Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Nest Box Monitoring Workshop, 8 March 2011

Posted on 15 March, 2011 by Connecting Country

Sixty people including a sizable contingent of children attended the Connecting Country’s Nest Box Monitoring Workshop in Campbells Creek on 8th March. The evening was a great success with lots of audience participation during the formal sessions and animated conversation during supper and after the workshop had finished.

Audience at nest box workshop. Photo: Bronwyn Silver

The workshop began with a talk by Peter Johnson, Senior Biodiversity Office, DSE, who has been monitoring phascogales around Bendigo, Ballarat and Kinglake Ranges for 10 years. Continue Reading »


Connecting Country 2009-2010 Final Report

Posted on 7 March, 2011 by Connecting Country

For an organisation only just laying its founding roots, Connecting Country is very proud of its achievements in 2009-2010. Thanks to funding received through the North Central CMA from the Federal and State Government, we can report that our 09/10 outputs for the project have been completed. This reports celebrates some of these achievements. Click here to read full report.


Autumn Fungi Workshops

Posted on 6 March, 2011 by Connecting Country

Ecologist and environmental photographer, Alison Pouliot, is running the Central Victorian Fungal Ecology Workshop series again this autumn.  Whether you’re interested in identifying, photographing, learning about which ones you can safely consume, or just enjoying an autumn forest stroll to discover this extraordinary kingdom, you might like to attend a workshop.

Alison in the field.

Workshops run from 11am – 5pm and include an extensive display of local fungi species, an illustrated and interactive seminar, and an exciting foray deep into our local forests.  Given the amazing winter rains we can expect a bumper display of fungi this season.

Workshops will also run from Daylesford, Trentham, Creswick, Woodend and Wedderburn.  Cost:  $70.

For full workshops details visit or contact Alison directly at


Launch of Swift Parrot DVD

Posted on 24 February, 2011 by Connecting Country

Over 80 people attended the launch of Debbie Worland’s Swift Parrots of Muckleford DVD at the Castlemaine Market Building today. Chris Tzaros from Birds Australia officially launched the DVD and Debbie detailed the 5 year process of making it. The DVD was produced by Bill Irwin, pictured below, and John Flaus provided the narration.

Debbie Worland, Bill Irwin, Beth Mellick and Chris Tzaros. Photo: Bronwyn Silver, 24 February 2011

If you would like to find out more about the DVD or purchase a copy click here.


Working bees tackle blackberries and gorse

Posted on 18 February, 2011 by Connecting Country

Inspired by the recent Landcare Weed Identification Workshop,  Chewton Bushlands Residents Association held a working bee for the removal of blackberries on GoldSpeck Gully Road /Rankins Road last Sunday. ‘The team of seven was soon working like clockwork and it was inspiring to see the huge bushes cut away from the road’ (Antoinette Birkenbeil).

Glen Harrison about to remove a feral pine and Steve Charman and Cate Freeman tackling the blackberries. Photos: Antoinette Birkenbeil, 13 February 2011

Another working bee tackled gorse during the week at Kalimna Park. There are regular working bees in the Park and at present they take place fortnightly. If you would like to participate ring Geoff Hannon from Friends of Kalimna Park on 5472 5343.

Enthusiastic gorse removers, Geoff Hannon and Bernard Slattery at Kalimna Park. Photos: Bernard Slattery and Bronwyn Silver, 18 February 2011


Muckleford Landcare’s New Blog

Posted on 15 February, 2011 by Connecting Country

Two weeks ago Muckleford Catchment Landcare Group launched a blog to document ‘news, events, activities and images for the Group, and hopefully a place for members of the Muckleford region to share stories and information’.

The first posts provide detailed documentation of two recent projects:  the 2009/10 Creasy’s Road revegetation project and the nest box project in Walmer. Click here to view the site.

Installing a nest box at Walmer South Conservation Reserve. Photo curtesy of Muckleford Landcare.

If other Landcare groups would like help in setting up a similar blog, contact Bronwyn Silver on 5475 1089.


Weed Identification Workshop

Posted on 14 February, 2011 by Connecting Country

Eighteen people attended an informative Weed Identification Workshop at Chinamans Point Road, Chewton on 6th February. The organiser, Fritz Hammersley from Golden Point Landcare, brought along a selection of local weeds to show the group and discussed manual and chemical weed control strategies. Fritz also offered to visit local landholders to help work out the most appropriate weed control strategies for their land. He can be contacted on 5472 1029.

Fritz with the weed, Salsify. Photo: Bronwyn Silver, 6 February 2011.

Pat Radi Mansbridge from Nativfocus also addressed the group. He described the work done over the last 10 years to control gorse and blackberries along Forest Creek between Expedition Pass Reservoir and the Pyrenees Highway. Without this weed control, the area would probably now be 80-90% gorse and blackberries.

The group then walked to an area south of Chinamans Point Road where a DSE fuel reduction burn had taken place last year. As you can see from the photo, at this stage mainly thistles have emerged. More gorse regrowth is anticipated in the coming months.

Weed growth after fuel reduction burn. Photo: Bronwyn Silver, 6 February 2011.


A Shag-Pile Carpet Can Ruin Even a Feral Bee’s Day

Posted on 11 February, 2011 by Connecting Country

The unique climatic conditions we have been experiencing lately have led to some unwelcome environmental consequences. One example is that populations of feral bees are doing well. The competition for hollows has intensified and the timeframe at which a bee colony can occupy a hollow is significantly shorter than that of a phascogale.

The Connecting Country network has been receiving reports of feral bees colonising nest boxes and we are now developing a strategy to remove them. We are looking at coaxing the colony into a more suitable home such as a beehive containing a small offering of food. Once the bees have jumped ship, the nest boxes can be removed, thoroughly cleaned and retro-fitted with shag-pile carpet on the ceiling of the box. The reason for using shag-pile carpet is that bees cannot attach beeswax to it. The nest boxes will then be re-installed in their original location and for their original purpose.

Nest Box colonised by feral bees. Thanks to Denis Gibson for this photo.

We are very interested in hearing from you about nest boxes that have been colonised with bees. If you would like to report a nest box bee colony, please send an email containing your full name and physical address to so that we can follow up with the bee removal program.

One slight difficulty in implementing our removal strategy has arisen from changed carpet fashions! Carpet suppliers have informed us that shag-pile carpet is being discontinued. If you could donate some shag-pile carpet or know of where we could source some, please let us know at the email address above or ring Connecting Country on (03) 5472 1594.


Yellow Box in Flower

Posted on 27 January, 2011 by Connecting Country

Geoff Park recently photographed this Yellow Box in flower at the Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve. Improving landscapes in Yellow-Box Woodlands has been a central focus for Connecting Country.

Yellow Box in Flower, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, 26 January 2011

The photo below shows some mature Yellow Box in the Reserve.

Yellow Box, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, 26 January 2011


Victorian Landcare Employment Toolkit has been revised

Posted on 23 February, 2010 by Connecting Country

The Employment Guidelines and Toolkit is a practical guide to assist with the employment and management of Landcare Support Persons in Victoria.

The toolkit includes guidelines and  a framework for employment, and templates and examples such as position description, work plan, employment agreement, performance review, draft OH & S code of practice.

The content of the kit has recently been updated to better suit current employment conditions. The templates are now available indvidually in MS word format to make them easier to access, adapt to your groups situation and use.

You can find the toolkit by clicking here.


Farm Biosecurity Website Launched

Posted on 9 February, 2010 by Connecting Country

Whether you are a livestock producer, a plant producer, or both, farm biosecurity is important.

The Farm Biosecurity website is part of the Farm Biosecurity campaign, a joint initiative of Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia.  The Farm Biosecurity website has a range of information on people, product and equipment movement as well as manuals and other materials.

Click here to visit the Farm Biosecurity website.


Australian Landcare Council reinstated

Posted on 22 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

The Rudd Government has reinforced its commitment to the Landcare movement by reactivating the Australian Landcare Council and appointing former Western Australia Agriculture Minister Kim Chance as Chair of the Council.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said Landcare plays a vital role in natural resource management across Australia and has more than 100,000 volunteers in around 4,500 groups.

Read more here.


State Government releases 50 year vision for Victorian environment

Posted on 22 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

The Victorian Government has released “Securing our Future: A white paper for land and biodiversity at a time of climate change”, a document 4 years in the making.

The white paper’s vision is to reverse the loss of nature and reconnect one of the most fragmented landscapes in Australia.

Commentators highlight that substantial investment will be required to make the goals of the white paper a reality.

Environment groups alsoexpressed concern at the proposals to overhaul the state’s main conservation legislation, including abolishing the independent Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC).

For more information:

Read the Victoria Naturally Alliance summary of the White Paper here.

“Environmental management to be streamlined” – The Age

View the White Paper on the DSE website.


Current funding opportunities

Posted on 11 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

Grants & Funding websites

–   Grantslink

–   DAFF grants & assistance

–   DEWHA grants & funding

–  FRRR grants

–  Caring for our Country funding


FarmReady reimbursement grants

Posted on 11 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

FarmReady Reimbursement Grants, for courses completed prior to 30 May 2012, assist primary producers and Indigenous land managers to attend approved training courses aimed at improving their capacity to adapt to climate change and increase self reliance and preparedness. Application forms need to be lodged and approved prior to attending approved courses, followed by submitting the claim for reimbursement (up to 30 days after the completion of the course).

Managed by the department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, further information and application/claim forms can be accessed on their website here.


Golden Sun Moth spotted in Muckleford and Spring Gully

Posted on 8 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

The critically endangered Golden Sun Moth has been spotted in the Muckleford and Spring Gully areas.

The Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana) is a bronze coloured day-time flying moth, with clubbed antennae.   The upper-side of the forewing is dark bronze brown and grey.   The hindwing of males is dark brown whilst females have bright orange hind wings with black spots.   Adult males are larger (3.5cm) than females (3.0cm).

The moth occurs in Natural Temperate Grasslands and grassy Box-Gum Woodlands where the ground layer is predominantly wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia species).  Grasslands dominated by wallaby grasses are typically low and open.   The bare ground between the tussocks is thought to be an important feature for the Golden Sun Moth – it is on these bare spaces that females are observed displaying to attract males.   Habitat may contain several wallaby grass species typically associated with other grasses particularly spear-grasses (Austrostipa species.) or Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis).

Golden Sun Moth Female Golden Sun Moth. Photo: R. Zollinger

For more information and to report sightings contact;

Nathan Wong
Grassy Ecosystems Co-ordinator
Trust for Nature

60 Leathbridge Rd
Welshmans Reef 3462

Ph: 0458 965 329
Ph/Fax 03 5476 2239


A new wildlife freeway – Treeway – in Muckleford

Posted on 8 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

An innovative biolink project in Creasys Road, Muckleford was celebrated on Saturday by members of the Muckleford Catchment Landcare Group.  The project involves the planting of some 6300 trees and bushes in a 2.3 ha strip along Creasys Road and Turners Lane, together with a linking  section to Chinamans Creek.

Planting was undertaken by members of Muckleford Landcare in September and October after extensive site preparation, including collapsing of rabbit warrens and deep ripping by Yeomans plow.  The majority of planting has been undertaken on private land which has now been fenced off to protect the new vegetation from grazing and pests.  Three landholders along Creasys Road agreed to set aside portions of their land for this project.

Further information about the activities of the Muckleford Catchment Landcare Group can be found at or by contacting the Secretary Paul Hampton, on 5474 2189.

creasys launch 205

L – R: David Griffiths (Project Officer) , Sue Slaytor (Project Manager & participating landowner), David Whillas (participating landowner) and Cr Christine Henderson.


Priority veg Yellow Box Woodlands – View layer in google earth

Posted on 3 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

The priority vegetation for Connecting Country’s 2009-2010 funding is Yellow-Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) Woodlands.

You can download a file from this website and drape it accross Google Earth to view where Yellow Box Woodlands occur, right accross the Mt Alexander Shire.

From the home page – Click on ‘Current Projects’ tab – Go to the bottom of the page, click on ‘On Ground Works’ link – Go to the bottom of the page, click on ‘Priority Vegetation’ link.


BushTender announce Round 2 Expressions of Interest

Posted on 3 December, 2009 by Connecting Country

The DSE’s BushTender program is currently operating in North Central Victoria, including all of Mt Alexander Shire.

Connecting Country is funding extra projects in the Mt Alexander Region.

To register call 136 186 or email

Visit the DSE website here for full details.


Creasys Road Revegetation Project Launch

Posted on 27 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

Come and be inspired by this fantastic project!

The Muckleford Catchment Landcare Group invites you to the official launch of the Creasys Road Revegetation Project.

The project will be launched by Cr Brook Acklom. A walking tour of the project will be conducted by the Project Manager, Sue Slaytor. This will be followed by an informal BBQ with refreshments. Please bring your children, your neighbors, your friends and your own chairs.

Where: Northern Boundary of 89 Creasys Road, Muckleford (look for the signs on the day).

RSVP: Paul Hampton, Secretary, 5474 2189, by Monday 30 November.