Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Bursaria for butterflies: a new Connecting Country project for 2022-23

Posted on 1 June, 2022 by Ivan

We are thrilled to announce that Connecting Country was successful in securing a priority threatened species grant from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The grants are part of the Australian government’s Environment Restoration Fund and Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan, targeting a number of priority threatened species across the country. Our successful grant will focus on the Eltham Copper Butterfly (Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida) and will aim to protect and enhance the priority habitat for the Eltham Copper Butterfly through practical on-ground actions. The grant program provides funding to undertake activities that will protect, enhance, rehabilitate, recover and/or restore priority species and their habitats.

The largest remaining populations of this threatened butterfly are known in the public reserves around Castlemaine VIC. Survey efforts and management actions have focused on public land, yet our 15 years’ experience working with local landholders has identified potential habitat on adjoining private land. This habitat is under threat from urbanisation, fire regimes and grazing. Connecting Country will engage and educate key landholders to protect and restore priority butterfly habitat through controlling threats (weeds and rabbits) and planting vital habitat over 2022-23. Revegetation planting will focus on the butterfly’s host plant, Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa).

Who is the Eltham Copper Butterfly? 

The Eltham Copper Butterfly (Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida) is only found in Victoria, Australia, and is restricted to a several sites around Castlemaine, Bendigo, Kiata (near Nhill) and Eltham in Victoria. It is one of the rare good news stories within the extinction crisis in Australia. It was considered extinct in the 1950s until rediscovered at Eltham in 1986.

Although new populations have been discovered around the state since the Eltham discovery in 1986, the future of this special butterfly remains uncertain. It is listed as threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and listed as endangered under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This places considerable importance on the seven sites around the Castlemaine region in central Victoria, where the butterfly exists and has bred successfully.

To download Connecting Country’s useful brochure about the Eltham Copper Butterfly – click here

The Eltham Copper Butterfly is only known to exist in three general locations in Victoria (image by SWIFFT)


Not only is this beautiful species threatened, it also has fascinating and highly specialised ecological requirements. It cannot survive without the presence of Sweet Bursaria plants and colonies of a particular species of Notoncus ants. The largest remaining populations of the Eltham Copper Butterfly lie around the town of Castlemaine in central Victoria, with others at Bendigo, Kiata and Eltham in Victoria. They have a weird and wonderful symbiotic association with a Notoncus ant and their host plant, Sweet Bursaria.

What will we deliver? 

Through Connecting Country’s local knowledge and established networks, we will target private landholders with properties within or adjoining known butterfly habitat, who demonstrate long-term commitment to protect and restore their land. We will work with them to develop tailored management plans and deliver practical on-ground actions for long-term protection and restoration and connectivity of quality butterfly habitat on their properties. Connecting Country’s Landscape Restoration Coordinator will visit at least 20 key private landholders to identify, assess and prioritise management actions to protect, connect and enhance, existing butterfly habitat

Our project aims to:

  • Increase the connectivity and reduce threats for known butterfly populations at Castlemaine Botanic Gardens, Walmer, Dingo Park Road, and Campbells Creek with known breeding habitats by connecting public and private land habitats.
  • Protect and improve the quality and quantity of available habitat for Castlemaine’s populations of the Eltham Copper Butterfly.
  • Protect and restore more than 10 ha of butterfly habitat where Sweet Bursaria would have grown naturally.
  • Engage private landholders adjacent to known populations to commit to long-term protection and restoration of butterfly habitat on their land, reduce the risk of weeds moving into public land sites, and habitat loss due to development or ongoing degradation.
  • Engage the broader community to value and protect the Eltham Copper Butterfly and promote best-practice restoration of butterfly habitat.
  • Complement and build on recent efforts of local ecologists in identifying existing butterfly habitat around Castlemaine, and the historical monitoring conducted by the Castlemaine community.


Connecting Country is proud to oversee the project in collaboration with our project partners.

We are really excited about more funding for the butterfly and will begin an expression of interest process in the coming months, seeking landholders with properties near known Eltham Copper Butterfly sites. Keep an eye out for updates! 

For more information about the Eltham Copper Butterfly –  click here
You may also enjoy the following video, courtesy of N-danger-D.


Apply now to join Community Conservationists

Posted on 8 September, 2020 by Ivan

Remember The Wild is now seeking applications for involvement in their 2020-21 Community Conservationists initiative, which aims to raise the profile of the people in our community who are dedicated to conserving our natural world. Remember The Wild is a talented bunch of people who use storytelling to reconnect communities with the local environment and help people remember why the wild matters.

We know many readers are involved in the important work of protecting our local bush and are worthy of support for your years, in many cases decades, of dedicated hard work that has transformed our landscape for the better.

As a past participant of the Community Conservationists initiative, we can say that Remember the Wild brilliantly captured Connecting Country’s habitat restoration and woodland bird monitoring program in the short video below. This has been a helpful tool to promote our work and secure funding for further projects.

Successful applicants for the current round of Community Conservationists will receive a short film and support in digital communication and marketing. The application and participation are free.

Submissions close 21 September 2020

For more information visit the Remember the Wild website:




FAQ about COVID-19 impact on Landcare projects

Posted on 23 April, 2020 by Jacqui

Here is an important update from the Landcare team at Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) about current and future grants for Landcare groups and volunteers. They provide some excellent ideas about how to stay involved in Landcare while complying with COVID-19 restrictions.

Dear project managers and environmental volunteers across Victoria

Thank you to everyone who has contacted staff from the Community Programs team within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning over the past few weeks to discuss our grants programs, volunteering under coronavirus (COVID-19), and to raise the questions or concerns that you have about your current and future projects. While we all work through this challenging time, we appreciate you getting in contact to discuss these issues with us.

Please see attached a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) update from our team, which provides details about the impact of COVID-19 on the various grants programs that we help deliver, including the possible variation of projects that have been delayed due to COVID-19. The FAQ also includes a list of ideas for staying involved in environmental volunteering while at home and following government COVID-19 measures.

We hope this list provides some useful ideas for ways to stay connected with your environmental volunteering communities, and some helpful suggestions about how you can continue to do your work. If you have any other ideas or suggestions please share them with us and we will add them to future updates, so that others can try them too.

To access the FAQ – click here

If you have any questions please contact DELWP (



Prickly plants providing homes for wildlife

Posted on 19 March, 2020 by Ivan

Eucalyptus trees, their abundant nectar-rich flowers and the hollows that develop in older trees are typical habitat elements that spring to mind when thinking about wildlife habitat in Box-Ironbark Forests and woodlands. While these overstorey habitat elements are important, we also know that a diversity of understorey plant species are necessary for healthy resilient local forests and woodlands. And importantly for wildlife, this layer of vegetation within our local forests, gives protection, food and places to nest for many species of insects, small mammals, reptiles and birds, allowing them to survive and reproduce, and disperse through the landscape.

From clearing and disturbance that occured during the goldrush, the introduction of grazing animals over time, and invasive plants and animals, understorey plants have been lost or have greatly decreased in distribution and regeneration success throughout our landscape. This loss of species diversity reduces the complexity of habitats and their ability to respond, or bounce back from threats such as climate change.

Thankfully Connecting Country have secured funding over the past few years to return a suite of these understorey plants (many of which are prickly) to our region through landholder support and education to restore these vital species.

The most recent project supporting this work is ‘Prickly Plants for Wildlife on Small Properties’. The main focus of this two-year project is assisting landholders on smaller properties who may have missed out on previous Connecting Country projects that typically targeted larger properties (>10 Ha).

Connecting Country staff met with landholders who expressed interest in restoring the bush on their property, to assess the vegetation, identify threats and provide tubestock plants of local species suitable for their vegetation type. Where older eucalypts with hollows were lacking within the bush on these properties nestboxes were installed for species such as Brush-tailed Phascogale, Owlet Nightjar and microbats. This project is generously funded by the North Central Catchment Management Authority to improve the health and management of our landscape.


Landholders in the Mount Alexander region of Victoria have planted local indigenous species of understorey appropriate for their vegetation type.


Microbats were provided with homes through installation of nestboxes on properties lacking natural tree hollows.




Youth grants for invasive species – closing 30 September 2019

Posted on 12 September, 2019 by Ivan

Connecting Country are keen to engage and involve youth in natural resource management activities across our region. This grant program supports youth-friendly initiatives with a focus on invasive pest and weed issues in Victoria. The program aims to increase young people’s participation in community environmental projects and encourage new ideas and innovations in the invasive species challenge. Funding can be used to support the engagement of young people in existing groups and initiatives, or to develop new youth-focused initiatives.

Applications close: 5.00 pm on 30 September 2019

Grants between $5,000 and $15,000 (excluding GST) are available.

Who can apply: Open to community groups, education providers and local councils, with a focus on projects that connect with young people and develop their skills, and deliver broader benefits for local communities.

How to apply:

  • Read the program guidelines – click here.
  • Contact the Grants Program Coordinator if you have questions about your application. Lauren Hull can be contacted on 0472 876 695 or
  • Download the application form and complete all sections – click here.

Key dates:

  • Successful grants announced – November 2019.
  • Projects undertaken – November 2019 to June 2020.

Inspiration and ideas: There’s lots of projects underway that are boosting youth participation in environmental initiatives. If you’re looking for a starting point for your invasive species work,  click here to see just a few projects that have been proposed.

More information: Contact Lauren Hull 0472 876 695 or

Frankie Cook plants a tree along Forest Creek (photo from Castlemaine Landcare)


Victorian Junior Landcare biodiversity grants

Posted on 6 June, 2019 by Asha

Victorian schools and other groups with young Victorians that want to work on a biodiversity project can apply for the 2019 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants. These grants offer funding for projects that involve and educate young Victorians in valuing and actively caring for our natural environment. For further information: click here

Who can apply: Schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, Scouts, Girl Guides and youth groups.

Grant funding: Up to $5,000 is available for projects comprising direct action (i.e., projects with an on-ground component), indirect action (i.e., projects with an environmental education component), or a mix of both.

Type of projects supported by this program:

  • On-ground projects that restore, protect, enhance, or develop habitat for native flora and fauna, and/or address threats to biodiversity, e.g., weed invasion, habitat loss.
  • Projects that increase opportunities for children to connect with their natural environment, e.g., a school excursion to Healesville Sanctuary.
  • Projects that educate and raise awareness among young people of the benefits and importance of biodiversity and a healthy environment, and/or how they can contribute to environmental improvement.

Grant guidelines: click here

Frequently asked questions: click here

How to apply: To access the application form log into the Landcare Australia Communities portal (or register if you haven’t applied for a Landcare Australia grant before). Click on ‘2019 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants’ and then click ‘create application’. You can save your application as a draft and log back in to finish it later.

Applications close: 3.00 pm on Friday 21 June 2019


Climate Change Adaptation grant opportunity for groups

Posted on 31 January, 2019 by Tanya Loos

Community Climate Change Adaptation (3CA) Grants now open

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is delivering a small grants program to build resilience to climate change impacts through community-driven adaptation activities that address identified gaps and priorities in Victoria’s regions.

Applications close on Sunday 31 March 2019 and projects must be completed by 31 December 2020. Grants will be between $25,000 to $75,000.

Eligible projects must either be led by, or implemented in partnership with, a local council, traditional owner corporation, community group, or not-for-profit organisation.

This program will fund two categories of projects:

  • Building Adaptive Capacity: these projects will build the capacity of communities or regions to better plan for, coordinate and deliver actions that support communities to adapt to current or future climate change impacts.
  • Delivering Adaptation Action: delivering adaptation action projects will implement practical actions that will support communities and regions to adapt to current or future climate change impacts

For more detailed information about the grant opportunity, including guidelines on project eligibility, grant assessment criteria, application process and funding conditions, and FAQs go to

To apply online via DELWP’s online portal click here.

For more information on climate change impacts and climate change adaptation priorities and gaps in your region of Victoria please refer to the relevant Regional Climate Change Adaptation Snapshot Report.


Biodiversity Response Planning: a new Connecting Country project

Posted on 13 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Biodiversity Response Planning projects announced

BRP planning – photo by DELWP

Over the six months, a diverse array of government, Traditional Owner and community organisations from across Victoria came together to participate in an intense Biodiversity Response Planning process. Connecting Country was one of these organisations!

After a lot of hard work, 89 new projects were just announced by the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, including 85 projects for on-ground biodiversity action worth $33.67 million. These projects are part of the government’s investment to implement Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 and will be delivered by various stakeholders over the next three years.

Connecting Country is excited to announce that our proposed project was selected for funding.

For the full list of successful projects visit:

Our project: Remnant rescue – restoring woodland bird habitat in central Victoria

Local landscape – photo by Bonnie Humphreys

We know that much of central Victoria’s native woodland has been heavily disturbed by a long history of mining, clearing, woodcutting, grazing, and changes in fire and water regimes. The Box-Ironbark landscape contains provides habitat for many threatened species including the threatened Temperate Woodland Bird Community. Scientific studies demonstrate an alarming acceleration in the decline of most species within this community over recent years. Habitat loss is the single greatest threat to woodland birds, and exacerbates other threats, such as predation by cats and foxes, and prolonged drought. Many of the remaining woodlands lack complexity and are missing the key understorey species that provide food, nesting sites and protection from predators for woodland birds and other animals.

Within the Mount Alexander region, large areas of remnant woodlands and priority habitat exist on private land. Through our work, Connecting Country has identified numerous private landholders with the interest, enthusiasm and capacity to protect and restore woodland habitat on their land, but require guidance and practical assistance.

This project restores habitat for the Temperate Woodland Bird Community by focusing on weeds and rabbit control to promote natural regeneration of native species. We’ll supplement this by strategic revegetation with key missing understorey plants to increase species diversity and community complexity. The project targets 60 ha of priority areas of potential habitat on private land, engaging landholders to develop appropriate management actions tailored for their properties. We’ll also implement weed and rabbit control on 40 ha of complementary areas of public land.

Diamond Firetail – photo by Geoff Park

Connecting Country is proud to oversee the project in collaboration with our project partners: local landholders, Dja Dja Wurrung, Trust for Nature, Parks Victoria and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.


Turn your property into habitat for woodland birds

Posted on 8 February, 2018 by Frances

Would you like your property to provide a home for threatened birds and marsupials? We’re looking for keen local landholders with at least three hectares of remnant vegetation to set aside for our local wildlife.

Only one week left to get involved in our Prickly Plants for Wildlife project!

Trees are great, but small native animals need shrubby habitat to find food, build nests and shelter from predators. Due to a long history of gold mining, timber cutting, grazing, and introduction of rabbits and weeds, many of our woodlands are missing these important prickly shrubs. We’ll work with you to develop a plan specific for your property and needs. As well as planting key understorey species to enhance existing native vegetation, actions can include watering, weed control, rabbit control and ongoing maintenance. We’ll also provide financial support and advice to implement the plan.

Requirements for eligibility:

  • Local property: Your property must be located within the Shire of Mount Alexander, Victoria.
  • An area of at least 3 ha of native vegetation: We need a project area of a minimum of three hectares containing some remnant vegetation, such as scattered eucalypt trees, or land that is in transition to native species after the removal of grazing. This project is not suited to revegetation of cleared paddocks.
  • Commitment to project management: Eligible landholders will receive a site visit, management advice and a property habitat management plan. We’ll also provide some financial support for on-ground actions such as planting, watering, pest control and maintenance. On-ground work will be overseen by the landholder, with the help of local contractors. You will manage any contractors on your property. However, we’ll be available to offer advice and help with any questions.


How to apply:

Please fill in the expression of interest form (link below) and email it to by Monday 19 February 2018. If you have any questions or would like to discuss, please call Bonnie at Connecting Country on 5472 1594.



A prickly new project: get involved with Prickly Plants for Wildlife

Posted on 25 January, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Trees are great, but small birds and marsupials need shrubby habitat to find food, build nests and shelter from predators. We’re very happy to announce that Connecting Country has obtained funding for a new project called Prickly Plants for Wildlife.

This project will supply eligible landholders with valuable understorey plants that will enhance existing native vegetation, and provide habitat for many small birds such as Diamond Firetails, Superb Fairy-wrens, Scarlet Robins and Brown Thornbills.

This charming nest was built by a pair of Mistletoebirds at Bonnie’s property, in a hedge wattle. The white fluff is from an old couch!

Prickly plant species include Bushy Needlewood (Hakea decurrens), Tree Violet (Melicytus dentatus), Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa), and acacias such as Hedge Wattle (Acacia paradoxa) and Spreading Wattle (Acacia genistifolia).  These plants are depleted or missing from our local area, and we would like to lend a helping hand to see these plants back in the landscape and on local properties.

Requirements for eligibility

  • Property with at least 3 ha of native vegetation: We need a project area of a minimum of three hectares containing some remnant vegetation, such as scattered eucalypt trees, or land that is in transition to native species after the removal of grazing. This project is not suited to revegetation of cleared paddocks.
  • Commitment to project management: Eligible landholders will receive a site visit, management advice and a property habitat management plan. We will also supply some financial support, and then it is over to you!  Planting, watering, pest control and maintenance will be carried out by the landholder, with the help of local contractors. You will be in charge of managing contractors on your property. Of course we will be on deck for any information or questions as needed.

How to apply

All interested landholders are encouraged to fill in the expression of interest form (link below) and email it to Or to find out more about your eligibility, call Bonnie at Connecting Country on 5472 1594. If your proposed project does not fit with the requirements for Prickly Plants for Wildlife project, we will keep you on file for future opportunities.


A Brown Thornbill in the safety of a prickly Hedge Wattle. Photo by Geoff Park

Expressions of interest close Monday 19 February 2018.


Caring for our Key Biodiversity Areas: new on ground works program

Posted on 1 November, 2017 by Tanya Loos

A Diamond Firetail, photo by Geoff Park

Connecting Country has been granted funding for a new on ground works project called ‘Caring for Key Biodiversity Areas in Central Victoria’. The special bird habitats of Clydesdale and Sandon are designated as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) by BirdLife International and BirdLife Australia. The trigger species for these areas are the Diamond Firetail, Swift Parrot and Flame Robin.

The project is funded by the Victorian Government – Community and Volunteer Action Grants. In a nutshell, the project has three main components:

  1. Care and protection of native vegetation on private land, including actions such as supplementary revegetation, weed control and rabbit control. These actions will help enhance habitat for the trigger species for the Diamond Firetail, Swift Parrot and Flame Robin.
  2. Creation and installation of two attractive interpretative signs at popular parts of the Key Biodiversity areas, such as Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, and Muckleford Nature Conservation Reserve.
  3. Two community events in 2018, such as a bird walk and sign launch!

The participating landholders have been contacted, and site visits will begin in early 2018.

Earlier this year, Connecting Country held a workshop in partnership with BirdLife Australia, to recruit bird survey volunteers known as ‘KBA guardians’ and provide training in how to complete an annual ‘Easter Heath Check’ form. You can read about that workshop here.

Diamond Firetails are declining in our region. Photo by Geoff Park

We are thrilled that this workshop generated the interest and the impetus for this grant.

There is also a very keen new group, coordinated by Friends of Muckleford Forest, which involves volunteers surveying 15 sites across the Muckleford KBA. These surveys are in preparation for the 2018 Easter Health Check. To read about Friends’ project, or volunteer,  see the Friends website here. 





  • Learn about Key Biodiversity Areas by visiting the BirdLife Australia website:



Remnant rescue for woodland birds – looking for eligible landholders

Posted on 3 August, 2017 by Tanya Loos

Connecting Country is currently seeking expressions of interest for on ground works on private land. In particular, we are looking for  landholders with remnant vegetation on their properties who are interested in undertaking actions that improve woodland bird habitat.

Thanks to our recently announced ‘Woodland bird community habitat protection and enhancement’ project, we have a small amount of funding available for the protection and enhancement of 60 ha of remnant vegetation. Building connections between bushland areas through direct seeding  and revegetation with tubestock is very important, but at the same time we need to care for our remnants; the core habitat.  This project will fund actions that protect bird habitat from threats such as stock grazing and weeds.

This male Scarlet Robin needs extensive areas of good quality habitat to thrive. Photo by Geoff Park

Eligible landholders will receive a site visit, and a subsequent plant list and property habitat management plan.  Activities funded will mainly focus on fencing for stock exclusion and weed control within these remnants.

Eligibility for funding from this project will be determined according to the following factors:

  • Size of your remnant vegetation patch
  • Property location
  • Presence of threatened woodland birds

Deadline for EOIs: 24th September, 2017.

All interested landholders in Mount Alexander Shire are welcome to fill an EOI form on our onground works page. If your proposed project does not fit with the requirements of our current projects, we will keep you on file for future opportunities.

This project was funded with the support of the Victorian Government’s Regional Biodiversity On-Ground Action Initiative.

Our resident plant enthusiast Bonnie Humphreys in a beautiful remnant patch in Yapeen


Threatened woodland birds get a bodyguard

Posted on 21 June, 2017 by Connecting Country

Threatened woodland bird populations in the Mount Alexander region are being better protected through a new collaborative Connecting Country project. Over three years, $300,000 from the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity On-Ground Action initiative will help to protect, enhance and increase critical bird habitat in Box-Ironbark Forests in the Mount Alexander area. This area is important because it provides core habitat for the Victorian Temperate Woodland Bird Community, which is listed under the Flora and Fauna Guaranteed Act and an indicator of the health of the landscape.

The Diamond Firetail is one of the threatened Woodland bird species to be targeted by the project.

Krista Patterson-Majoor, Connecting Country Director – Project Manager, explains; “Over recent years, we have seen a decline among most threatened species within this bird community. We are taking a team approach with this project and collaborating with Trust for Nature, Dja Dja Wurrung, North Central Catchment Management Authority, Parks Victoria, Landmate, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), local Landcare groups and private landholders to carry out a variety of environmental works to help protect the birds.”

Works funded will include having private land owners undertake weed control and fencing to protect remnant vegetation across 60 hectares. In exchange, the owners will set aside land for conservation for at least ten years, including stock grazing removal and pest control. This funded project aligns with our Woodland Bird Action plan which aims to stabilise and then increase the populations of local species by protecting and expanding their core habitat. Landholders who are interested in finding out more are encouraged to contact Connecting Country or fill out an  Expression-Of-Interest-Form-July-2017-Connecting-Country.

DELWP Program Manager, Biodiversity, Jill Fleming, said: “This community-led group has been working for more than 10 years to protect threatened woodland birds in the Mount Alexander region and it’s great to see them receive this funding that will help them, and all the partners, to continue this important work.” DELWP’s involvement will help to broaden the scope of the project and ensure works carried out on private land will be complemented by similar activities on 80 hectares of surrounding public land that has been strategically aligned with private landholders and woodland bird priority zones. “By controlling the weeds and removing stock grazing, we discourage non-native birds, who may displace the native ones, from using the same habitat,” Ms Fleming said.

Twenty-six large scale, multi-partner regional partnership projects totalling $7.7 million have been funded through the Regional Biodiversity On-Ground Action initiative to address major risks to threatened species and ecosystems across the state. These projects will be delivered through regional partnerships between agencies, organisations, community, landholders and traditional owners. The list of projects is available at: 

Box Ironbark East Biodiversity Hub Steering Group Members (from left) – Chris Timewell (CC), Jill Fleming (DELWP), Matt Menhennet (Landmate), Tanya Loos (CC), Steve Comte (Landmate) Deanna Marshall (TFN), Krista Patterson-Majoor (CC) Bonnie Humphreys (CC), Britt Gregory (NCCMA), Kirsten Hutchinson (TFN) and Noel Muller (PV) – at our inaugural meeting in Castlemaine. Absent are Rodney Carter (DDW), Steve Jackson (DDW) and Adrian Martins (NCCMA).


NCCMA Community Grants Open Now

Posted on 23 May, 2017 by Asha

Applications for the 2017-18 North Central Community Grants Program are now open. Three types of grants are available:

  •  Maintenance (up to $500/group or network) and start-up grants (up to $500/group or $1,000/network)
  • Project grants of up to $10,000 are available for individuals and Landcare or community based NRM groups, and
  • Landcare networks are eligible for grants of up to $15,000.

Online applications are to be submitted before 5pm Friday 23 June 2017 via Application forms, guidelines and the online survey link are available under the Landcare Grants tab at . The mandatory ‘Supporting Landcare in North Central Victoria survey’ that you need to fill out in order to apply has been extensively revised.

NCCMA will prioritise projects that improve the natural resource base of agricultural landscapes and encourage projects with a focus on improving soil health, innovative agricultural techniques and practices such as trialling pasture species under variable seasonal conditions, and activities that increase community awareness and engagement such as workshops to up-skilling volunteers and field days. To be successful, groups need to read the guidelines, map their proposed project activities and know their projects really well. Clarity of purpose is vital, as is a clear direction and focus, of both the project and the community.


May 2017 North Central Chat plus grant information

Posted on 11 May, 2017 by Connecting Country

Please click here for the May 2017 edition of the North Central Chat. This Month features a large Waterwatch feature and the details for the North Central CMA’s 2017-18 Community Grant round, which open  Monday May 15th, for six weeks, until June 23. There is a lot happening in regard to grant opportunities for Landcare groups, networks and individuals which is also included in the Chat, as well as some more recent ones below that couldn’t fit in, please see below. 

The Threatened Species Recovery Fund was launched last Friday 5 May. For the next six weeks individuals and groups can apply for funding between $20k and $250 for projects supporting threatened species. More info at:

Birdlife Australia ABEF Community Grants (5K)

M Middleton fund for endangered native vertebrates (up to 15K)


April 2017 edition North Central Chat plus Landcare Grants and Report Card

Posted on 19 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

CLICK HERE to view the April 2017 edition of the North Central Chat. This month’s edition features information, Landcare stories and upcoming events.

Landcare Australia’s Sustainable Agriculture Grants 2017 have recently opened. All the information can be found at:

To see our region’s Landcare report card 2015-16 from Tess Grieves, our Regional Landcare Coordinator, CLICK HERE.


Now open: Biodiversity On-ground Action – Community & Volunteer Action Grants

Posted on 6 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

Grant applications are now open for the Biodiversity On-ground Action – Community & Volunteer Action Grants.

The Community & Volunteer Action grants:

  • are offering funding for projects between $5,000 and $50,000,
  • include the option of single or multi-year projects, and
  • have a broad biodiversity focus.

Funding of up to $1 million is available for these grants in 2017.

Who can apply: Community groups/networks and not-for-profit organisations primarily focused on environmental projects such as biodiversity conservation or habitat protection and restoration projects.

Grants close: midnight 10 May 2017

Further information:


CC behind the scenes and grant success!

Posted on 23 February, 2017 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country has recently been successful with three grants enabling us to continue our education program into 2018, review our Woodland Bird Action plan, and provide increased support and botany training to local Landcare groups. These opportunities are thanks to wonderful support from the Norman Wettenhall Foundation and the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA).  In addition, we have been working closely with the state government, NCCMA, Dja Dja Wurrung, and Parks Victoria to develop a woodland bird conservation project for the Box Ironbark East biodiversity hub. If successful, Connecting Country will be the lead organisation for this exciting project which will include activities to reduce threats on both public and private land. Our fingers are crossed!

Attendees at the 2014 Community Education Program learning about soils. With funding from the Norman Wettenhall Foundation we can continue to educate and engage our local community.

Funding from the  Norman Wettenhall Foundation’s Small Environmental Grants Scheme will allow Connecting Country to continue to provide our popular community engagement program that includes:

  • educational events about biodiversity conservation in an agricultural landscape,
  • monthly Nature News articles in the Midland Express,
  • provision of on-line educational resources and blog posts, and
  • partnerships with other organisations and agencies to implement additional educational events.

A huge thank-you to the Norman Wettenhall Foundation for their on-going support. We are so pleased to continue delivering useful information and events to our local community.

Last week, Connecting Country staff and some of our treasured volunteers attended a session facilitated by Geoff Park and Anna Roberts from Natural Decisions. This workshop gave us the opportunity to incorporate local information and knowledge into an update of our Woodland Bird INFFER assessment and Action Plan.  This project enables us to utilise expert advice, our monitoring data and experience from completed on-ground projects in this planning process.  Funding for the update was provided through the North Central Catchment Management Authority Contingency Fund and means Connecting Country and project partners will be ‘project ready’ for potential future funding.

Asha will be helping groups to increase their knowledge and capabilities with funding from the NCCMA.

Finally, Asha Bannon, our Landcare Facilitator, is getting ready to roll out the “Landcare Adapting to Change” project which is funded through the NCCMA’s Landcare Network Grant. Asha and Bonnie Humphreys, Connecting Country’s botanist, will be working closely together to build the capacity, knowledge and skills of our local groups.  The project has two main objectives:

  1. To assist groups with plant identification skills, establishing local weed priorities, future project development, mapping, and determining appropriate species lists for planting.
  2. To increase the knowledge and capability of groups to address landscape management issues associated with cultural heritage, climate change, land use changes, and the increasing threats of weeds and pest animal species.

Thanks to the North Central Catchment Management Authority for their ongoing support for Connecting Country for these two projects. We are looking forward to continuing to work with the local community to improve the natural environment in the Mount Alexander Region.


2017 Mount Alexander Shire Council Community Grants Program- Now Open!

Posted on 18 January, 2017 by Connecting Country

The Mount Alexander Shire Council Community Grants Program provides support to local community-based projects and initiatives that align with Council’s goals and priorities. The council has notified us that the current round of funding is open for applications from 16th January 2017 and closes at 4.00 pm on 17th February 2017. These grants through council can be a great assistance to community groups  in our area.

Information sessions are being held to give groups an opportunity to discuss their applications with Council representatives:
– Tuesday 31 January 2017, 10.00am – 11.00am, Maldon Neighbourhood Centre
– Tuesday 31 January 2017, 4.30pm – 5.30pm, Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine
– Wednesday 1 February 2017, 10.00am – 11.00am, Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine

Online applications can be made for the council grants via SmartyGrants once the funding round opens.

Download the Program Guidelines.

Council has also let us know that a Microsoft Word version of the application form is available for those unable to complete the application online.

For more information about the Community Grants Program, or for a Word version of the form, please call council on 5471 1744 or email



Last chance for direct seeding through Connecting Landscapes

Posted on 29 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

Direct seeding success at a property in Taradale

Direct seeding success at a property in Taradale

For the past five years Connecting Country has been incredibly fortunate to be running our Connecting Landscapes Across the Mount Alexander Region program. Funded through the Federal Government, it has allowed us to support 75 landholders  undertake revegetation across 357 ha and the control of weeds and rabbits across an additional 1,349 hectares, plus additional bushland enhancement measures such as protective fencing and grazing change within all areas.  We’ve also coordinated dozens of education events and continued our biodiversity monitoring surveys for birds and phascogales.  Now is your last chance to get involved with the on-ground works aspect of this fabulous program. To meet our targets, we are looking for one or two new properties to undertake revegetation projects of at least 5 hectares (12 acres).

These subsidized revegetation projects would be organised and implemented by Connecting Country and its works crew. The plants used would comprise locally occurring wattles, eucalypts and other understory species. Using a process called direct seeding, they are planted as seed with our specialised equipment. We encourage all expressions of interest from landholders within the target area (see map below). If we cannot help you this year or through this program, we will keep your details on a database in case of future opportunities.

Bonnie explains how direct seeding works

Bonnie explaining how direct seeding works to landholders.

Contact us now to get involved! Alternatively, talk to your neighbours if you think they might benefit. To find out more about our on-ground works process and to access an expression of interest form, CLICK HERE.  For more information contact Jarrod or Bonnie on 5472 1594 or email

Landholders who have already undertaken projects can expect Jarrod and Bonnie to be undertaking some follow up visits in the coming months to see how things are going.

‘Connecting Landscapes’ is just one of several, although the largest, projects that Connecting Country currently runs. While this particular program finishes up mid next year, our other programs such as hosting Asha (our landcare facilitator) and stewards for woodland birds will continue and there are many other exciting opportunities in the pipeline.

We are currently in the process of considering the future direction of Connecting Country and we encourage you to attend our AGM to help us explore the possibilities. Click here to find out more about the AGM. We are also currently running an on-line survey at the moment and would appreciate your input, click here to complete our on-line survey.

The target area for Connecting Landscapes.

The target area for our Connecting Landscapes revegetation program is shown in blue.