Posted on 6 February, 2020 by Ivan
We have noticed many of our supporters are not currently members of Connecting Country. The support we offer is not exclusive to our members, but we would love to sign up some new people and increase our membership in 2020. By being a member, you are showing your support for Connecting Country, and assisting us to achieve our aims and objectives. Membership provides insurance cover when you attend our events and activities or volunteer with us, and also allows you to vote at our Annual General Meeting and have a say on our future direction.
We currently have 250 valued members and would be thrilled to increase our membership to over 300 members this year. More members will assist us when applying for grants and presenting to potential funding bodies.
Membership is free, and needs to be renewed annually. Applications from first time members are submitted to the Committee of Management for official approval.
To become a member of Connecting Country for free, and help us on our mission of landscape restoration, please click here.
For a quick recap of some of what we do and why it’s important, view the following video.
How Connecting Country began
In 2007, the Normal Wettenhall Foundation (now Wettenhall Environment Trust) developed a work plan for supporting community-led landscape restoration in south-east Australia. The Executive Officer contacted Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (Mount Alexander Region), an environment group in Castlemaine, to see if there was interest in working collaboratively across the region on a landscape restoration project. A reference group formed, eventually leading to the creation of Connecting Country.
During 2008, the project produced a Biodiversity Blueprint (click here for details) that identified our assets, the possible threats they face and what future actions we can take. It suggested directions, clarified priorities in landscape restoration and helped reconcile cultural, agricultural and natural values.
In 2009, Connecting Country worked in partnership with the North Central Catchment Management Authority to implement a program across the local landscape with a specific focus on the threatened Brush-tailed Phascogale (Tuan) and its Yellow Box Woodland habitat.
Since 2012, we have implemented programs related to local Landcare support, habitat connectivity and pest plant and animal management. We have supported development of local action plans, habitat enhancement for woodland birds, community skills training in environmental management and biodiversity monitoring. For more information on our current projects click here.
Posted on 4 February, 2020 by Asha
Are you a property owner or Landcare member wanting to manage rabbits? Wondering what to do next?
Barkers Creek Landcare & Wildlife Group are hosting a workshop and demonstration day as part of the annual Rabbit Buster Month campaign, with support from Connecting Country, Agriculture Victoria, and North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA).
The session will cover:
- Best practice rabbit management- presented by Agriculture Victoria’s Leading Biosecurity Officer, Jessica Seidel.
- Integrated rabbit management.
- Case studies from local Landcare groups and land managers.
- Rabbit management demonstration by Jarrod Coote (field site visit).
Click here to download the flyer with more information about the workshop and how to register.
Why manage rabbits?
Rabbits have been significant pests in Australia since they were released near Geelong, Victoria in 1860. Rabbits are one of Australia’s most serious pest animals and typically:
- Destroy pasture, crops and plant communities, impacting on agriculture and the environment;
- Cause soil erosion and associated sedimentation of waterways;
- Compete with native fauna for food and habitat.
For more information and resources about rabbit management, click here.
Posted on 9 January, 2020 by Asha
The new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Guide (published October 2019) assists Landcare and other environmental volunteer groups and networks that care for landscapes in Victoria to better understand the state’s Aboriginal cultural heritage management process.
The guide steps out the process for meeting the requirements of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and helps determine whether a Cultural Heritage Permit is required. The guide also provides the key Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Contacts by region and Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs).
To view or download the guide: click here
Posted on 25 November, 2019 by Asha
Yapenya (aka Mount Barker) is a private property in North Harcourt (Victoria) owned and managed by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (DDWCAC). On Sunday 29 September 2019, around 35 Landcare volunteers from the Mount Alexander region and Trent Nelson from DDWCAC gathered around the campfire at Yapenya.
We started with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony from Trent, while the cockatoos watched on from the eucalypts nearby. Everyone then settled in to a good two hours of talking about our connection to the land, and ways to better work together and support each other to care for it. We shared a little afternoon tea, and then went on a wander with Trent while he showed us a bit more of beautiful Yapenya.
Attendees agreed it was an empowering afternoon of connecting and sharing ideas for working together to care for country. One participant said, ‘It felt very special to be part of the day… It was inspiring to hear Trent talking about his vision for the land. I went straight out and bought a yam daisy plant for my garden!’
So, what can you do? If you’re a Landcarer or a landholder wanting to care for the land in line with DDWCAC’s values, here are a few simple actions suggested on the day:
- Plant native food and fibre plants – such as Murnong (Yam Daisy) and Kangaroo Grass.
- Use Dja Dja Wurrung language where possible – for example when on country or at meetings. Stay tuned for a dictionary of words to start with.
- Read the ‘Dja Dja Wurrung Country Plan 2014-2034’ and think about which goals you can help achieve. To download the plan – click here.
Also, you may like to watch the beautiful video called ‘Leanganook: His teeth’, in which Trent speaks about Leanganook (Mount Alexander) and its importance to Dja Dja Wurrung and Taunurung people. To view the video – click here.
A huge thank you to Trent and DDWCAC for working with Connecting Country to organise this ‘Yarn at Yapenya’ gathering, and to everyone who came with open spirit and made it such a worthwhile afternoon. Thanks also to John Walter for taking and sharing his photos from the day.
This event was funded by the North Central Catchment Management Authority through the Victorian Landcare Program, as part of Connecting Country’s ‘Landcare Connections’ project.
Posted on 9 October, 2019 by Asha
Over the years Connecting Country has distributed free rabbit bait stations for landholders to use. For more information about what these look like and how they work, click here. These days we are working with less funding and no longer have a supply of bait stations. We hope to source more funding soon. However, in the meantime there is still a need out there!
We have had requests from local landholders and Landcare groups who are struggling with rabbits and need bait stations. We hope to coordinate a rotation system where spare bait stations can be returned to our depot and then be distributed to those who need them.
If you live in the Mount Alexander region and have a bait station that you no longer need, please let us know by emailing email@example.com or calling (03) 5472 1594.
Posted on 26 September, 2019 by Ivan
The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) and Parks Victoria will hold their next community field day this Sunday to the west of the Maldon township, Victoria, Australia. This event is open to everyone in the community and is a great way to learn more about the threats posed by Wheel Cactus and do something about the spread across our region.
Come along, enjoy the fresh air, destroy some cactus and then join the community for a free cuppa and sausage sizzle.
Where: 200 Treloars Road, Tarrengower VIC (follow the signs along Watersons Road)
When: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm, Sunday 29th September 2019
The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group Inc. (TCCG) consists of Landcare volunteers dedicated to the eradication of Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta). TCCG, in conjunction with Parks Victoria, holds friendly and informal Wheel Cactus Control community field days to inform and demonstrate control techniques, on the last Sunday of the month from May to October. These field days always end with a free BBQ lunch, cuppa and cake and the opportunity to chat, exchange ideas and make contacts.
It is a great opportunity to spend a rewarding morning outdoors, meeting neighbours and others who are concerned about preserving our unique environment. Everyone is welcome, no previous experience is required and all equipment is supplied. View the video to catch the ‘cactus warriors’ in action.
Posted on 12 September, 2019 by Asha
You may have heard the rumors. And yes, they are true! After a five year hiatus, North Harcourt & Sedgwick Landcare Group are planning on planting on, and they need YOU!
Anyone who is interested is welcome to come along to a casual meet up, where they will be throwing a BBQ, giving away some free plants, and showing off some nest boxes.
When: Sunday 22 September 2019 from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Where: Sedgwick Hall, corner Springs Rd and Sedgwick Rd, Sedgwick, VIC (scroll through photos below for a map)
RSVP: Appreciated via firstname.lastname@example.org or their Facebook event – click here
To stay up-to-date, join their public Facebook group here: click here
Posted on 5 September, 2019 by Asha
Congratulations to receivers of the Victorian Landcare Awards! The awards were presented last Friday (30 August 2019) in a ceremony at Government House in Melbourne. Our local winners included:
- Malmsbury District Landcare Group – Winner of the Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award.
- Harcourt Valley Landcare Group – Highly Commended for the Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award.
- Ian Grenda – Highly Commended for the Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award.
On the day a lovely short video was also filmed called ‘I care, We care, Landcare’. To watch the video on YouTube – click here
To read more about the awards and winners – click here
Posted on 29 August, 2019 by Asha
Ready to get outside and enjoy the sunshine? Want to make a difference and help our local environment? CLICK HERE to see some of the Landcare events happening over the next month. Anyone is welcome to come along to these to give Landcare a try and ask questions.
Connecting Country and the Landcare Steering Group are also running four stalls for Landcare Week from 1 to 8 September 2019. We’ll be at Castlemaine Farmers Market, Castlemaine Maxi IGA, Wesley Hill Market and Maldon Market, so please come by for chat and pick up some free brochures!
Posted on 29 August, 2019 by Ivan
The wattles were blooming like crazy for the strong crowd of nearly 50 people at our ‘Wonderful World of Wattles’ event on Saturday 24 August at Campbells Creek in central Victoria. It was a day to remember, with sunny weather and two excellent guest speakers to educate participants about the beauty, benefits and biodiversity of the Acacia (wattle) species in our region. Connecting Country, Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare and Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests partnered to deliver the event, which was part of our larger ‘Prickly plants for wildlife’ project funded through the North Central Catchment Management Authority.
The event kicked off indoors with retired academic and botanist Rod Orr, who has spent many years volunteering at the Bendigo Field Naturalists Club. Rod provided an excellent overview on the ecology and biological function of wattles. The audience was fascinated to learn that wattles can produce their own nitrogen fertiliser through nodules in their roots, allowing them to live in extremely low-nutrient soils. This explains why they are so useful in colonizing disturbed sites and degraded landscapes, like central Victoria!
The second part of the educational event was a walk and talk with Campbells Creek identity Ian Higgins, through the Campbells Creek Reserve at the end of Honeycomb Road. This site proved perfect for the keen audience to test their skills in identifying the large array of Acacia species that had been re-established at the site. Ian pointed out some of the finer skills in how to differentiate between species. He also gave the group a lesson in growing Acacias from seeds, and managed to get the audience to complete some direct seeding in a site dominated by Phalaris grass!
For those who could not attend, Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests have developed an excellent 112 page book for sale, suited to beginners. In plain language, and generously illustrated, it presents 21 Acacia species that flourish in the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria. A general introduction explains different features of wattles, helping in identification and appreciation of these tenacious and beautiful plants.
Many thanks to Gen Kay, who generously volunteered her photography skills to capture the following images on the day.
Posted on 22 August, 2019 by Asha
The theme of our July 2019 Landcare Link-up was volunteer engagement, with a training session on attracting, recruiting, and retaining volunteers. A couple of representatives from each group in the Mount Alexander Region Landcare Network were invited to attend. As well as the training, Landcare Link-ups are always a great chance to meet people from other groups, have a chat, and learn from and support each other.
A small but engaged group of about 13 Landcare volunteers came together for the Link-up. Jenny from Non-profit Training got everyone thinking about the challenges involved in engaging volunteers with a Landcare group. We discussed volunteer burnout, bringing in new people, removing barriers and being inclusive, the different volunteer roles within groups, and much more. Attendees were able to share lessons and ideas with each other, bringing a range of perspectives from their different groups.
Brian from Taradale Landcare, a recently reinvigorated group, shared four ‘pillars of success’ for engaging volunteers with their group:
- Visibility and accessibility – easy to contact and responsive to communications.
- Motivation – doing work that people are interested in.
- Organisation – the value of planning and good governance.
- Sociability – making new people feel welcome, good food and drink!
Thank you to everyone who helped make the Link-up an enjoyable and valuable event. Our biannual Landcare Link-ups are organised by Connecting Country with funding through the Victorian Landcare Facilitator Program.
Posted on 22 August, 2019 by Ivan
The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group and Parks Victoria will hold their next Community Field Day on Sunday 25 August 2019, with the group keen to get some new Cactus Warriors on board.
Come and join the Cactus Warriors and Parks Victoria for a morning in the fresh air and learn how best to destroy Wheel Cactus. The location is at the reservoir end of Whitlocks Road, near Maldon VIC. To get there, take South Parkins Reef Road out of Maldon and follow it to the end. The route will be well signposted. The morning’s activities finish with a delicious BBQ lunch and friendly chat. The event is family friendly but children must be accompanied by a parent at all times.
For more information on the infamous Cactus Warriors – click here.
Community Field Day
When: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm on Sunday 25 August 2019
Where: End of Whitlocks Road, Tarrangower VIC (near sheep yards), via South Parkin’s Reef Road and follow the signs.
Come along kill some cactus and then enjoy a free sausage sizzle
Check out the poster below for a location map or visit www.cactuswarriors.org and subscribe for a monthly field day reminder.
Posted on 15 August, 2019 by Asha
Over twenty young people aged 16-35 shared an exciting adventure last weekend at the Mount Alexander Region Intrepid Landcare Retreat.
‘The weather delivered everything from hail, wind, snow, freezing temperatures, rainbows and sunshine! Between outdoor adventures, helping with some direct seeding for habitat, learning much about the local area and leadership, and thawing out, the group threw together some pretty awesome project ideas to bring to this region,’ said Megan Rowlatt from Intrepid Landcare Australia.
‘The group met the legends behind the Cactus Warriors who have been battling the insidious Wheel Cactus for many years and bringing landscapes back to good health. We met awesome Landcare volunteers looking after and restoring bushland which has been highly disturbed due to a long history of gold mining. We met Pauline from the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation who shared her beautiful culture and local knowledge with us. And we met an amazing group of young people passionate about the environment.’
If you are interested in getting involved with an Intrepid Landcare group in the Mount Alexander region, contact Asha Bannon at email@example.com, or join the new ‘Intrepid Landcare Mount Alexander’ Facebook group.
To make these opportunities accessible to as many young people as possible, successful applicants were generously supported by North Central Catchment Management Authority and Connecting Country through funding from the Victorian Landcare Program. This support covered all catering, accommodation and a carefully packaged leadership development program tailored to meet the needs of young people passionate about the environment.
Posted on 5 August, 2019 by Asha
Join Muckleford Catchment Landcare to explore a property that demonstrates techniques to transition a landscape via planting and water management. You will see:
- How dams can be functional water sources, habitats and aesthetic features that sit within the landscape.
- How the efficacy of different planting techniques is dependent on the landscape.
- How direct seeding of native seed can be used at a larger scale to kick start the transition.
When: 10.00 am to 11.30 am, Saturday 24 August 2019
Where: 88 Symes Rd, Muckleford South, VIC 3462
RSVP: Please RSVP to Beth Mellick on 0431 219 980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on 31 July, 2019 by Asha
Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare have had an active, successful year, thanks to the continued hard work of their committee members and the wider community. Volunteers from the group have put in more than 2,000 hours of on-ground work in the last year. The environment along Campbells Creek shows the benefit.
Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare believes volunteer groups (including theirs) need the infusion of new ideas and new energy to continue to produce results. CLICK HERE to read their document outlining their committee member roles, and consider whether any roles suit your interests and abilities. Feel free to contact their Secretary, Thea King (email@example.com), or the current role-holder if you want to know more. If you would like to contribute, but are unsure of the commitment involved, please consider volunteering to support the elected committee member as an assistant. All positions are re-elected annually.
Annual General Meeting – Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare
When: Wednesday 7 August 2019. Meal from 6.00 pm. Meeting from 7.30 pm
Where: Klua Sathorn Thai restaurant, 32 Johnstone Street, Castlemaine VIC
The meeting will be short, made up of two important agenda items:
- Reports from the past year.
- Election of the new office-bearers.
Posted on 18 July, 2019 by Ivan
What is Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta)? A plant native to Mexico, this cactus is most commonly called Wheel Cactus in Australia, and believed to be introduced into our country as a ‘hardy’ garden plant. This cactus species has a distinct blue/green colour and large, flat, round pads with many short and long spines. The pads are circular like a wheel, different to the shape of Prickly Pear. The plant is erect and can grow to 3 metres tall. It has yellow flowers and dark red fruit in spring/summer, each containing approximately 500 seeds which are spread by animals and water. This weed has become widely established in central Victoria, western NSW and south-eastern and eastern SA. It particularly likes to grow on granite outcrops, but also infests woodlands and pastures.
The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) has been battling the prickly problem that is Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta) for many years now, ensuring the community and landowners are always on the look out for Wheel Cactus invading the landscape. Three excellent videos from TCCG (see below) have helped the community to easily access the library of information on Wheel Cactus and how to best remove this troublesome plant from the landscape, no matter the level of knowledge.
The three videos cover a variety of topics, such as what Wheel Cactus is and why it is an issue, who the Cactus Warriors are, management options for treating Wheel Cactus and some great footage of the warriors at work. We think the videos are an excellent resource for anyone wanting to know more about managing Wheel Cactus and how devastating it can be on agriculture and the environment alike.
TCCG consists of Landcare volunteers dedicated to the eradication of Wheel Cactus. The group holds friendly and informal community field days to inform and demonstrate control techniques, on the last Sunday of the month from May to October. These field days always end with a free BBQ lunch, cuppa and cake and the opportunity to chat, exchange ideas and make contacts. It is a great opportunity to spend a rewarding morning outdoors, meeting neighbours and others who are concerned about preserving our unique environment. Everyone is welcome, no previous experience is required and all equipment is supplied.
Please contact the TCCG via their website at www.cactuswarriors.org if you have any queries. Click on the videos below to watch each video and learn about the incredible success the TCCG have achieved and how to remove plants correctly.
Posted on 18 July, 2019 by Asha
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is reviewing the Victorian Landcare Facilitator Program (VLFP). This program has aimed to build on the strengths of Victorian Landcare by funding Landcare Facilitators who are employed across the state. While the program has been operating since 2011, this review is focused on the last four years of the program, as a part of normal government processes.
The key focus of the review is to assess the program’s impact and effectiveness, and looking for opportunities to improve future iterations. The focus is solely on the Victorian Landcare Facilitator Program as a specific funding initiative, not on the broader Victorian Landcare Program. This survey is an important part of the review.
All members of the Victorian community with an interest in Landcare or in similar community environment programs are invited to complete the survey here: surveymonkey.com/r/VLFP2019
Closing date/time for survey: 11:59pm on Tuesday 23 July 2019.
RM Consulting Group has been engaged to act as the independent reviewer of the program and has developed the survey. If you need assistance to complete the survey, please contact Mel Ludeman (or Claire Feniuk) at RM Consulting Group on 5441 4821.
Feel free to call Asha (Connecting Country’s Landcare Facilitator) on (03) 5472 1594 if you have any questions or would like to chat.
Posted on 18 July, 2019 by Asha
National Tree Day is coming up on Sunday 28 July 2019, with Schools Tree Day a couple of days before on Friday 26 July 2019. National Tree Day is a call to action for all Australians to put their hands in the earth and give back to their community. Each year, about 300,000 people across the country volunteer their time to engage in environmental activities that educate individuals about the world around them. It’s a day to venture outdoors and get to know your community, and most importantly, to have fun!
See below for details about a couple of local plantings happening on the Sunday. If you’re not based in the Mount Alexander region, you can find your nearest National Tree Day working bee on the website here: https://treeday.planetark.org/ If you’re busy that day, get in touch with your local Landcare group anyway, as there will be more planting days to come this year! Contact details for all our local Landcare groups can be found on our website by clicking here.
Castlemaine Landcare Group
When: Sunday 28 July 2019, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Where: Corner of Colles Road and Fallan Street, Castlemaine VIC 3450
What: This National Tree Day, Castlemaine Landcare Group are keen to plant 600 seedlings along Forest Creek. They’d love your help! Please come down to plant one seedling or many, as every plant in the ground will create more habitat for our native wildlife. The plants put in will provide shade along the creek and create areas for people to picnic as well as for insects, birds and aquatic life to thrive. But they can’t do it without your help.
Other information: Do some planting, and then afterwards join them for a free lunch at 12.30 pm of sausages and soup from the Castlemaine Lions Club. Please wear stout footwear and bring gardening gloves, water and a hat. Look forward to seeing you!
Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare
When: Sunday 28 July 2019, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Meet on the trail alongside Central Carpets, Castlemaine. If arriving in car, it’s probably best to park at the south end of Camp Crescent, then walk over the footbridge and southwards towards the highway for another 120 m.
What: For the National Tree Day, Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare will be planting understorey species at ‘Carpetland’—one of the really high profile sites along the creek. They’re hoping to turn this long neglected site, that once had good tree cover, into a welcoming showpiece by attempting to plant over 300 seedlings.
Other information: They’ll finish with a late morning tea at noon. Bring a hat, water, and a friend if you like. All welcome.
Posted on 9 July, 2019 by Ivan
The closing date for entries to the 2019 Victorian Landcare Awards has been extended until Thursday 11 July 2019 at 11:59pm.
More information: on criteria and how to nominate for the 2019 Victorian Landcare Awards go to www.landcareaustralia.org.au/landcareawards2019
The 2019 Victorian Landcare Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of the individuals, groups, networks and organisations who make significant contributions to protect, conserve and restore Victoria’s environment.
There are nine National Landcare Award categories and six Victorian (only) Award categories, see below:
National Landcare Award categories:
- Landcare Farming Award
- Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award
- Individual Landcarer Award
- Partnerships for Landcare Award
- Coastcare Award
- Junior Landcare Team Award
- Young Landcare Leadership Award
- Indigenous Land Management Award
- Landcare Community Group Award
All Victorian winners of the National Landcare Awards categories will proceed as finalists (representing Victoria) at the 2020 National Landcare Awards.
Victorian Landcare Award categories:
- Joan Kirner Landcare Award
- Landcare Network Award
- Dr Sidney Plowman Travel & Study Award
- Heather Mitchell Memorial Fellowship
- Urban Landcare Award
- Environmental Volunteer Award
Nominations are encouraged from groups, networks and individuals involved in protecting and enhancing their local environment and improving agricultural productivity. They include:
- Sustainable farmers & professional farming systems groups
- Indigenous Landcare groups & individuals
- Urban Landcare groups including ‘Friends of’ groups
- Landcare groups
- Coastcare groups
- Environmental volunteer groups
- Junior Landcare groups (including day care centres, primary and secondary schools, youth groups)
- Youth groups including Scouts & Girls Guides
- Young Landcare leaders
- Natural resource management agencies
- Local government
- Research agencies
- Agricultural co-operatives, industry associations, suppliers or individual primary producers.
Posted on 24 June, 2019 by Asha
Great message from our local Cactus Warriors:
Are you new to the Maldon area? Have you escaped the stressful city lifestyle and bought yourself a piece of paradise? Welcome, you’ve made the best decision! But have you now discovered there’s a few weeds to deal with?
If you have some Wheel Cactus plants, then the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) can help you to deal with these invasive weeds. If there’s just a few young plants then it’s much easier to destroy these while they’re small. But no matter how small or large your Wheel Cactus infestation, please don’t hesitate to contact the TCCG for help and advice.
You can contact us via our website at www.cactuswarriors.org where you’ll also find some interesting case studies about new community members who’ve bought properties with Wheel Cactus infestations and been very successful in eliminating the weed.
Thanks to ongoing support from the Mount Alexander Shire Council, our group is very well equipped with digging tools and injection kits that can borrowed free of charge. We also hold regular Community Field Days where we demonstrate the best techniques to use.
Our next Community Field Day is on Sunday 30 June 2019, and will be in Watersons Road, Maldon VIC. The route will be well signposted from Bridgewater Rd. The morning’s activities begin at 10:30 am and always end with a delicious BBQ lunch and friendly chat. These events are family friendly, but children must be accompanied by a parent at all times. If you have any queries please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org