Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine – Summer edition

Posted on 27 February, 2017 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country would like to share Issue 68 of the Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management Magazine, which features way of connecting nature and community. There are useful articles on crowdfunding, blogging for nature, and holding farm and nature walks.

To read this issue of the magazine go to the Victorian Landcare Gateway:


Local Landcare on the Radio

Posted on 16 February, 2017 by Asha

Over the next couple of months some of our valiant local Friends and Landcarers will be guests on 94.9 MainFM’s Hear Say radio program (see schedule below). Tune in between 9:30am and 11:00am on Tuesday mornings to hear their stories. You can also CLICK HERE to visit the MainFM website where you can listen live.

Date Name Group
Tue 28th February Karl Just Castlemaine Landcare
Tue 14th March Bev Phillips Maldon Urban Landcare Group (MULGA)
Tue 28th March Lee Mead Tarrengower Cactus Control Group
Tue 11th April Daryl Colless Barkers Creek Landcare & Wildlife Group
Tue 26th April Greg Waddell Castlemaine Landcare


FTLA Newsletter – October 2016

Posted on 13 October, 2016 by Asha

Susi Johnson from the Farm Tree and Landcare Association (FTLA) recently sent us an email with updates on membership and insurance renewals, as well as information on upcoming events, activities and grant opportunities.  We’ve turned her email into a PDF for our members and Landcare groups who are interested in having a read (CLICK HERE).


October 2016 edition North Central Chat

Posted on 12 October, 2016 by Connecting Country

untitledOur Regional Landcare Coordinator, Tess Grieves sent through a link to the October 2016 edition of the North Central Chat to share. Inside you’ll find plenty of great news stories and courses coming up which may be of interest. CLICK HERE to view the newsletter.

Also see the 30 years of Landcare celebration event invitation HERE for those of you that may not have a copy yet. If you’re joining in the celebrations, please get your RSVP’s in to the North Central CMA: or call (03) 5448 7124


Little Habitat Heroes – proudly supported by Connecting Country

Posted on 11 October, 2016 by Connecting Country

Version 5Connecting Country are very proud to be supporting the Little Habitat Heroes project. The plan is to regenerate a 10 hectare site of the East side of Leanganook (Mt Alexander). The invitation is open for all interested children to participate in the campaign and become ‘little habitat heroes’. By mid-November 2016 they hope to raise enough funds to order seedlings that will propagate in time for a planting day in winter 2017

This project was born by a group of new mums who met at a Mothers Group in Castlemaine in early 2016. They shared an dream to create something unique for their babies’ first birthdays and wanted to contribute to the restoration of the local environment and give their children the gift of a personal connection with nature.

Visit:, or their facebook page or donate via Give Now.

The inspiring mums at Little Habitat Heroes are also working with local artists, Harcourt Landcare Group and Parks Victoria to make this great community project happen for our future nature lovers.


Mount Alexander Schools Landcare Days 2016

Posted on 28 September, 2016 by Asha

There were students as far as the eye could see; sorting through macro invertebrates, feeling the soil, looking for birds and building nests. Over three Tuesdays in September 2016, close to 380 Grade 5/6 students from 15 primary schools in the Mount Alexander region attended Connecting Country’s Schools Landcare Days. The idea developed at a Landcare Link-up last year, as a way to engage kids and their families with the environment around them. As all the locals know, we’ve had an amazing amount of wet weather lately, which meant that two out of three of our Schools Landcare Days were held at the Harcourt Leisure Centre, and one at Vaughan Springs on a rare sunny day.


Students learning about different soil types with Brendan Smith

The activities each day were designed to teach students about natural processes and cultural heritage, and to encourage them to think of ways they can apply this knowledge to look after their local area. The wonderful Patrick Wilson from Doxa Youth Camp in Malmsbury came to all of the days, and maintained an infectious energy for aquatic ecosystems and macro invertebrates. Brendan Smith from Parks Victora had students laughing and getting their hands dirty while he talked about the importance of soil structure and health. They also transferred some young grasses into trays for planting out later, which for some students meant ducking out of the warm Leisure Centre and braving the icy wind outside!

On August 30th Jida Gulbil kindly came along and discussed Dja Dja Wurrung culture with students, helped by his beautiful didgeridoo (or, as Jida joked, his “telescope to see the stars”). That day we were also treated to an activity run by students from Chewton Primary School. Supported by Naomi Raftery, Marie Jones, and Julie Holden; Jet, Scout, Max, Amara and Emma ran an activity looking at food webs and thinking about what happens if you take elements out of a food web.


Looking for aquatic macro invertebrates with Patrick Wilson

Our second Schools Landcare Day was held at Vaughan Springs, so Krista Patterson-Majoor was able to take students for a walk in the bush to learn about our local ecosystems and what has influenced the landscape we see today. Colin Lyons from Parks Victoria joined Krista to give his insights into the heritage aspects of the area. Meanwhile, Cathy McCallum and Graeme Harris from Baringhup Landcare were helping students to find and identify some mysterious bird cut-outs that were hidden in some very tricky places. In a quiet spot down the track, Asha Bannon and students were talking about Landcare and drawing soundscapes of what could be heard around them, which included lots of birds, lots of water, and lots of people!

On the last day, we had Aunty Julie and her students from Castlemaine Secondary College: Shakira, Grace, Cohen, Zeppelin, and Bailey. With help from the secondary students, the Grade 5/6s tried to match cards with seasonal events (e.g. “Wedge-tailed Eagles are breeding”) to the correct Dja Dja Wurrung season. This proved to be quite a challenge, but a great way to get everyone thinking. At the end of the day, all of the students had a nest to take home built at Nicole Howie’s birds nest activity. As Nicole said, it’s hard enough to make a nest with your hands, imagine how difficult it must be to make one with your beak while on the look out for predators.

A huge thank you to all of the amazing presenters who came along and gave it their all. The feedback from schools on the activities has all been extremely positive, and it was easy to see how engaged the students were with what they were learning. Thank you also to the teachers for being so supportive, the students for your patience and interest, and the Landcare members who came along to chat with schools and join in. Finally, we thank Nicole Howie for her hard work putting the days together.

The Mount Alexander School Landcare Days were made possible with funding from the North Central Catchment Management Authority Community Grants Program.


50 Years with Kaweka

Posted on 28 September, 2016 by Asha

The Friends of Kaweka Sanctuary invite you to an afternoon tea to celebrate our 50 years with Kaweka.

Kaweka Sanctuary was donated to the people of Castlemaine and in 1966 a public meeting formed a community management group. Come and help celebrate this milestone anniversary. All welcome!

When: Sunday 2nd October 2016, 2pm

Where: Corner of Hargraves and Turner Streets, Castlemaine

RSVP: For catering purposes, please contact Secretary Lyndell Green:
Email: or Phone: 0448 190 444



Saturday 15 Oct 2016 – 30th Anniversary of Landcare Celebration event

Posted on 26 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

invite-image2The North Central CMA Landcare team have asked Connecting Country to extend an invitation to our supporters and local Landcare group members to the ‘30th Anniversary of Landcare Celebration event’ on Saturday October 15 2016 in St Arnaud.

Please find the  event details and RSVP information on the invite here. A hardcopy invitation is also on its way in the mail to each Landcare group contact.



Sunday 25 Sept 2016 – Final three Landcare Open Day events

Posted on 21 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

As part of Connecting Country’s Landcare Open Day several local Landcare and Friends groups are hosting public events. Here are the details of this weekend’s events to be held on Sunday the 25th September 2016, in Harcourt, Maldon, and Castlemaine.

Barkers Creek Landcare & Wildlife Group and Harcourt Valley Landcare Group

WHEN: Sunday 25th September, 9:30am-1pm
WHERE: Flora Reserve in Harcourt (off Binghams Rd behind the Harcourt recreational reserve)
DESCRIPTION: A flora walk followed by BBQ lunch

Barkers Creek landcare article -tomorrow

Barkers Creek Landcare Group after a working bee.

Tarrengower Cactus Control Group

cactus july2010 014

Come and help get rid of cactus in the Maldon area on Sunday.

WHERE: Opposite Chapel’s winery on Seers Road, Welshman’s Reef. Follow the signs from the Maldon-Newstead Road.
WHEN: Sunday 25th September, 10:30 am – lunchtime
DESCRIPTION: Tarrangower Cactus Control Group will demonstrate the most effective ways to control Wheel Cactus. They’ll provide all the equipment and protective gear required, so just come along dressed in warm clothing and sturdy footwear and gets some hands-on experience at being a ‘cactus warrior’. The morning will start at 10:30am and finish with a delicious and friendly BBQ lunch. More information: 

 Castlemaine Landcare

WHERE: Park on Montgomery St.
WHEN: Sunday 25 September, 10am with morning tea at 11.30am.
DESCRIPTION: Castkemaine Landcare have an exciting plan – do some weeding in the Montgomery St grasslands (see map below).  There are some unique plants there, but also plenty of weeds that shouldn’t be there. We have chosen this site as it is well above creek level, so even if there is some rain it should be OK working conditions. Bring weeding tools, mattocks, brush cutters, gum boots and gloves.

See Castlemaine Landcare’s website (CLICK HERE) or Facebook page (CLICK HERE) for more details.



Sunday 25 Sept 2016 – Cactus control working bee near Maldon

Posted on 21 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

Assistance for Landcare groups.

Instruction on how to control wheel cactus will be followed up with practical experience on the ground.

Tony Kane from the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group has asked Connecting Country to spread the word that their next Cactus Field Day will be held on Sunday 25th September 2016.  This event is also part of our Landcare Open Day program.

The location is opposite Chapel’s winery on Seers Road, Welshman’s Reef.  Follow the signs from the Maldon-Newstead Road.

As per usual, the start is at 10.30 am, followed by a free community barbeque at 12.30pm.

Our Federal Member of Parliament, Lisa Chesters, has emailed to say that she will be coming along to help out. Lisa opened their 2014 cactus season and since then has taken a keen interest in the group.


Sunday 18th September 2016 – Muckleford Landcare Open Day event

Posted on 12 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

As part of Connecting Country’s Landcare Open Day several local Landcare and Friends groups are hosting public events. Here are the details of this weekend’s event to be held this Sunday the 18th September 2016, in Muckleford.

Muckleford Catchment Landcare


A bundle of fun, sweet sugar gliders at home in their nestbox.

WHERE: starting at the Muckleford Community Centre, then onto Walmer Conservation Reserve

WHEN: Sunday 18th September, 10am -12.30pm

DESCRIPTION: Muckleford Landcare is happy to invite you to attend a “Public Reserves Bus Tour and Field Day” on Sunday 18th September. There are a number of ‘mysterious’ and interesting parcels of public land in Muckleford that are termed public reserves – some are hidden away and this short bus tour will allow participants to find out about their story. The tour will end up at the Walmer Conservation Reserve at midday where we will work with local fauna expert expert, Miles Geldard, to check the wildlife nest boxes.

A free BBQ lunch is provided. Please RSVP to or text 0431 219 980.

A Connecting Country nest box in the field

A Connecting Country nest box in the field



Farewell and HUGE thanks to the Green Army Team

Posted on 12 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

We recently said ‘good bye’ to our first Green Army team of 2016. During their six months, the team worked on projects for ten Landcare groups, including doing weed control, track maintenance, and planting. You can now see signs of their fantastic work all over the region.

The team asked Asha to pass on their thanks to all the Landcare members who took time to encourage them and assure them that their efforts will make a huge difference to the landscape and the community. Team member, Rachel, expressed that they have learned a lot during the six months, and that their time on the team has helped her career move forward. Most of the team will still be working locally, so keep an eye out for their friendly faces.

We had a short but sweet morning tea to see the team off and wish them well into the future. Thanks to all of the Landcare members who have worked alongside the team in the last six months. A big thank you to Liam, Mitch, Paige, Kirra, James, Rachel, Melissa, Josh, Cindy, and Peter for all your hard work.



Sunday 11th September 2016 – Three Landcare Open Day events

Posted on 7 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

Landcare 270

Join in on the fun at one of this weekends Landcare Open Days held across the shire.

Over the next few weekends in September, several local Landcare and Friends groups will be holding public events as part of Connecting Country’s Landcare Open Day. Here are the details of three events to be held this Sunday the 11th September 2016, in Sutton Grange, Chewton, and Maldon .

While everyone is always welcome to attend the regular working bees run by their local groups, these events will be specifically suitable for families and people new to Landcare. For further details on all events, including those to be held the following weekend, visit our landcare webpage. This page will be updated as new events are added. If you have any questions, contact Asha on 5472 1594 or

Sutton Grange Landcare

Sutton Grange pictureWHERE: 893 Coliban Park Road, Sutton Grange
WHEN: Sunday 11th September 2016, 10:30am – 3pm
DESCRIPTION: Tree planting in Sutton Grange
Sutton Grange Landcare Group in conjunction with Connecting Country are participating in the Federal Government 20 million trees program by planting approximately 200 trees at Mike Abramowski’s property. We would like to make this an enjoyable group/family get together and plant a few trees. A BBQ and refreshments will be provided.  If you can provide an hour or more of your time on this day, please RSVP to as soon as possible. Further details will be provided once Sutton Grange Landcare has confirmed numbers.
This project is supported by the 20 Million Trees Programme, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme

Post Office Hill Action Group, Chewton Primary School, Chewton Landcare and, Golden Point Landcare

POHAGWHERE: Railway Street, Chewton (between Hunter Street and the railway line)
WHEN: Sunday 11th September 2016, 1.30 p.m.
DESCRIPTION: Discover the secrets of Chewton’s Post Office Hill
A free fun family orienteering event to celebrate the Landcare Open Day. Join Post Office Hill Action Group, Chewton Primary School, Chewton Landcare and Golden Point Landcare for this event followed by afternoon tea in the school grounds. Information about the groups and their activities, plant giveaways and prizes for the most interesting “discoveries”!! Register on the day at 1.30 p.m. at Chewton Primary School. For more details contact Jennifer Pryce; 0423 900 590 or

Maldon Urban Landcare Group (Mulga) and Nuggetty Landcare Group

Tanya leads a group of keen birdwatchers through the basics of how to watch and ID birds through behaviour, habitat and appearance

Tanya leads a group of keen birdwatchers through the basics of how to watch and ID birds through behaviour, habitat and appearance

WHERE: Meet at the Maldon Cemetery, Maldon-Shelbourne Rd, Maldon
WHEN: Sunday 11th September 2016, 10am to 1pm
DESCRIPTION: Woodland birds and boneseed weed walk and talk
Join Tanya Loos, the Woodland Birds Project Coordinator at Connecting Country, in a walk along Back Cemetery Rd. and onto the area known as ‘The Commons’, observing the habitat for birds, and pulling out small bone seed plants along the way.  BBQ lunch provided. For more details contact Bev Phillips; 0407 770 350 or


Celebrating Mount Alexander Landcare with the Landcare Open Day events

Posted on 29 August, 2016 by Connecting Country

Over the next few weekends in September, several groups will be holding public events for Connecting Country’s Landcare Open Day. While everyone is always welcome to attend the regular working bees run by their local groups, these events will be specifically suitable for families and people new to Landcare.


Archer helping out at a local landcare event in readiness for the upcoming Landcare Open Day events.

Maldon Urban Landcare and Nuggetty Landcare are banding together to run a bird walk with Tanya Loos.  Barkers Creek Landcare & Wildlife Group and Harcourt Valley Landcare Group are holding a flora walk to look for some of the exciting plants that are starting to flower. Golden Point Landcare, Post Office Hill Action Group, and Chewton Landcare are all joining forces for an afternoon of orienteering, and the Tarrengower Cactus Control Group will be holding a community field day where you can learn how to control Wheel Cactus. For more details on these and other Landcare Open Day events, CLICK HERE or contact

Landcare in the Mount Alexander region has been incredibly busy in the past year. Our biannual Landcare Link-ups provide opportunities for landcare members to share stories and experiences.  Two Green Army teams have been working on numerous projects, with a third team just started. Funding through the Federal Government’s 20 Million Trees Programme has created opportunities for four local groups to begin planting 6300 plants.

We are also very excited about the Mount Alexander Schools Landcare Days coming up. Grade five and six students from all local primary schools will attend a day of environmental-based activities at Vaughan Springs, hopefully fostering a new generation of Landcarers.

For more information about Landcare in this region and to find out how you can get involved, visit:



24 July 2016 – Muckleford Landcare History Project

Posted on 20 July, 2016 by Connecting Country

The Muckleford Landcare Group will host a pleasant Sunday afternoon at 2 pm on July 24 2016 at the Muckleford Community Centre for people interested in contributing to a local history project.

There will be two special guest speakers:


Author of Footprints Across the Loddon Plains: a shared history, Paul Haw.

Paul Haw grew up on a family farm fronting the Loddon River at Yando, near Boort. Paul served as a National Servicemen in Vietnam where he almost lost his life. This experience and other factors inspired him to look more closely at the place where he lived, its history and its environment.

The result is an impressive book, Footprints Across the Loddon Plains: a shared history, co-written with Margaret Munro.

Paul will relate how he went about his research and what he learned. It is a fascinating and inspiring story.

Robyn Ballinger is an historian who lives in Maldon. Robyn has published an environmental history of the Victorian northern plains entitled An Inch of Rain: A water history of northern Victoria. Robyn undertakes writing, historical research, teaching, facilitation of community consultation, and preparation of heritage studies and significance assessments.

Robyn will introduce the meeting to the ways in which local history can be pursued and the resources available to the local historian.

There will be an afternoon tea followed by a chat about the particular interests of those attending, how they can be assisted in their endeavours and ways in which their stories can be shared and archived.

Members from other groups are most welcome to join us.

If you wish to attend or know more about the event, text or email Paul Hampton:


Cactus Killing Field Day: Sunday 26th June 2016

Posted on 22 June, 2016 by Connecting Country

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group’s next Community Field Day will be on Sunday 26th June at a property at the end of Whitlocks Road in Baringhup. The morning’s activities will begin at 10:30am and then end at 12:30pm with an enjoyable BBQ and friendly chat. Click here to view the field day poster.

Directions: If you leave Maldon via South Parkin’s Reef Road, just continue straight along into Whitlocks Rd, and it’s the last property on your right before you get to Cairn Curran Reservoir. This will be well signposted from South Parkins Reef Road.

If you have any queries, please contact Ian on 0412 015 807 or check out their website at

Ian Grenda demonstrating injection technique to some workshop attendees.

This could be you on Sunday! Ian Grenda demonstrating cactus injection techniques.



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


June 2016 edition of North Central CMA chat

Posted on 30 May, 2016 by Connecting Country

The June 2016 Chat edition is available for viewing (click here – 5MB).  Regional Landcare Coordinator, Tess Grieves, notes that the highlights this month include an invitation to the North Central Waterwatch 4th Annual Water Science Forum on June 4, an array of fishy news stories and an introduction to Gorse Project officer Jenny Johnson.

Tess also writes “I have also included a note in my intro about the 2016-17 North Central Community Grants program. Our annual grants program is likely to follow previous years’ timeframes, expected to be opened in mid-July 2016 *pending approvals. The 2016-17 program has been revised based on extensive community feedback, so we are currently updating the application forms, guidelines and “Supporting Landcare in North Central Victoria’ survey. It is really important that groups, networks and individuals are ‘project’ ready’, so it’s timely to begin thinking about what your Landcare community might be needing in your region. I look forward to being able to open applications in mid-July.”


Latest news from the FTLA

Posted on 30 May, 2016 by Connecting Country

FTLAOn the 27 May 2016. Susi Johnson from the Farm Tree and Landcare Association (FTLA) sent us a comprehensive email full of information about upcoming events, activities and grants opportunities.  We thought that there was lots within it which would be of interest to our members and local Landcare groups.  As such, we’ve turned her email into a PDF for you viewing (click here).


Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare – Direct Seeding Field Day 17 April 2016

Posted on 13 April, 2016 by Connecting Country

Nearly two years ago, the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare (FoCC) machine direct-seeded wattles on barren hard ground outside the new Tonks centre in Lewis Drive, Castlemaine.
The ground was so hard and compacted, the hoes just bounced off the surface.  Now some of those seedlings are over three metres tall in spite of the hot and dry seasons since!

On Sunday 17 April 2016 @ 10:00 a.m. their Seeding Field Day will look “at the success from these efforts, and we’ll see and help with direct seeding again in a very different situation, this time in some dry rise country away from the creek.   Because the soil is so poor there, we’ll be sowing much earlier and using very different species.”

There will be:

–   a demonstration of the machinery used with direct sowing
–   an opportunity to help with sowing by hand
–   LATE morning tea provided

FoCC will also be giving away samples of seed if you’d like to try out the techniques later at home.

Meet at 10:00 a.m. in the car park at the end of Lewis Drive, below Tonks (see map).
The morning involves a walk of around 600 m to the new sowing site – they’ll provide transport for those who would find this difficult.

Please bring hats, gloves, enclosed footwear, sturdy clothing suitable for the weather and your own water – FoCC will supply the rest.