Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

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.



Ecology artworks at Falkner Gallery until 25 March 2018

Posted on 5 February, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Two beautiful exhibitions by talented local artists are on now at the Falkner Gallery in Castlemaine: Margaret Cromb showing ‘Bushland’ and Greg Somerville showing ‘…stitched to everything…- musings of an errant ecologist.’

Margaret is one of Connecting Country’s most avid bird survey volunteers and we are really delighted that Margaret is generously donating 50% of the net proceeds of her exhibition sales to Connecting Country! Thanks Margaret – you are already so generous with your time!

Margaret’s ‘Bushland’ exhbition is a series of  watercolours and woodcuts that describe the natural environment of Central Victoria. Margaret writes: ‘I consider myself to be especially blessed to live in an area surrounded by extensive forests and I continue to enjoy exploring them and becoming more familiar with the birds and animals which inhabit them. I have been involved over many years with Landcare especially in the Casey/ Cardinia area where I came from. More recently I have become involved with Connecting Country and its bird-monitoring program. Spending time in the bush looking for birds and being immersed in the environment is a great joy to me. I am impressed with Connecting Country and its focus on restoring natural habitat by educating and supporting landowners. So it is a pleasure to be able to donate to its activities through this exhibition.’

The works depict bushland scenes, individual trees and wildflowers, often including local birds. Margaret’s characteristic layering of colour washes can be seen in her representational portrayals of the local environment, about which she is so passionate.

Upstairs, Greg Somerville captures the local environment with different media – textiles and photography – but with similarly powerful effects. His training and early work as a biologist has led him to use the insights of science, especially ecology and Chaos Theory, in his artistic output. Greg writes:‘The imagery I utilise is grounded in the patterns, textures and minutiae of the bioregion in which I live. They are also informed by my knowledge of biological structures, the energies and relationships found in ecosystems, within the micro and macroscopic….The patterns of water drops on leaves, the way lichen spreads on sandstone or the manner in which trees co-inhabit the landscape is every bit as revelatory as the great texts, painting or musical composition.’

His abstracted quilted works and his photographs use detailed patterns, textures and layers to suggest the complexities and subtleties of nature.

Both exhibitions are on now and continue until 25 March 2018, with 50% of the net proceeds from Margaret’s work being donated to support Connecting Country.

Please note Falkner Gallery’s revised hours for 2018: Wed 1-5, Thurs–Sat 11-5 and Sunday by appointment. The gallery is at 35 Templeton St, Castlemaine.


Weed guides published thanks to the cactus warriors

Posted on 16 January, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Many congratulations to the The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) for the creation of an innovative series of weed brochures that are are specific to the five wards in Mount Alexander Shire. The brochures are available for download on the links below, and also as hard copies at the Mount Alexander Shire offices.

TCCG President Lee Mead writes about the project for our blog:

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) recently completed a project producing some new brochures about weed control. This project was funded and supported by the Mt. Alexander Shire Council. Five brochures were created, one specific for each of the five wards within our Shire. The brochures highlight the most problematic weeds in each ward and encourage landowners to manage their weeds by providing essential information.

A field of Wheel Cactus

The idea for these brochures was inspired by the need to reach the landowners who are not controlling Wheel Cactus on their properties. Most landowners that don’t control Wheel Cactus infestations are absentee owners or new owners who are unaware of their weed responsibilities.

These problems are not exclusive to Wheel Cactus, so to help overcome the lack of control with many different weeds, TCCG created the new brochures and have asked the Shire to include them in the ‘Welcome Kits’ sent out to all new ratepayers. This will hopefully educate new landowners as soon as they purchase a property and reach the ones that don’t live here.

The brochures provide information about the responsibilities of landowners to manage weeds, the best control methods to use and where to find more detailed information. They also stress that not only rural properties are involved in weed control, but urban properties also have the same legal responsibilities, pointing out that most noxious weeds are escapees from private gardens.

TCCG thanks the many local Landcare groups who collaborated on this project by contributing their votes on problematic weeds and photos of some of their local weed infestations. The brochures include the contact details for these groups and will hopefully lead to future new enquiries and members.

We hope there’ll be an official and fun launch in the near future, but please contact the TCCG via their website at if you have any queries.  Click on the links below to download the brochure specific to your ward. And if you are unsure of your ward here is a map to check.

🙂  Ward Map