Posted on 15 May, 2019 by Frances
Castlemaine Landcare Group is holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) along with a talk by Brian Bainbridge on conserving the Murnong, or yam daisy. The sweet tubers of the Murnong were a staple food for Aboriginal people. Myrnong was widespread in our region prior to European settlement, and there is now considerable interest in restoring them to our landscape.
Brian is a Taradale resident and has been the Biodiversity Officer at Hepburn Shire for just over a year. He has over twenty years experience working with Merri Creek Management Committee, an artist’s eye, and a drive to explore Central Victoria’s nature. Brian has been involved in planting of Murnong along Merri Creek and will talk about what he learned from those efforts.
After Brian’s talk, there will be some other brief talks on bird monitoring, water watchers, creek history and a waterway plan.
Castlemaine Landcare Group AGM and Myrnong talk
When: 7.30 pm on Thursday 23 May 2019
Where: Castlemaine Primary School (corner of Urquhart and Forest Streets, Castlemaine VIC)
Further information: Contact Castlemaine Landcare Group – click here
All are cordially invited to attend.
Posted on 14 May, 2019 by Asha
Want to find out who’s hiding in the nestboxes in Walmer? Join Muckleford Catchment Landcare this Sunday to look for threatened Brush-tailed Phascogales and other wildlife. They will use a special camera to do a live-stream of what’s inside the nestboxes, and enter data into the Atlas of Living Australia.
When: Sunday 19 May 2019 at 10.00 am
Where: Walmer Conservation Reserve (Muckleford-Walmer Road, Walmer VIC)
More information: call Beth on 0431 219 980
Posted on 13 May, 2019 by Asha
Maldon Urban Landcare Group (MULGA) is holding a walk around some of Maldon’s ‘Living Treasures’ on Saturday 1 June 2019 at 9.30 am, starting at the rotunda in Maldon Shire Gardens in High St, Maldon VIC. This is your chance to discover some of Maldon’s very old trees, and also learn how to identify local indigenous eucalypts. It will be an easy walk to Bill Woodfull Reserve and Maldon Primary School, followed by morning tea. The walk will be cancelled if it’s raining.
CLICK HERE to learn more about MULGA’s work mapping and protecting Maldon’s ‘Living Treasures’.
For more information, contact MULGA Secretary Bev Phillips by phone (0407 770 350) or email (email@example.com)
Posted on 9 May, 2019 by Ivan
In 2017, Connecting Country successfully obtained a grant from the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning to deliver a series of training workshops to the region’s Landcare and other community groups. The aim was to provide practical support to local Landcarers and other community members, and strengthen their groups’ capacity to be safe, self-sufficient and sustainable.
Connecting Country supports and works closely with around 30 Landcare and Friends groups in the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria, as well as many other landholders and volunteers. To enhance the practical support we provide, we have been running free training for Landcare groups, Connecting Country staff and committee, and other community members in governance, financial management, health and safety, and first aid.
This training will enable Connecting Country and our local groups to operate more effectively, follow safe work practices, respond to first aid emergencies, increase robustness of financial management, and improve their organisational practices. Governance training and financial training for committee members of local groups helps them be more efficient, and more aware of relevant government regulations, their accountability and obligations to their members. First aid training gives people the knowledge and confidence to address emergency health situations that may arise during working bees and other events.
Community education is a core activity of Connecting Country, as defined in our Strategic Plan. Annually since 2010, we’ve coordinated a comprehensive program of educational and capacity building events for local landholders, Landcare and Friends groups, staff, committee and the community in general. From a variety of methods (e.g., feedback forms, evaluations, steering group meetings, Landcare Link-up sessions), Landcare groups and their members have made us aware of the types of training and capacity building activities that would be most beneficial.
Participant feedback on the training has been extremely positive. If you are interested in hearing more about future training opportunities, please subscribe to our Enews, or contact Asha Bannon on 5472 1594 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on 9 May, 2019 by Ivan
National Reconciliation Week 2019 is part of the Reconciliation Movement’s efforts to support Australians in making progress on the Five Dimensions required to achieve reconciliation. Each year the theme engages with one of the Five Dimensions.
This year’s theme focuses on building positive race relations: ‘Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage’.
There are some great local events happening around Castlemaine, involving one of Connecting Country’s local partners – Nalderun. Details are provided in the poster below.
Posted on 9 May, 2019 by Ivan
Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club have a very special speaker for their May 2019 General Meeting.
The Turquoise Parrot – conservation successes in north east Victoria
Speaker: Chris Tzaros, wildlife ecologist, photographer and author of ‘Wildlife of the Box Ironbark Country’ book
When: 7.30 pm on Friday 10 May 2019
Where: Uniting Church Hall, behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC (next to Castlemaine Art Museum)
Once faced with extinction in the early 1900s, the Turquoise Parrot has made a remarkable comeback and now exists throughout many parts of Victoria, NSW and southern Queensland. Although still listed as threatened, there are some areas where it has established secure localised populations. One such area is the hills of north-east Victoria, where a campaign to address key threats and improve the species’ habitat has been operating for about six years.
Community involvement has been instrumental to the programs success, with private landholders actively participating in a raft of activities that will hopefully allow this spectacular little bird to enjoy a bright future. This is an inspiring conservation success story that provides hope for other conservation initiatives.
The talk is open to both members and visitors – bring along friends and family. Tea and snacks available afterwards. There is no cost for attendance.
For more information please contact Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club – click here
Posted on 7 May, 2019 by Asha
Along Forest Creek, Castlemaine, a transformation is taking place. Two years ago, the state government removed a large area of poplar trees, just down from Patterson Bridge on Duke Street, to make way for native species and encourage wildlife back to the area. Last year, Castlemaine Landcare Group, with help from many fantastic volunteers, planted 1,500 plants – trees, shrubs, grasses and sedges. Despite dry weather, their growth has been dramatic.
This Mother’s Day, they want to plant more! A mammoth planting event is planned for Sunday 12 May at 9.30 am at the former poplars site, where Duke Street crosses Forest Creek. Anyone and everyone is invited to come down to plant, celebrate Mother’s Day, and share a cup of tea or coffee.
Castlemaine Landcare would love to see this area restored for the community to use and to increase local biodiversity. Come and see the difference a year makes and how you can help – bring your Mum, kids, family and friends!
Please wear stout footwear and gardening gloves. The ground is rough and there are some hazards like old blackberry brambles, tree stumps and roots. Morning tea will be provided.
Where: Forest Creek at Patterson Bridge on Duke Street (near Happy Valley Road intersection) Castlemaine VIC
When: 9:30 am to 12 noon on Sunday 12 May 2019
Parking: Limited parking is available on Happy Valley Road, or park on Duke Street (near Best Motors) and walk 200 m to the planting area
More information: Please email Christine at email@example.com
Posted on 2 May, 2019 by Frances
Be prepared and help look after yourself and those around you
Learn how to give First Aid or update your knowledge
Gain an essential life skill that everyone should have!
What would you do if you’re with:
- A friend who was bitten by a venomous snake or spider?
- A child who is unconscious and bleeding?
- A family member who might be having heart attack or stroke?
Connecting Country has funding through the Victorian government to provide free First Aid training to community members. Anyone who is volunteering in the environment space, doing conservation work on their land, or thinking of joining a Landcare or Friends group is especially encouraged to register. Training will be delivered by Castlemaine District Community Health with all costs covered by Connecting Country. All are welcome to register, but places are limited, so get in quick!
Level II First Aid Training (#HLTAID003 Provide First Aid)
When: Tuesday 18 June 2019 from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm
Where: Castlemaine – venue be confirmed
To register: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, email address and phone number
More info: Please call 5472 1594 or email email@example.com
A shorter CPR refresher course (#HLTAID001 Provide Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) is available for those with current first aid qualifications, as part of the same training session. Contact us for details.
For a training information poster, please click here
Posted on 1 May, 2019 by Ivan
This year’s Victorian Biolinks Alliance symposium is on ‘Bolstering the refuges: Restoring health and resilience to remnant ecosystems at a time of climate change‘.
It will held on Friday 24 May 2019 in Euroa VIC.
- Jacqui Stol of CSIRO – Box Gum Woodland restoration and woodland birds.
- Associate Professor Euan Richie – Ecosystem restoration and reintroduction of function for, and by, digging mammals.
- Professor Don Driscoll – Insects in fragmented agricultural landscapes.
This stimulating event is a great networking opportunity. Field-based workshops on ecosystem-process restoration will also explore some practical dimensions of restoring grassland and woodland ecosystems, visiting innovative local projects.
For more information and to book, please visit the Biolinks Alliance website: click here
Connecting Country is a member of the Biolinks Alliance.
Posted on 1 May, 2019 by Ivan
Come and join Birdlife Castlemaine District on two great walks coming up in May! For details, please see the following information from Birdlife Castlemaine.
Saturday 4 May 2019 – Red, White and Blue Mine Site, Muckleford Forest
As usual, we will do a couple of 20 minute 2 hectare surveys. If we’re really lucky, we may even spot some Swift Parrots at this site! Asha Bannon will lead us on a gentle walk along Bells Track, which is a level and easy-to-follow path. We won’t be going far (2 km maximum). Information about the site’s history, ecological values, and location can be found here.
Please note that there is a dam near the car park and, while the mine is covered, there are some decent-sized gaps in the mesh, so keep a close eye on any children you bring along.
Location and directions: From Castlemaine, take the Castlemaine-Maldon Road. Turn south onto Muckleford-Walmer Road, then right onto the Muckleford School Road, continuing into Muckleford Forest. We will meet at the car park next to the mine, at the intersection of Bells Lane Track and Red, White and Blue Track.
Time: Meet at Red, White and Blue Mine at 8.30 am, or to carpool from Castlemaine meet at 8.15 am outside Castlemaine Community House (former Continuing Ed), 30 Templeton Street, Castlemaine VIC.
Following the walk, you are welcome to join us at the BirdLife Castlemaine District Annual General Meeting.
Sunday 26 May 2019 – Rise and Shine Reserve, Sandon
Join BirdLife Branches Ballarat and Castlemaine District for a bird walk at Rise and Shine Reserve, located between Newstead and Daylesford. The Reserve is a hot spot for renowned photographer, ecologist and blog publisher Geoff Park. We will walk a loop on rough dirt vehicle tracks, with the possibility of walking off track through the bush. Afterwards if you’re keen for more bird watching, you can do the Rise and Shine Reserve Nature Walk accessed via Ramseys Lane.
Location and directions: Turn off the Daylesford-Newstead Road onto Zumpes Road, which is narrow a dirt road with blind crests. Continue straight ahead at the first road junction (turning left will take you to private property). Currently there are beehives on your right. Strictly speaking you will no longer be on Zumpes Road. Shortly after this is another road junction with a ‘No Through Road’ sign on it – find a place to park here.
Time: Meet at Rise and Shine Reserve at 9.00 am, or to carpool from Castlemaine meet at 8.30 am outside Castlemaine Community House (former Continuing Ed), 30 Templeton Street, Castlemaine VIC.
Important information about walks: 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 our walks program, you can email BirdLife Castlemaine at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Judy Hopley (0425 768 559) or Asha Bannon (0418 428 721).
Posted on 1 May, 2019 by Jess
Bird monitoring at Connecting Country
Scientific monitoring has always been a high priority at Connecting Country. As of 2019, our staff and volunteers have collected over 24,000 individual bird records, and our data has been analysed by experts at BirdLife Australia and La Trobe University.
Thanks to funding from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for our Habitat Health Check project, we’re transitioning from in-house monitoring to a community-driven monitoring model. This program will draw upon the power of the community to contribute as volunteer citizen scientists. Our citizen scientists are key players in the entire scientific process – including the development of research and monitoring questions – as well as collecting data.
Here is your opportunity to get involved!
Connecting Country and Birdlife Castlemaine District are running a workshop from 1.00 pm on Sunday 19 May 2019 in Chewton VIC. We’ll be asking community members what we most need to learn about birds in the Mount Alexander Shire. There will be lots of opportunity for your input and discussion.
If you’re interested in local birds, we’d love to have your input on the day. In the meantime, please have a think about what questions you have about our bird populations.
Register here: https://www.trybooking.com/BCLHD.
Please feel free to contact email@example.com if you need any further information.
Also – save the date!
We will be recruiting team leaders and volunteers to inform and guide our various citizen science programs (including birders, nest box enthusiasts, plant nuts, reptile watchers and froggers). To start with, Birdlife Castlemaine district and Connecting Country will be running a workshop on bird monitoring in the afternoon on Sunday 23 June 2019. Details to follow!
Posted on 18 April, 2019 by Ivan
BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch is holding their 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM). The meeting will follow the bird walk scheduled for Saturday 4 May at Muckleford Forest. Morning tea will be available from 11.00 am.
Birdlife Castlemaine District 2019 AGM
When: Saturday 4 May 2019 at 11.30 am
Where: 2356 Pyrenees Highway, Muckleford South VIC
Birdlife Castlemaine are keen for nominations for the committee. A nomination form for committee positions is can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The positions vacant are Convenor, Secretary, Treasurer and general committee members. A proxy voting form is also available via email or print.
Nomination forms and proxy voting forms should be emailed to email@example.com, or posted to:
Secretary, BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch, 9 Tingay Drive, Campbells Creek, VIC 3451
Nominations will also be accepted on the day of the AGM.
Posted on 18 April, 2019 by Jacqui
Registrations are open for the Victorian Weeds Conference in Echuca on 7-8 May 2019.
We are excited to see local group the Tarrangower Cactus Warriors presenting on the role of biological control in the war against Wheel Cactus, as part of the community action session. The broader conference program will cover a diverse and interesting range of topics including environmental and agricultural weed control, biological control, community action, species in the spotlight, innovative solutions, and demonstrations.
The program includes an optional lunch cruise through the Gannawarra Wetlands at Koondrook on 8 May 2019.
Victorian Weeds Conference 2019
Where: Mercure Port of Echuca, 465 High St, Echuca VIC
When: 7-8 May 2019
Cost: $100-$210, see pricing details here
Registrations close on 1 May 2019.
Posted on 16 April, 2019 by Frances
Back by popular demand!
Due to the success of the March course, Hillside Acres is running another Beginners Farm Fencing course on Sunday 28 April 2019 in Harcourt VIC.
Jarrod from Hillside Acres says:
‘We will build a new farm fence so you can try all the skills that go into fencing. You will come away with the skills and knowledge to design and construct a new fence, and repair old fences.’
This hands-on course will be run in Harcourt from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm with a substantial and yummy morning tea supplied.
Cost is $150 per person.
This will be a fun and friendly opportunity to learn farm fencing.
To see the course flier – click here
For more information and bookings contact Jarrod by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (0438 069 849).
Posted on 16 April, 2019 by Frances
Bendigo Field Naturalists Club and Snowgum Press Films are presenting a special screening of the documentary ‘The Desperate Plight of the Orange-bellied Parrot’, a film by David Neilson on Wednesday 8 May 2019 in Bendigo, Victoria
The Orange-bellied Parrot migrates between the Australian mainland and Tasmania, spending summer breeding in Tasmania and winter in coastal Victoria and South Australia. It is one of Australia’s most threatened species, with less than 50 parrots thought to exist in the wild. Like many of our local birds, threats include habitat loss and modification, predation by cats and foxes and weeds, as well as collisions with structures, and inbreeding.
This is a fundraising event for the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot. All funds raised go to support conservation efforts. Tickets are $15 (children free). Numbers are limited so register now to secure a seat. A special ‘meet the film-maker’ session and nature photography discussion is available prior to the screening ($20).
For further information please see the flyer – click here.
To find out what is being done to preserve the habitat and remaining populations of the Orange-bellied Parrot, please visit the Birdlife Australia website by clicking here
Posted on 16 April, 2019 by Ivan
The Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) are conducting their monthly walk this Easter Sunday (21 April 2019), along Salters Creek near Castlemaine. These regular Sunday walks (click here for dates) are free and open to anyone to join. They meet at 9.30 am outside Castlemaine Community House (30 Templeton St, Castlemaine VIC) and carpool to the start of the walk. Please bring water, morning tea and lunch. Walks usually finish mid afternoon and are cancelled on Total Fire Ban days in the area.
This month’s walk will be along Salters Creek in Glenluce. Starting at the Hunters track dam, the 5 km walk includes some tracks, some walking through bush along the creek bed and a couple of rough steep climbs. FOBIF suggests that if you usually use walking poles, bring them along for this walk. As it’s Easter Sunday they have planned a shorter walk and plan to be back in town by 1.00 pm.
For more information contact Julie Hurley or Rex Odgers on 0427 002 913.
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.
Posted on 9 April, 2019 by Ivan
Landcare groups have worked hard to help restore and revegetate many of our urban waterways within the Shire of Mount Alexander of central Victoria. The Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities has just released a new product designed to walk practitioners through the nine components of repairing or designing a living stream site on a flowing urban waterway, and to support them in working out which actions to take.
The 13 factsheets about improving the ecological function of urban waterways cover nine different ecological components of flowing waterways: flow, geomorphology, riparian, connectivity (longitudinal, lateral, vertical), water quality (nutrients, physico-chemistry including toxicants) and biota. Most components have two factsheets—one for what to do at the site scale and the other for what to do at the catchment scale—so practitioners have more context and can work at both spatial scales.
Each factsheet gives the practitioner strategies to follow and the situations where the strategy will be most suitable and effective. Actions, rationales, and the relevant technical guidelines to follow are outlined for each strategy, as are clear diagrams and a list of useful supporting documents. The factsheets aren’t prescriptive but provide a useful resource for better understanding the environmental factors and urban constraints at a restoration site, and how each might be addressed.
The urban waterways of Castlemaine have seen great improvements over the years, and may benefit further from the implementation of these useful resources. These factsheets provide a practical starting point and an instructive resource for restoring urban waterway sites, such as a creek or stream channel, a constructed drain, a lowland river or a living stream built in a new urban development.
For more information or to download the factsheets, please click here
Posted on 9 April, 2019 by Ivan
Remembering the Wild are asking the community to celebrate our unique range of Eucalyptus species by voting for your favorite species in the annual Eucalyptus of the Year 2019 Awards. Last year the top spot was awarded to the quintessential River Red Gum, with the Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) and Ghost Gum (Corymbia aparrerinja) close contenders.
Whichever is your favourite, now is your chance to share it with the world! It’s only the second week of the Eucalypt of the Year campaign, and already the nominations are coming in thick and fast. If you want your favourite to win, you’re going to have to get involved, make your nomination and campaign for others to vote for your contender. Use the #EucalyptoftheYear hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, send votes in via Eucalypt Australia’s Facebook inbox, or enter via their online form here.
For more details on the award, and some excellent photos from last years awards, please click here.
You might recall that Remember the Wild were the producers of the excellent five minute video on Connecting Country, titled ‘Safeguarding Woodland Birds’. We were very impressed by the quality of this video, starring some of our staff, volunteers and committee members in some special places. Have a watch below if you are yet to view this video.
Posted on 9 April, 2019 by Ivan
The guest speaker at the next Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club general meeting is Euan Moore, who will present a talk titled ‘Tracking Boom and Bust – Bird Surveys around Innamincka’.
Euan writes ‘Since 2011 members of the Friends of Innamincka Reserves have been conducting bird surveys on an almost annual basis in the Innamincka Regional Reserve. During that time we have seen the boom years following the floods from Cyclone Yasi to the intense drought of recent years as well as the impacts of grazing, mining, tourism and weed infestation. The deserts in this area are harsh but beautiful. Permanent waterholes along Cooper Ck provide a drought refuge for wildlife and in the years after flood the Coongie Lakes are magical.’
The presentation will be held in the Fellowship Room behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine, VIC, commencing from 7.30 pm on Friday 12 April 2019. Members and visitors are all welcome, and there is no cost for entry. It will no doubt be a special evening and a good chance to be entertained and educated by a local expert.