Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

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.


Grants for gorse

Posted on 22 June, 2016 by Connecting Country


Need some help to remove gorse?

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) with the support of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources is seeking project proposals from community-based organisations. In 2016/2017 the VGT will consider projects under a Small Grants Program, up to $5,000 (GST exclusive).

The VGT will consider funding projects that can demonstrate delivery of the goals of the Victorian Gorse Control Strategy 2014-2019 and a community-led commitment to long term gorse control.

CLICK HERE to view application form and CLICK HERE for the guidelines/eligibility to apply.

Applications open Monday 20 June 2016
Applications close Friday 12 August 2016


Two Grant Opportunities for Sustainable Ag and Volunteers Due Soon!

Posted on 30 November, 2015 by Connecting Country

There are two grant opportunities currently available which are due in the next week – so you need to act now if you are interested.

Sustainable Agriculture Small Grants Round 2015-16

This new grant programme has been announced by the Australian Government called ‘Sustainable Agriculture Small Grants Round 2015-16’.  Grants of between $5,500 and $55,000 (GST inclusive) are available.

The programme objective are:

  1. To increase the capacity and knowledge of farmers and fishers to productively and sustainably manage Australia’s natural resources.
  2. The adoption of appropriate management practices that will increase the production or improve product quality while maintaining or enhancing the natural resource base.

A range of activities may be eligible, including:

  • field days workshops, conferences
  • demonstration events or workshops
  • training or skill development sessions
  • community information or education sessions
  • development of decision-making tools
  • development of new information channels within the current knowledge system
  • conducting surveys.

Being a new programme, it is particularly important to have a good read of the guidelines and FAQ’s. Click here for the application, guidelines, and FAQ’s.

Applications close 2.00pm, Monday 7 December 2015

Strengthening Communities – Volunteer Grants 2015

The Australian Government is inviting organisations to apply for Volunteer Grants through an open process under the Strengthening Communities – Volunteering sub-activity. Funding is expected to be offered to around 5,700 organisations as a result of this process, with grants to be paid by 30 June 2016.

Volunteer Grants enable community organisations to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to purchase small equipment items to assist their volunteers, assist with the reimbursement of fuel costs incurred by volunteers (and transport costs for volunteers with disability who are unable to drive), and contribute towards the cost of training courses and background screening checks for volunteers.

Click here for more information and to download an application form.

Applications close at 2:00pm, Wednesday 9 December 2015  


Volunteer Grants 2015 are OPEN

Posted on 18 November, 2015 by Connecting Country

The Australian Government is inviting organisations to apply for Volunteer Grants through an open process under the Strengthening Communities – Volunteering sub-activity. Funding is expected to be offered to around 5,700 organisations as a result of this process, with grants to be paid by 30 June 2016.

Volunteer Grants enable community organisations to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to purchase small equipment items to assist their volunteers, assist with the reimbursement of fuel costs incurred by volunteers (and transport costs for volunteers with disability who are unable to drive), and contribute towards the cost of training courses and background screening checks for volunteers.

Click here for more information and to download an application form.

Applications close at 2:00pm, Wednesday 9 December 2015  


Spring brings new opportunities with Connecting Country

Posted on 14 September, 2015 by Connecting Country

As winter comes to an end, so does the planting season for revegetation.

Jarrod Coote out checking the growth of one of our direct seeding sites.

Jarrod Coote checking the growth at one of our direct seeding sites.

It’s been a busy few months for the Connecting Country team, who have been planting and direct seeding indigenous species on private lands around the Mount Alexander Shire. Our work aims to creating better links for wildlife movement between the existing important habitat areas.

This year brought a new team of crew members – Lauren, Ned and Jason. The crew, which turns over each year in order to make the opportunity available to as many local people as possible, have been focused on planting, weed and rabbit control and the installation of protective fencing – while also receiving formal and in-house training in a range of natural resource management techniques.

‘Often the diversity is there in the landscape ready and waiting – we just need to give the seeds a chance. Fenced off land allows not only the trees to establish and grow, but also those bushes and ground herbs and grasses that are such important wildlife habitat’ says Alex Schipperen, team leader of the works crew.

‘The beauty of this program is that we have funding available to partner with landholders and create habitat solutions that suit the landholder, and have great outcomes for biodiversity. Bringing areas of native vegetation onto a property also increases productivity by providing shade and shelter for stock, and increased protection for crops, so it’s a win-win situation.’

With the winter rush over, the team are now starting to plan the next round of projects. Land owners across the region who would like to see if their property is well placed to become part of these projects are encouraged to get in touch with Jarrod, Bonnie or Mel at the Connecting Country office on 5472 1594 or send an email to .

This project has been supported by Connecting Country, through funding from the Australian Government.


Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants

Posted on 27 August, 2014 by Connecting Country

Each year Mount Alexander Shire Council allocates funding to support a range of local community-based projects and initiatives through the Strengthening Our Community Grants Scheme. The funding round for the 2014-2015 financial year opened on 22 August 2014, with applications closing on Friday 26 September 2014 at 4pm.

There is a Sustainability & Natural Environment category as part of the grants scheme. In this category there are grants up to $3000. Applicants are asked to address one or more of the following themes:

  • Climate change, greenhouse & energy
  • Land & biodiversity
  • Urban development, planning & sustainable transport
  • Waste & resource efficiency
  • Water

The Council’s Environment Strategy Action Plan (4.6MB download) sets out specific objectives against the above themes.

More information and the application form can be found on the MAS website.


Shire’s Community Grants Scheme Open Now

Posted on 13 September, 2013 by Connecting Country

The Mount Alexander Shire Council recently announced the opening of its 2013 Community Grants Scheme. The round closes on Friday 11 October 2013.

Grants of $500 to $3,000 are available in the category of Sustainability and Natural Environment.

The stated aim of the Sustainability and Natural Environment community grant component is to assist the community to implement the Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Environment Strategy 2010-2014  (available HERE) – so it is well worth taking a look at this document before you apply.

These grants are particularly well suited to Landcare and Friends groups working in the Mount Alexander Shire, whose projects normally align directly with the ‘Land & Biodiversity’ objectives of the Shire’s Environment Strategy (Pages 12 & 22).

Application forms and guidelines for the grants can be found at the Shire’s website – Click Here. Public information sessions about the grants will be held in Castlemaine and Maldon on the 11th and 12th September – see the Council’s website for times and locations.

For more information contact Glenn Menner, Manager Community Development on 5471 1818

The Tip Buffer Zone area in Campbells Creek benefited from the last Community Grant round.
The Tip Buffer Zone area in Campbells Creek benefited from the last Community Grant round.


2013-14 Grants under GVESHO now open

Posted on 6 June, 2013 by Connecting Country

The federal government has just announced that applications for 2013-14 grants under the Grants to Voluntary Environment, Sustainability and Heritage Organisations (GVESHO) program are now open. These grants provide ‘funds to help eligible community–based, not-for-profit organisations to value, conserve and protect Australia’s natural environment and historic heritage and to promote sustainability by assisting with their administrative costs’.

Guidelines and an online Application Form are available at the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities’ website.   Grant applications close on Thursday 20 June at 5pm.


Community Environment Grants Now Available

Posted on 15 April, 2013 by Connecting Country

Community Environment Grants of between $5000 and $50 000 are now available from the Australian Government to community groups working to achieve an environment that is healthier, better protected, well managed and resilient.

Funding is available to established and emerging groups currently operating in the environmental sector, including Indigenous organisations.  Continue Reading »


‘Communities for Nature’ Small Grants Now Open

Posted on 14 November, 2012 by Connecting Country

A Small Grants round of the DSE Communities for Nature programme opened on Saturday 10th November. It will close on Wednesday 19th December. Grants are up to $10,000.

Guidelines and the application form are available on the DSE website.




Applications Now Open for Strengthening Our Community Grants

Posted on 6 September, 2012 by Connecting Country

Applications for the  Strengthening Our Community Grants Scheme for 2012–2013 were opened by the Mount Alexander Shire on the 29 August 2012. Applications close 12 October 2012.

Application forms and Guidelines are available from:

Information Sessions will be held at the following locations and times:

  • Maldon Neighbourhood Centre, at the corner Edward and Church Streets,  11 September 2012, 12noon – 1pm
  • Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park Castlemaine, 13 September 2012, 1pm – 2pm
  • Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park Castlemaine, 13 September 2012, 6.30pm – 7.30p

The following information relates to the Sustainability and Natural Environment Category of the Grants scheme.Aim
To support the implementation of Council’s Environment Strategy 2010-2014 thereby improving the sustainability and resilience of the natural and built environments of the Mount Alexander Shire.

Council’s Environment Strategy contains 44 objectives under the themes of:

  • Climate change, greenhouse and energy
  • Land and biodiversity
  • Urban development, planning and sustainable transport
  • Waste and resource efficiency
  • Water

Proposals for funding under this category should identify which theme the project will address. Applications demonstrating relevance to a particular objective or particular objectives, particularly how the project will assist Council implement an objective or objectives, will be highly favoured. The Environment Strategy is available from

Grant requests made under the Sustainability and Natural Environment category may range from $500 to $3000 (total amount $40,500). Only in exceptional circumstances will grant requests exceeding these amounts be approved.



2012-13 Community Action Grants

Posted on 1 March, 2012 by Connecting Country

The Australian Government is seeking applications for 2012-13 Community Action Grants from local community groups to help them take action to conserve and protect their local environment.

As part of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative, Community Action Grants recognise the contribution that community groups make to the Caring for our Country priority areas of:

  • Coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats
  • Sustainable farm practices, or
  • Biodiversity and natural icons.

As in previous rounds, local community, farming and Indigenous groups can apply for a grant between $5,000 and $20,000 (GST exclusive) to fund projects that encourage active participation and build the skills and knowledge of the community to protect and restore our environment and natural resources. Projects may include hosting a local field day, developing natural resource management plans, educating land owners in sustainable agriculture techniques and on-ground works.

Community Action Grant applications are subject to a competitive assessment process. Applications will be assessed based on alignment to Caring for our Country priorities, community engagement, project feasibility and value for money. All successful applicants must finish their project by 30 June 2013.

Applications close at 5pm (AEDT), on Tuesday 27 March 2012.

For more information on eligibility and to submit a Community Action Grants application, visit the Caring for our Country website ( or telephone 1800 552 008.


12 February – Golden Point Landcare Seed Collection Workshop

Posted on 8 February, 2012 by Connecting Country

Golden Point Landcare will be running a seed collection, weed identification and control and revegetation workshop at the PSC property (the one with the A-frame), corner Golden Point Road and Commissioner’s Gully Road on 12 February from 10am to 12noon. This property is one of three participating in the Golden Point Landcare Private Land Weed Control Project 2011 through Victorian Landcare Grants and the North Central Catchment Management Authority, and because of its proximity to Commissioner’s Gully Road, offers an opportunity for continued observation of a work in progress.

Ian O’Halloran and Fritz Hammersley will be discussing seed collection, storage and germination for the home revegetator. They will be looking at weeds and identifying the usual and unusual suspects, focusing on effective strategies for control of different types of weeds on a short and long term basis.

Finally, there will be an opportunity to look at the progress of the works on the property and discuss revegetation and long-term weed control options with a focus on the site’s unique requirements. This will include a brief look at the site’s soil, topography, vegetation distribution and history.

The workshop will conclude with a Q/A session and a late morning tea in the log cabin, kindly made available by Julie Moss, the proprietor of the property.

As some of the walk will be adjacent to dead, brittle gorse and blackberry, suitable clothing and footwear are recommended. Parking is available on Golden Point Road.

For more information contact Fritz Hammersley on 5472 1089.


Update on Communities for Nature Grants Program

Posted on 15 December, 2011 by Connecting Country

The Communities for Nature grants program has an additional option for users submitting online applications.

Applications may be submitted in two ways:

Complete the online application form (preferred method) at the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) website. Please note you will need to download the supporting information form, complete it, and attach it to your online application


Complete the word version application form and supporting information form and email them to Attach all documents to one email, zipping the files if required.

Applicants should visit this website for the most up to date information (including the word version application form) or call the Grants Information Line on 1300 366 356. There is also information about these grants here on the Connecting Country site.

Please note that applications close on 19 December 2011.


Communities for Nature Grants Now Open

Posted on 23 October, 2011 by Connecting Country

The Communities for Nature grants program was launched by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) on Sunday Oct 9. The program is aimed at community organisations wanting to undertake practical on ground local environmental projects. The grants are open to almost any type of community organisation, not just environmental groups.

Applications are now open for a $20 million Communities for Nature grants program. The program will run for four years, with $4 million available in 2011.

Communities for Nature grants are for local community groups and organisations looking to improve their natural environment and conserve local biodiversity values. Activities that will be funded include biodiversity and habitat preservation, revegetation, cleaning up of waterways and control of pests and weeds.

This year, two streams of funding are being offered; small grants of up to $10,000 and large grants for $10,000 to $150,000.

Applications close on Monday 19 December 2011.

DSE is implementing this Victorian Government program. For more information on the assessment criteria and application process, visit their website or contact the Grants Information Line on 1300 366 356.

Peter Johnson is the contact for the DSE North West region. He is available to assist applicants with the technical feasibility of their projects.


Bjarne K Dahl Trusts Small Grants Program

The Bjarne K Dahl Trusts Small Grants Program is currently calling for applications for up to $15,000. The grants program is focussed on the protection and enhancement of eucalypts.  More information about these grants can be found here.


Bjarne K Dahl Trust Grants Now Open

Posted on 18 October, 2011 by Connecting Country

The Bjarne K Dahl Trust Small Grants Program is currently calling for applications up to $15,000. The principal purpose of this program is the protection and enhancement of eucalypts as a significant aspect of the natural environment and the provision of information or education about eucalypts.

Through small grants, the Trust will provide support to the community for the undertaking of eucalyptus education, promotion, cultivation, establishment and conservation.

Grants are capped at $15,000 and are generally made for up to a 12-month period – timeframes may be flexible depending on grant seeker’s needs and the approval of the Board of Managing Trustees. Applications close 4 November 2011.

Further information can be found on their website or by contacting 03 8648 6510.


25th Anniversary Landcare Grants

Posted on 9 September, 2011 by Connecting Country

Community groups in North Central Victoria interested in enhancing or protecting the natural environment have until Monday 10 October to apply for funding courtesy of the Victorian Government’s 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants.

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Landcare, the Victorian Government has announced $60,000 of funding to assist local community groups.  The grants of $1,000 – $5,000 (ex GST) are for groups to hold events and undertake on-ground activities that will benefit the health of the region’s land, water and biodiversity – a mandatory component of the funding.

Attached are the guidelines and the application form. For further information, contact Jodie Odgers, Regional Landcare Coordinator, on (03) 5440 1883.


Mount Alexander Community Grants Scheme 2011-2012

Posted on 31 August, 2011 by Connecting Country

The Mount Alexander Shire Council has announced the Mount Alexander Community Grants Scheme funding round for 2011-2012. It opens on 29 August and applications will close on 7 October 2011.

The grants scheme supports not-for-profit community organisations in the provision of facilities, programs and services that enhance quality of life and create a sustainable future for residents and visitors to the Mount Alexander Shire.  Copies of the 2011-2012 Community Grants guidelines and application form can be obtained from Council offices at 25 Lyttleton Street or 9 Halford Street Castlemaine, or on Council’s website and search for Community Grants.

There will be a series of information sessions on the following dates and locations.

  • Thursday 8 September 2011, 1pm, Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park, Castlemaine
  • Thursday 15 September 2011, 1pm, Maldon Neighbourhood Centre, Church Street, Maldon
  • Thursday 15 September 2011, 6.30pm, Ray Bradfield Room, Victory Park, Castlemaine

For more information contact Kate Clifford on 5471 1744 or email