Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Friends of Kalimna Park AGM – 16 November 2019

Posted on 13 November, 2019 by Ivan

A reminder from our partners at Friends of Kalimna Park, that this weekend they will be launching the updated ‘Kalimna Circuit Track’ brochure on Saturday 16 November at 2.00 pm, as part of their Annual General Meeting.

This brochure complements the work done to the walking track, which now has 16 numbered marker posts and directional arrows to help with navigation. All members and supporters of the Friends are invited to come and walk around the track, followed by afternoon tea.

The walk will be preceded by the Friends of Kalimna Park AGM at 1.00 pm. All members are welcome to come to the AGM and new committee members are always welcome.

The location for both events is the beginning of the Kalimna circuit track on Kalimna Tourist Rd, Castlemaine VIC. This point is located at a pullover on the western side of the Kalimna Tourist Rd between the Mount Alexander Golf Course and the big bend in the road.

Please bring a chair to sit on if you are coming to the AGM and BYO beverages.

For more information on Friends of Kalimna and their AGM, please visit the following link.

Kalimna Park

 

‘Hearing our place’ with Andrew Skeoch and AGM 2019 – BOOK NOW!

Posted on 13 November, 2019 by Ivan

Andrew Skeoch listening to nature (photo from Listening Earth website)

We would like to remind our valued Connecting Country members and the wider community to book now for our 2019 Annual General Meeting this weekend. Our very special guest, Andrew Skeoch, will speak about ‘Hearing our place’ in nature.

Frances Howe, Connecting Country Director, says ‘Andrew Skeoch is an educator, naturalist, environmental thinker and one of Australia’s best-known nature sound recordists. From his bush home near Newstead, he has journeyed over the last 25 years to remote locations in Asia, India, America, Europe, Africa and the Pacific in search of some of our planet’s most beautiful and fascinating sounds.

Combining this field experience with a deep curiosity, Andrew explores the crucial role of sound and communication in nature and evolution. He weaves the latest scientific understandings into a fascinating celebration of the natural soundscape around us.

His intriguing presentation will focus on our box ironbark birdsong and natural soundscapes, and will have you appreciating our local bushlands from an entirely fresh perspective.’

The AGM will include a brief presentation from staff and committee members about Connecting Country’s achievements over the last decade, to allow supporters old and new to hear what Connecting Country does and our plans for the coming year.

Crimson Spider Orchid (photo from Connecting Country archives)

This free event is at 4.00 – 6.00 pm on Saturday 16 November 2019 at Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC).

Afternoon tea will be provided from 3.30 pm.

Please RSVP online (click here) by 13 November 2019 for catering purposes. If you have any questions, please email asha@connectingcountry.org.au or call (03) 5472 1594.

Click here to download the flier.
Click here to download a committee nomination form.
Click here to download a membership application.

 

Welcome back Bonnie!

Posted on 12 November, 2019 by Frances

We’d like to welcome back one of our most experienced super star staff members, Bonnie Humphreys, who recently returned from 12 months parental leave. Bonnie is returning to the role of Landscape Restoration Coordinator and brings a wealth of local knowledge and experience to the Connecting Country team. Her ability to understand people and plants is second to none, and we are excited to announce that she will be job sharing with our current Landscape Restoration Coordinator, Jacqui Slingo, at two days a week each. Jacqui has done an outstanding job in this role while Bonnie was on leave. We are very lucky to keep both of them on the team.

Bonnie joined the Connecting Country team as a Project Officer in 2011. She grew up in Bendigo and Castlemaine and has completed a Diploma in Conservation and Land Management at Bendigo TAFE. Bonnie has a special interest in and extensive knowledge of native flora and weed ecology.

While on leave Bonnie was busy being a mum to her gorgeous baby girl, but always made time to help Connecting Country with specialist advice when needed.

Thanks Bonnie and welcome back to the team!

 

 

Bring our local bush into your garden!

Posted on 11 November, 2019 by Jacqui

This Sunday 17 November 2019, Maldon Urban Landcare Inc. is holding a talk about wildlife friendly gardening using local provenance plants. Jacqui Slingo, Connecting Country’s Landscape Restoration Coordinator, will talk about the benefits of using local provenance plants in your garden, including opportunities to get up close with our local plants and animals, reducing maintenance, input costs and water usage.

Jacqui has worked at Connecting Country since 2018 and is inspired by the commitment of local groups and individuals in restoring the health of local habitats for people, landscapes and wildlife.

Frances Cincotta, from Newstead Natives, will have both local and non-local native plants for sale during the afternoon.

The talk is being held this Sunday 17 November 2019 at 2.30 pm, followed by afternoon tea, in the Maldon Community Centre, Francis St, Maldon, Victoria.

For more information contact Bev Phillips from Maldon Urban Landcare on 0407 770 350 or maldonurbanlandcare@gmail.com

 

 

Eltham Copper Butterfly talk in Castlemaine – Friday 8 November 2019

Posted on 7 November, 2019 by Frances

Castlemaine and Bendigo host the largest known area of Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) habitat in the world. Given the global decline in insects, it is critical that we protect our Australian species such as the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly.

Local ecologists Elaine Bayes and Karl Just are guest speakers at the November meeting of the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club. They will discuss the current distribution of ECB, the amazing relationship ECB has with Notoncus ants and the host plant Sweet Bursaria, and the local butterfly monitoring program. There has been little research on the central Victorian populations of ECB over the last decade. Elaine, Karl, and Julie Radford are trying to change this by leading the community in searching for new ECB populations and mapping colonies so we can protect them from planned burns and other threats.

The beauty of the Eltham Copper Butterfly (photo by Elaine Bayes)

Upcoming opportunities for the local community to be involved in studying and saving this species will be provided. Monitoring ECB also provides a great excuse to walk through our stunning bushlands over the summer months when ECB are flying and mating.

The monthly Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club meeting will start at 7.30 pm on 8 November 2019. This month the meeting will be held in the chapel behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC (next door to the Castlemaine Art Museum). All members are all encouraged to attend and, as always, visitors are also very welcome.  There is no cost for entry and no need for bookings.

 

If you are interested in helping Karl and Elaine with the monitoring of this amazing local butterfly over November and December 2019, please click here

 

Platypus survey in Campbells Creek

Posted on 7 November, 2019 by Ivan

Our partners and good friends at Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare Group have arranged for the Australian Platypus Conservancy (APC) to conduct a Platypus survey at six locations along Campbells Creek, Victoria,  in mid-November 2019.

The survey has been funded by Coliban Water. The survey will commence on the evening of Friday 15 November 2019 (depending on appropriate weather conditions), and finish early on Saturday morning. The APC team will be based at the Campbells Creek Community Centre. The first inspection of the nets will be at around 10 pm and continue throughout the night, approximately every two hours.

On Saturday morning at around 7.30 am, the results of the survey will be discussed at the Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC). Interested community members are welcome to join in and see the results. Tea and coffee will be available. In 2020 the APC team will return to conduct a citizen science workshop to present information on the biology and conservation considerations of Platypus and Rakali (native water rat), followed by a practical session on Campbells Creek. We will keep you informed of this event.

Platypus (Photo- John Bundock) 25%

The platypus has a streamlined body and a superficially duck-like bill (photo: APC)

 

For more information about Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare Group and the Platypus project, please click here.

For more information about the Australian Platypus Conservancy (APC) and the survey methods, please click here.

 

 Eltham Copper Butterfly events 2019

Posted on 28 October, 2019 by Frances

Confused about all the exciting things happening with Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) around Castlemaine at the moment?

We’re delighted that Castlemaine’s local populations of this threatened butterfly are getting the attention they deserve. Here is a summary of events prepared with help from local ecologist and ECB guru, Elaine Bayes of Rakali Ecological Consulting.

  • If you would like to help protect Eltham Copper Butterflies or would simply like a purpose while walking out in the bush, then come and join us in finding where ECB are so that they can be protected from threats.
  • If you are just curious and want to learn more about Eltham Copper Butterflies then come along to the Butterfly Celebration Day, ECB monitoring education session or Castlemaine Field Naturalist talk.
  • If you would like to become an Eltham Copper Butterfly Monitor and carry out searches either with our group or on your own, then join us on the ECB Monitor Training Events, so that you can learn how to contribute to conservation of the amazing Eltham Copper Butterfly.

2019 Eltham Copper Butterfly events around Castlemaine

Date Activity Further information
Friday 8 November 2019
7.30 – 9.00 pm
Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club talk on ECB with Elaine Bayes
Hear general information on ECB biology and monitoring
Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club
click here
Saturday 9 November 2019
1.30 – 4.00 pm
Field trip to Kalimina Park with Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club
See ECB habitat and learn method of ECB search
Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club
click here
Saturday 16 November 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – introduction
Receive training day on how to monitor ECB
Connecting Country
click here
Sunday 17 November 2019
1.00 – 3.00 pm
Butterfly Celebration Day at Castlemaine Botanical Gardens
Attend family event with art and music and ECB habitat tours
Castlemaine Landcare Group
click here
Sunday 1 December 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – practical
Carry out ECB searches as a group
Connecting Country
click here
Sunday 15 December 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – practical
Carry out ECB searches as a group
Connecting Country
click here
Saturday 28 December 2019
12.00 – 4.00 pm
ECB monitor training – practical
Carry out ECB searches as a group
Connecting Country
click here


Trained ECB Monitors
are also invited to join Karl Just and Elaine on their searches throughout November and December. The following dates are scheduled but may change depending on the weather – contact elaine@rakali.com.au if you would like to be kept updated:

  • Friday 15 November 2019
  • Friday 29 November 2019
  • Thursday 19 December 2019
  • Friday 20 December 2019
  • Friday 27 December 2019

This year’s events are supported by the Wettenhall Environment Trust and Mount Alexander Shire Council. 

 

Butterfly Celebration Day – 17 November 2019

Posted on 28 October, 2019 by Frances

Bring a picnic and help celebrate the special story of our local Eltham Copper Butterfly, and the Notoncus ants and Sweet Bursaria plants that make magic in our own backyards!

When: 1.00 – 3.00 pm on Sunday 17 November 2019
Where: Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, Downes Rd, Castlemaine VIC
Further information: click here

With funding support from Mount Alexander Shire Council, Castlemaine Landcare Group has sent choreographer Vanessa Case and musician Andy Rigby to work with local primary school students to tell this story in movement and music.

Butterfly Celebration Day will include a Welcome to Country and the Meeting Place, local musicians, community choirs and a preschool storytelling and craft workshop by Rose Demaria. Other local environmental groups will also be there. The community can go on a guided tour of the Butterflie’s habitat, which can be booked to avoid disapointment by clicking here

Connecting Country will be having a stall all day at the event, and will be giving away some Sweet Bursaria plants to early visitors. We will also have information on woodland birds, local plants and education events.

Image may contain: text

 

Birdlife Castlemaine November bird walk – 2 November 2019

Posted on 24 October, 2019 by Ivan

You’re invited to join our partners Birdlife Castlemaine on their next bird walk on 2 November 2019 at Muckleford Forest VIC. Here are the details.

We begin our walk in a beautiful gully full of woodland birds. This is a Key Biodiversity Area. Eastern Yellow Robin, Little Lorikeet, Diamond Firetail, Rose Robin and Brown Treecreeper are all nesting in this area, along with with many parrots and honeyeaters. We will walk beside a creek, then uphill to a drier ridge where we should also see a variety of native plants. Later we will travel 1.5 km by car along the South German Track to a dam where we are likely to hear Crested Bellbird see White-browed Babbler and many cuckoos. We may have time for a morning tea at the cars before travelling to the dam.

All ages and levels of experience welcome. This is an easy walk with gentle slopes with mine shafts and a creek nearby, covering approx 4 km, finishing around midday. Leaders are Sue and Peter Boekel. Please note that there are no toilets available.

Location and directions: Travel west from Castlemaine for about 15 km along Pyrenees Hwy (B180), towards Newstead VIC. Turn right down the unsealed Mia Mia Rd – please travel slowly and see how many birds you can spy. After 1.5 m, turn left into Mia Mia Track and in 100 m, two Jacky Winters should be on your right. Travel slowly for 1.5 km and pass South German Track on your right, then in 50 m turn next left up Sullivans Track where we will park on the verge. If required, copy these GPS coordinates into Google Maps search field: -37.0806347, 144.0753035.

When: Saturday 2 November 2019. Meet at Sullivans Track, Muckleford Forest at 9.00 am, or to carpool from Castlemaine meet at 8.30 am outside Castlemaine Community House (former Continuing Ed building), 30 Templeton St, Castlemaine VIC.

Bring: water, snacks, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, long pants during snake season, and other weather-appropriate gear.

Important information about walks: Walks will be cancelled if the temperature is forecast to be 35 degrees or more during the walk period, severe weather warnings are forecast, and/or if the day has been declared a Total Fire Ban.

Questions: If you have questions about our walks program, you can email us at castlemaine@birdlife.org.au, or call Judy Hopley (0425 768 559) or Asha Bannon (0418 428 721).

Action shot of a Scarlet Robin on a dead branch (photo by Bonnie Humphreys)

 

 

Where is that weed heading?

Posted on 24 October, 2019 by Ivan

A new web-based tool developed by Macquarie University in collaboration with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage is helping tackle the problem of weeds. It can be used by anyone but is particularly useful for land managers to help identify which weeds pose the greatest threat on their land.

Weed Futures is a web-based decision-support tool that anyone can use to find out information for over 500 weed species. The information available is a comprehensive assessment of potential weed threats for regions of interest under current and predicted future climates. It also rates weed species that are not yet invasive as having low, medium or high potential for establishment and expansion now and in the future. This tool is ideal to assist land managers in identifying those species for which detailed weed risk assessment and management are needed.

Weeds damage our environment, economy, biodiversity, threatened species and our public land. So much so that 18% of key threatening processes listed across the country are weed related. Collectively, these threats affect 54% of all threatened species and communities. To make matters worse, the interaction between weeds and other threats, such as climate change, only exacerbate the problem and can increase the invasive potential of weeds.

Weeds are often garden plants that escaped into the landscape (photo by Ivan Carter)

To tackle this pervasive issue, experts from Macquarie University, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and others worked together through the NSW Adaptation Research Hub – Biodiversity Node to come up with some solutions. This work resulted in Weed Futures.

The Weed Futures tool can be used by anyone, but is particularly valuable to decision-makers, councils, government authorities, weeds officers, bush care groups and researchers. Weed Futures fills a significant knowledge gap about the potential distribution of weed species, an important factor in determining a weed’s risk.

Connecting Country will be using the Weed Futures mapping tool to assess the risk of many localised invasive species into the future, under a changing climate. Interestingly, the website gives predictions of potential distributions into 2035 and 2065, under a variety of climate change scenarios.

By using an informed evidence-based approach to decision-making, weed threats can be prioritised and efforts targeted to areas where the greatest benefit can be achieved. With the help of tools such as this, the combined effort of land managers and decision-makers can best target effort to reduce the impact of weeds on our environment and hopefully create a brighter future for our threatened species.

Predicted suitable habitat of Blanket Weed (Galenia pubescens) by 2065 (image by Weed Futures)

 

Connecting Country’s new factsheets for landholders

Posted on 24 October, 2019 by Ivan

Landholders and managers now have access to four new factsheets from Connecting Country. The factsheets are tailored to suit the needs of the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria, and include local information about invasive species management and creating habitat for our unique biodiversity.

The four factsheets clear and practical information about:

  • Weed control.
  • Nestboxes for wildlife.
  • Invasive pest animals.
  • Revegetation planting with tubestock.

The advantage of these factsheets is they were developed and produced specifically for our region’s landscape, biodiversity and local conditions. They cover invasive animals that you are likely to see in this region and give an overview of the landowner responsibilities for invasive animals and plants. Managing invasive species is an important step to restoring our local habitat and biodiversity. Invasive species was listed as the number two threat for threatened species, with only habitat loss having a larger impact on our threatened species.

These factsheets were made possible by funding from the North Central Catchment Management Authority, as part of our project called ‘Prickly plants for wildlife on small properties’. Through this project we’ve helped numerous local landholders with smaller areas of remnant vegetation to protect and improve habitat on their land. We’ve supported landholders with on-ground actions such as revegetation planting, weed and rabbit control, and nestbox installation, as well as delivering three popular community education events.

A lot of people contact Connecting Country regarding how to best revegetate the landscape using native species in tubestock. There are many factors to consider when using this technique, such as when to plant, how to prepare the soil, what to plant, and how to protect your plantings. The new revegetation planting factsheet covers all these topics and more to help you give your precious native plants the best start in life.

To view the four factsheets – click here

Following best practice will give your tubestock planting the best chance of long-term success (photo by Ivan Carter)

 

‘Hearing our place’ with Andrew Skeoch – Connecting Country AGM 2019

Posted on 17 October, 2019 by Asha

Andrew Skeoch listening to nature (photo from Listening Earth website)

All are warmly invited to the Connecting Country 2019 Annual General Meeting, where guest speaker Andrew Skeoch will speak about ‘Hearing our place’ in nature.

Frances Howe, Connecting Country Director, says ‘Andrew Skeoch is an educator, naturalist, environmental thinker and one of Australia’s best-known nature sound recordists. From his bush home near Newstead, he has journeyed over the last 25 years to remote locations in Asia, India, America, Europe, Africa and the Pacific in search of some of our planet’s most beautiful and fascinating sounds.

Combining this field experience with a deep curiosity, Andrew explores the crucial role of sound and communication in nature and evolution. He weaves the latest scientific understandings into a fascinating celebration of the natural soundscape around us.

His intriguing presentation will focus on our box ironbark birdsong and natural soundscapes, and will have you appreciating our local bushlands from an entirely fresh perspective.’

The AGM will include a brief presentation from staff and committee members about Connecting Country’s achievements over the last decade, to allow supporters old and new to hear what Connecting Country does and our plans for the coming year.

Crimson Spider Orchid (photo from Connecting Country archives)

This free event is at 4.00 – 6.00 pm on Saturday 16 November 2019 at Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC).

Afternoon tea will be provided from 3.30 pm.

Please RSVP online (click here) by 13 November 2019 for catering purposes. If you have any questions, please email asha@connectingcountry.org.au or call (03) 5472 1594.

  • Click here to download the flier including agenda.
  • Click here to download a committee nomination form.
  • Click here to download a membership application.

 

Become a butterfly monitor and help protect a threatened species – updated

Posted on 17 October, 2019 by Frances

Castlemaine’s Kalimna Park is home to the largest remaining population of the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly in the world. However, we don’t know how many butterflies there currently are, and its entirely possible that other, undiscovered populations exist around the Castlemaine area.

Local ecologists Elaine Bayes and Karl Just will be running four Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring sessions around Castlemaine VIC over November and December 2019, when the adult butterflies are out and about. The aim is to support interested community members to learn how to monitor with expert guidance, conduct more monitoring and (hopefully) discover new populations.

Eltham Copper Butterfly perched on flowering Sweet Bursaria (photo by Elaine Bayes)

This is a fantastic opportunity to get out in the bush, learn more about your local environment, and collect some really important data to help protect this beautiful threatened species. You might even discover a new population of this special butterfly!

Everyone is invited to get involved. Monitoring isn’t difficult but you will need:

  • A reasonable level of physical fitness, as monitoring involves walking off-track through the bush, often in warm weather.
  • A positive attitude and willingness to learn.
  • Ability to read maps, follow simple procedures and record sightings.


Monitoring dates and locations are:

  • 12-4 pm Saturday 16 November 2019. Location: Kalimna Park Rotunda, top of Urquhart St, Kalimna Tourist Road, Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Sunday 1 December 2019. Location: Water tank on Hunter Track, top end of Hunter Street, Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Sunday 15 December 2019. Location: Parking spot just north of where golf course intersects with Kalimna Tourist Road, Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Saturday 28 December 2019. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine – click here for map.

You don’t need to attend all these events to become a monitor. Once you understand the monitoring method and feel confident you can identify an Eltham Copper Butterfly, you’re welcome to do your own monitoring and report sightings.

If you’d like to get involved in Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring, please just come along to a monitoring event, or for further information contact Ivan at Connecting Country (ivan@connectingcountry.org.au).

 

Our small endangered butterfly pulls a big crowd

Posted on 17 October, 2019 by Ivan

Our Eltham Copper Butterfly education event was a delightful success over the past weekend, with an enthusiastic crowd of 40 people attending to learn about this unique and threatened butterfly. The event was held at the Tea Room in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens (Castlemaine VIC) and included a guided walk with local experts Elaine Bayes and Karl Just, exploring the native woodlands north of the gardens. Karl and Elaine delivered an informative and engaging presentation on the fascinating biology of the Eltham Copper Butterfly and its symbiotic relationship with Notoncus ant species. It was warming to hear Elaine’s enthusiasm about the mating cycles of this butterfly and her excitement that more populations may exist around our region, and could be discovered during monitoring over the next few months.

The Eltham Copper Butterfly is a small and attractive butterfly with bright copper colouring on the tops of its wings visible during the summer flight season.

Some interesting butterfly facts:

  • This unusual species due has a close symbiotic association with a group of ants from the genus Notoncus and the shrub Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa).
  • Adult butterflies lay their eggs on the roots and stems of Sweet Bursaria. Once the eggs hatch, the ants guard the caterpillars (providing protection from predators), ushering the larvae to and from the ant nest at the base of the shrub, to feed on the Sweet Bursaria leaves at night.  In return the ants feed on the sugar secretions exuded from the body of the caterpillar.
  • The butterfly prefers open flight paths and receiving direct sunlight. It likes vegetation with an open middle and understorey.

Karl and Elaine will be conducting Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring sessions around Castlemaine over November and December 2019. We encourage interested people to come along, learn how to monitor and get involved with protecting this special butterfly.

If you’d like to get involved in monitoring please see our relevant blog post (click here) or contact Ivan at Connecting Country (ivan@connectingcountry.org.au)

Here are some photos from our recent event from Ivan Carter, and some lovely Eltham Copper Butterfly photos from Elaine Bayes:

 

Do you have a spare rabbit bait station? – we need your help

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 info@connectingcountry.org.au or calling (03) 5472 1594.

 

 

 

Bird walk at Castlemaine Botanical Gardens – Sunday 20 October 2019

Posted on 9 October, 2019 by Ivan

BirdLife Castlemaine’s next monthly bird walk will be in the beautiful Castlemaine Botanical Gardens.

Local bird legend Tanya Loos will lead an afternoon walk for Bird Week, the same week as the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Bring your binoculars, and if you have a smartphone, come with your Aussie Backyard Bird Count App already downloaded and ready to go. Beginners and families welcome. We will do a count together to get you all set up for the Bird Count!

When: 3.00 pm on Sunday 20 October 2019

Where: Meet outside the Tea Room in Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, Downes Rd, Castlemaine VIC.

Bring: Water, snacks, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, long pants during snake season, and other weather-appropriate gear.

Walks will be cancelled if the temperature is forecast to be 35 degrees or more during the walk period, severe weather warnings are forecast, and/or if the day has been declared a Total Fire Ban.

Questions?: If you have questions about BirdLife Castlemaine’s walks program, you can email them at castlemaine@birdlife.org.au, or call Judy Hopley (0425 768 559) or Asha Bannon (0418 428 721).

Flame Robin enjoying some morning sun (Photo by Bonnie Humphreys)

 

Reminder: Meet Castlemaine’s endangered butterfly – Saturday 12 October 2019

Posted on 8 October, 2019 by Ivan

Last chance to book for this Saturdays wonderful event! We still have some spaces available – all welcome. Come along and learn about our very special local butterfly. See details below.

Click here to make a booking.

Did you know Central Victoria is home to the largest known population of the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly in the world?!

Enjoy these beautiful pictures of the Eltham Copper Butterfly taken by Elaine Bayes.

 

Birdlife Castlemaine District celebrates its first birthday

Posted on 26 September, 2019 by Ivan

Sue, Jane, and Phil celebrate Birdlife Castlemaine District’s first birthday at a bird walk in July (photo: Birdlife Castlemaine District)

Connecting Country work with Birdlife Castlemaine District on many projects and share a common love for our regions birds and biodiversity. It was a significant effort and milestone for Castlemaine to have its own Birdlife branch, highlighting the community support and passion for our nature hotspots and wildlife. The newest branch of BirdLife Australia was officially launched at the Castlemaine Botanic Garden’s Tea rooms in July 2018, meaning they recently celebrated their first birthday!  A belated ‘Happy Birthday’ and congratulations on a fabulous first year to Birdlife Castlemaine District.

How you can be involved with Birdlife Castlemaine District:

‘Like’ their Facebook page: CLICK HERE 

Email castlemaine@birdlife.org.au if you would like to be added to their eNews list.

Become a member of BirdLife Castlemaine District by joining their parent, BirdLife Australia: CLICK HERE 

 

 

 

 

Looking after parks across Victoria – your chance to help!

Posted on 26 September, 2019 by Asha

Parks Victoria are developing a state-wide Land Management Strategy to guide and inform future planning and decision-making across the parks estate. The Strategy is intended to respond to key challenges – including climate change, population growth, changing community needs, increased visitation, invasive pest species, accessibility requirements and more.

Parks Victoria are now inviting communities and stakeholders to provide their feedback on the draft Aspiration and Guiding Principles that will form the basis of the Land Management Strategy.

You can provide feedback online at www.engage.vic.gov.au/lms until midnight Sunday 29 September 2019. Parks Victoria have also prepared an Engagement Park document (click here to download), to support groups promote the engagement and hold conversations.

If you have further questions, you can contact parkstrategymailbox@parks.vic.gov.au

The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) have also offered support and advice through their website: CLICK HERE.

Parks play an important role for biodiversity and habitat refuge. Photo: Alison Pouliot

 

 

Weeds at the Early Stage of Invasion – Thursday 3 October 2019

Posted on 17 September, 2019 by Ivan

The Weeds at the Early Stage of Invasion (WESI) Project, together with Connecting Country, invite you to join us for a session on identifying environmental weeds.

When: Thursday 3 October 2019 from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm
Where: Newstead Community Centre, 9 Lyons St, Newstead, VIC
To register: click here
To download the event flyer: click here

The session will focus on identification of some early invader environmental weeds relevant to the Mount Alexander region. The WESI Project focuses on high risk invasive species at the early stage of invasion (early invaders) that threaten biodiversity. The WESI project works mainly with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria staff looking after public land and biodiversity across Victoria.

This training is targeted at community groups, individuals, organisations and land managers. Come along to learn how to identify these plants, how to record and photograph them, and how to treat and survey the area. Early invaders are plants that have naturalised and started to spread. When spread has just begun, such plants are localised and generally encountered only by chance. Coordinated management intervention (i.e., eradication or containment) is feasible at this stage, due to their highly restricted distributions.

This is a free event with morning tea and lunch provided.

Spaces are limited so please register below asap to ensure you don’t miss out!

For more information please contact Bianca Gold and Kate Blood (WESI Project), or Ivan Carter (Connecting Country):

 

Chilean needle grass was once an emerging weed in this region, but is now established around Taradale (photo by Connecting Country)