Learning under the stars – Camp Out on the Mount 2019
Posted on 16 April, 2019 by Asha
Over 130 people attended the popular Camp Out on the Mount last weekend! Every year we invite people to gather for a fun night of camping and learning, to celebrate the beautiful Leanganook/Mount Alexander and the work that Landcare and Friends groups do all year round.
Saturday evening commenced at Leanganook Camping Ground with a beautiful Welcome to Country from Aunty Kerri Douglas representing Dja Dja Wurrung. She invited everyone to take off their shoes and connect to country around the campfire. Harcourt Lions Club prepared and served a delicious BBQ to the crowd. Once the coals in the campfire had settled in, the Mellick-Cooper family carried on tradition by setting up their damper-making table for all to share.
As the sun set, Mike Hayes from Parks Victoria gathered a group of about 50 together to set out on a spotlighting night walk through the bush. The group included all ages from babies to teenagers to adults. The group spotted two Brush-tailed Possums – a delight for everyone, but especially special for our visiting students from France!
On Sunday morning, campers were woken by a chorus of birds and a sunny morning. Things kicked off again with morning tea provided by Murnong Mummas, followed by a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony with Uncle Michael Bourke. With a further welcomes from Maree Edwards MP, Connecting Country, Little Habitat Heroes, and Harcourt Valley Landcare, local legend George Milford then facilitated a discussion between local experts, including Terri Williams (Bendigo TAFE), Michael Bourke (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation), Ian Braybrook and Marilyn Bennet (authors of ‘Sarah’s search – a silk odyssey’). They spoke about the values of the mount from the perspectives of the environment, culture, and heritage.
Local musician Eva Popov delighted us with her song, ‘Seeds that grow’, encouraging everyone to join the chorus around the campfire. The song is about the mount and the revegetation planting done by Little Habitat Heroes.
Little Habitat Heroes volunteers ran a lovely Bush Playgroup where kids could do things like play with clay and colour in pictures of wildlife while listening to the talks and singing.
Keen participants then joined a special activity to clean native Tree Violet seed ready for planting, kindly donated by Frances Cincotta from Newstead Natives. All were encouraged to take some seed home to grow their very own Tree Violet, which provides habitat for native birds and other wildlife.
To wrap up the weekend, everyone was invited to make their way down to the Old Silk Worm Farm site to see the heritage ruins and the amazing land restoration work done. Work so far includes pine removal at past Camp Out on the Mount events, and revegetation of 900 plants by Little Habitat Heroes with support from Connecting Country. Free ‘Camp Out on the Mount’ t-shirts, designed and printed by Big Tree T-shirts and funded by Mount Alexander Shire Council, were a great souvenir for people to take home.
This free annual event was organised by Connecting Country, Little Habitat Heroes and local Landcare groups, supported by funding from North Central Catchment Management Authority through the Victorian Landcare Program, and Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests. Connecting Country and Little Habitat Heroes would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped to make the weekend a success, including everyone who volunteered their time to make sure things ran smoothly.