested community members to learn how to monitor with expert guidance, conduct more monitoring and (hopefully) discover new butterfly populations.

Monitoring dates and locations:

  • 10 am-2 pm Tuesday 31 December 2019. Location: Water tank on Hunter Track, top end of Hunter Street, Kalimna Park, Castlemaine VIC
  • 12-4 pm Friday 3 January 2020. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine VIC

Please book for this event – click here

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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.

To learn more about this wonderful and interesting little butterfly, including ecology, distribution and information on how to identify this species from similar look-alike butterflies – click here. It would be terrific to find some new populations in our region and this is the perfect opportunity to survey some excellent butterfly habitat. You don’t need to attend all these events to be 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.

Please enjoy the video below, courtesy of the N-danger-D Youtube Channel, that has some excellent footage of this wonderful butterfly and symbiotic ant species.

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

 

 

ARI subscriptions for environmental research updates

Posted on 12 December, 2019 by Ivan

We received an interesting update from Landcare Victoria and the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI) this week, regarding a new subscription service to stay in touch with ARI’s key biodiversity and ecological projects on land. Connecting Country has partnered with research organisations in the past and used some of the research that ARI has funded over the years. The following update describes ARI ‘s project update opportunities and how to subscribe.

Arthur Rylah Institute

The Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI) in Heidelberg VIC is the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s leading centre for applied ecological research. ARI has some exciting updates to science subscriptions, and they’re completely free! As a government research institute, ARI prides itself in making its science accessible and highlighting how its latest research is informing both policy and management to better support Victoria’s biodiversity.

ARI’s team of 90+ researchers work all across Victoria (and sometimes internationally) on science that matters, directly informing policy and environmental management. ARI staff work across a range of ecosystems (alpine, estuarine, grassland, forest and freshwater systems) and have expertise in fish ecology, threatened species, monitoring programs and geospatial modelling.

New subscription

ARI recently launched a new subscription, the Terrestrial Quarterly Update (click here), and it’s now easier for you to subscribe and manage your subscription preferences from a single place (click here)

The latest achievements from their terrestrial ecology team includes research on:

  • Threatened flora and fauna.
  • Fire ecology.
  • Spatial modelling (including machine learning).
  • Environmental watering.
  • Vegetation ecology.
  • Ecological risk assessment.
  • Pest and wildlife management (including translocations).

The Terrestrial quarterly update joins ARI’s other long running services. Click on the following links for more information:

  • ARI seminar series: ARI’s regular one hour seminars on Mondays features researchers from ARI and scientists from around the world (also available via a free webinar stream).
  • ARI eNews: ARI’s flagship newsletter highlighting new projects, latest scientific publications, new fact sheets and videos, and other notable events.
  • Aquatic Quarterly update: two updates; one providing detail on current projects, events and publications from ARI’s aquatic ecology researchers, the other offering an insight into how research is influencing management.
  • YouTube: ARI’s video playlist on DELWP’s channel shares some of the stories from their research.
  • ARI website: regularly updated repository of ARI’s project summaries, publications, fact sheets, guides and videos.

 

Help monitor our endangered copper butterfly – Sunday 15 December 2019

Posted on 12 December, 2019 by Ivan

This Sunday will be the second of four Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring events for 2019-20, with local ecologists and butterfly enthusiasts Elaine Bayes and Karl Just training volunteers in how to conduct the vital monitoring needed to help this threatened species.

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!

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. The aim is to support interested community members to learn how to monitor with expert guidance, conduct more monitoring and (hopefully) discover new populations.

When: 12.00 -4.00 pm on Sunday 15 December 2019

Where: Parking spot just north of where golf course intersects with Kalimna Tourist Road, Castlemaine, VIC – click here for map

Bring: water, a hat, suitable clothing (long pants, sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate gear) and snacks to keep you going

Please book for this event – click here

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.

To learn more about this wonderful and interesting small butterfly, including ecology, distribution and information on how to identify this species from similar look-alike butterflies – click here.

There will be two more over the next few weeks, covering different areas around Castlemaine:

  • 12-4 pm Saturday 28 December 2019. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine VIC – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Friday 3 January 2020. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine VIC – click here for map.

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

 

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. Kerrie 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.

 

Copper Butterfly monitoring update: 28 December 2019 and 3 January 2020

Posted on 28 November, 2019 by Ivan

Although the early summer weather was unfavourable for our beloved Eltham Copper Butterfly, butterflies have now been spotted out and about in Kalimna Park (Castlemaine VIC). Local ecologists and butterfly enthusiasts Elaine Bayes and Karl Just have been busy training enthusiastic volunteers in how to conduct the vital monitoring needed to help this threatened species.

In addition to the planned butterfly monitoring on Saturday 28 December 2019,  Karl and Elaine have now scheduled a further monitoring day on Friday 3 January 2020.

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!

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. Our aim is to support interested community members to learn how to monitor with expert guidance, conduct more monitoring and (hopefully) discover new butterfly populations.

Monitoring dates and locations:

  • 12-4 pm Saturday 28 December 2019. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine VIC – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Friday 3 January 2020. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine VIC – click here for map.

Please book for this event – click here

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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.

To learn more about this wonderful and interesting little butterfly, including ecology, distribution and information on how to identify this species from similar look-alike butterflies – click here. It would be terrific to find some new populations in our region and this is the perfect opportunity to survey some excellent butterfly habitat. You don’t need to attend all these events to be 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.

Please enjoy the video below, courtesy of the N-danger-D Youtube Channel, that has some excellent footage of this wonderful butterfly and symbiotic ant species.

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

 

 

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!