Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Employment opportunity

Posted on 25 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

Applications are now open for DSE BushTender Field Officer.

The positions are based in Bendigo.

The position description can be found on

Closing date for applications is 30th August and applicants must apply on-line.

Any questions about the positions please call,

Michelle Ballentine
BushTender Project Officer
Native Vegetation Programs
Department of Sustainability and Environment

Ph: (03) 9637 9027

Mob: 0458 382 289


Brush-tailed Phasocale stuffing

Posted on 24 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

I sent 2 dead Brush-tailed Phascogale specimens off to the Museum of Victoria to be stuffed and mounted for the Connecting Country project to use for education purposes.  However, neither specimens could be used.  The taxidermist told me that with small mammals like phascogales the road kill has to be very fresh.  If you find a dead Phascogale, it needs to be frozen within 1 hour of its kill (or natural death).  So if anyone manages to get a fresh Phascogale into the freezer I would definitely like to come and collect it and have the taxidermist have another go.  Feel free to contact me on

Thanks, Beth Mellick, The Norman Wettenhall Foundation, 5472 1316


Friends of Campbells Creek August Working Bee

Posted on 20 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

Postponed till 13 September 2009.

After a full slather of working bees and extra planting days over the past few weeks, we’ll take a well-earned break and gather our strength for September’s working bee.  Location Tbc.

If anyone wants to be involved in small informal working parties over the next month or helping out the
local schools in their Landcare project, please contact David King on 0408 993 688


Nth Harcourt/Sedgwick Landcare Group Annual Planting Day and BBQ

Posted on 20 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

In order to continue our Barkers Creek Project join us for our planting day – our aim is to revegetate Barkers Creek from the spring to the reservoir as far as we can get.

Over the last 2 years we have planted over a distance of approx.  3 km from Ford Rd (Dingle property) around the bend to North Harcourt Rd down to the Pinder property. This working bee will continue our good work from previous planting days.

Meet at 329 North Harcourt Rd (opposite Barkers Road, Harcourt North)

Bring sturdy boots, weather proof gear and a planting tool.

Please join us for a BBQ on site after planting.

Please RSVP for catering purposes.

Contact Karoline Klein on 5439 6080


Baynton Sidonia Landcare Group AGM

Posted on 20 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

The committee of the Baynton Sidonia Landcare Group invites the members together with residents of the district to the Native Display Garden on the roadside at the entrance to ‘Rowanston on the Track’ Winery.

A walk, talk and place species signs in the Display Garden. This will be an opportunity to see which plants do best in the area, and to learn more about their characteristics and requirements. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

A BBQ lunch will follow.

Please RSVP by Thursday 20th August for catering purposes.

Contact Carl Reeve on 5423 7110 or 0412 144 936


Castlemaine landcare group august working bee

Posted on 20 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

Castlemaine Landcare Group August working bee at the new waterhole close to the start of the Happy Valley walking track. There are 500 plants to get in so if anyone can come earlier (from 9am) to help lay things out, that would be great.

Bring:  Planting tools, mash hammers, buckets.

Robin Haylett, 0408 706630 & 5470 6630

10am, Sunday August 23rd.


Report on Connecting Country’s Future Planning Workshop

Posted on 18 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

Report on Connecting Country’s Future Planning Workshop, August 5th, 2009

More than 60 people from the local environmental community attended the workshop, including members of “Friends of” and other environmental advocacy groups, education and natural resource management professionals, and many members of the landcare community.  Participants all brought enthusiasm and local knowledge to share with everyone.  The workshop aimed to collect a set of information based on local knowledge of the special places in our region.  The information provided is currently being collated in a database.  Once this is finished, Connecting Country will sort through the data and more detailed planning for on ground projects can begin.

Geoff Park gave a presentation outlining the recently announced Federal and State Government funding, particularly describing the conditions attached to the funding (Tuans and Yellow-box woodlands).

  • A summary of the funding is available here as a pdf.
  • The map of priority vegetation can be found on the funding summary pdf.

Participants were guided through a process of identifying environmental assets on the maps provided and then compiling a list of information about that asset.  The information was recorded on a template that is based on the cutting edge of environmental Project Planning.  We received 96 completed templates.

  • The blank template is available here here a Word document.
  • The example template is available here as a pdf.

David King from Friends of Campbells Creek gave a presentation on how the natural assets along the Campbells Creek catchment were identified and put into a management plan so that everyone knew what needed to be done and how it could happen.

Many thanks go to;
Geoff Park and Krista Patterson-Majoor for facilitating; Margarita Adler for catering; Welshmans Reef Vineyard and Langanook Winery, Ben Laycock, Eliza Tree and Mahmoud for the map of the region, and to all the helping hands.


Fancy yourself as a wildlife photographer?

Posted on 13 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

Trust for Nature is looking for original images of Victoria’s bushland and wildlife to feature in its 2010 desk calendar. Entry is open to professional and amateur photographers alike.
Competition closes October 31st, 2009.

For full details and a competition entry form visit the Trust for Nature website.


Victorian Landcare Awards 2009

Posted on 13 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

Voting is now open for the Victorian Landcare Awards 2009.

Visit the website to vote for our local heroes!

The website has a full list of nominated people.  Some familiar names might include Caroline Lovel from Baringhup Landcare Group, Geoff Park from Newstead Landcare Group, Ian Grenda from the Tarrangower Cactus Control Committee, Penny Roberts from Newham and District Landcare Group, and Judy Crocker from Mid Loddon Sub-Catchment Management Group

The winner will be announced on September 8th.


Landcare Week celebrates 20 year milestone

Posted on 13 August, 2009 by Connecting Country

This year we will celebrate 20 years in the Landcare journey.  Landcare week celebrates the huge contribution landcare volunteers have made to their local communities over the past 20 years, as well as encouraging others to put their hands up and get involved.

Landcare Week 2009 will run from the 7th – 11th September.

See the Landcare Week website for more information and to register your event.


position vacant – project manager

Posted on 26 July, 2009 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country (Mount Alexander Region) Inc invites applications for the position of Project Manager.

Connecting Country is seeking to appoint a resourceful, innovative and collaborative Project Manager to guide its landscape scale restoration project through the next phase of implementation.

The position is for 12 months with an extension subject to further funding.  The position salary is between $55,000 and $65,000.

Position Description available in ‘Documents and Publications’ on this website or contact Secretary Jan Hall on 5470 5556

For further information contact

Written applications should be marked Confidential – Project Manager: Connecting Country and  be submitted to The Secretary, PO Box 437, Castlemaine VIC 3450

by 5.00 p.m., Tuesday August 18th, 2009.


national tree day event @ castlemaine

Posted on 22 July, 2009 by Connecting Country

Castlemaine Landcare Group will be holding an event as part of National Tree Day

Site Address: Happy Valley walking track

Enter from Montgomery Street

Along Happy Valley Walking Track, approx half way between Colles Road and Happy Valley Road. Entry can be gained from Montgomery Street, where an unformed track leads down to the working site. We will be working on the flat (affectionately known as Rabbit Flat for obvious reasons) and also at the end of the path leading down from Montgomery Street.
Please wear appropriate clothing and bring gloves, buckets, hand tools for planting. The area is safe for children to ride bikes and play. No toilets on site.
Further enquiries:
Robin Haylett, CLG Projects Coordinator, on 5472 6630

Aims of the project: Happy Valley Walking Track joins Castlemaine with other areas of the goldfields. It runs part way along Forest Creek and in recent years was so ridden with gorse and other woody weeds that there was no access to the creek or through the Valley. With regeneration, the creek is now becoming accessible and a place of local enjoyment again. This year’s planting is part of a long term program which involves ongoing maintenance and monitoring.


National tree day event @ Chewton

Posted on 20 July, 2009 by Connecting Country

Golden Point Landcare, Post Office Hill Action Group and the Chewton Primary School will be having a tree planting day on 31st July for National Tree day.
The planting will be at Post Office Hill near the Chewton Primary School.
This event will start at 11.30am and finish early afternoon.
For further details contact Nick Haliday 54722 380 or


My Victorian Waterway Survey

Posted on 2 July, 2009 by Connecting Country

World first research into the social importance of waterways is happening in Victoria.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment are coordinating a survey to find out about how Victorian communities use and value waterways.

You are invited to be a part of it.   Simply complete the online survey by the 31st July.  It takes about 15 minutes.

All Victorian adults (18 years and older) can complete the survey and help shape waterway management throughout the State.


Connecting Country is changing

Posted on 23 June, 2009 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country’s Public Meeting

At Buda 42 Hunter Street Castlemaine

Open at 7 o’clock for a 7.30 start.

We invite you to be part of working with a local project to represent all groups involved in the management of a healthy, resilient and productive natural environment.

The public meeting on Monday 29th June is for the Connecting Country project to become incorporated.

As part of this process the beginnings of a formalised structure is being proposed to support the organisation:

  • membership entitlement is automatic for all landcare/environmental/friends groups in the region (a registration form to be completed with contact details);
  • nominations are being called for a management committee that will consist of 8 volunteer representatives from the region’s landcare community to be elected by the membership;
  • the management committee will meet monthly and will be responsible for the for the strategic direction and performance of the organisation ;
  • it will be advised and supported by a reference group, open to all CC members, and made up of representatives of landcare community groups, special interest groups and agencies and which will meet quarterly;
  • the committee will also be advised on an as needs basis by an advisory panel made up of technical experts .

Join us for supper and drinks after the meeting

For a nomination and/or membership form please contact Julia Brown on 0431 720 876 or email


Minutes of Connecting Country Reference Group meeting June 11 2009

Posted on 18 June, 2009 by Connecting Country

Present: Maurie Dynon, Doug Ralph, Bernard Slattery, Marie Jones, Kirstin Hutchison, Jan Hall, Julia Brown, Beth Mellick, Patrick Kavanagh, Christine Kilmartin, Krista Patterson-Majoor, Tim Read, David Major, Deirdre Slattery, Geoff Park

Apologies: Elvyne Hogan, Peter Johnson, Julie Hurley, Virginia Adrian


1. Marie gave an account of the proposed management structure of the incorporated Connecting Country:

–the elected Management Committee, which will meet regularly and make key decisions

–the Reference Group, open to all members who nominate: it will meet less often to review and advise the Management Committee

–the Advisory Group: this will consist of members with a range of expertise, who will be available for occasional consultation

She also thanked all for their input over the last 2 years.

2. Geoff gave a funding application update, and fielded questions. The package applied for provides:

–on ground works [fencing, offset of production losses, etc]

–community awareness

–monitoring and research

The questions and discussion which followed covered the following areas:

–the autonomy of Connecting Country within the NCCMA package

–the role of the Mount Alexander Shire

–the necessity to have an eye to future funding

–the equity challenge in using whatever funding is granted; and the importance of the planning projects workshop in clarifying how this is done

–the relationship of the Reference and Advisory groups to the Management Committee

–the need for clarification on the links between work on private land and the local Parks and Reserves; and between private and Trust for Nature property.

3. Krista gave brief Landcare report: the Landcare coordinators will finish at the end of the month. She emphasized the importance of MAS council connections from the point of view of information distribution and possible availability of facilities [for example, office space]

4. Julia gave the Project Officer’s report:

    – the website is being updated regulary, 10 news and events and a link to an article in the latest TFN Bulletin on Connecting Country.

    – Moderated 26 comments, all spam bar 2.

    – Emails to now redirected to Julia

    – Considering adding another blog section ‘related news’ to add books and other associated news.

    – Potential problems with google earth for some users of CWMP.

    – 158 sites marked on CWMP. To discuss recording and monitoring of statistics with Green Graphics.

    -Incorporation. Written invitations sent out to all Landcare groups, friends groups, field nats, MASG, TFN, agencies, MAS councillors on Monday 1st June.

    – Email invitations followed on Friday 5th June.

    – This will be followed up by email and phone calls asking if people require any further information.

    – Buda is booked and paid. Wine, catering, helpers confirmed.

    – Presentation to be worked on.

    Media Doug and Malcolm and I will meet with Lisa Dennis Monday for photo @ Richards Road near pony club with regeneration and mature trees. Article will go in Friday 19th Mail and possibly Tuesday 23rd Express as well.

    – Add in public notice’s Mail and Express. Notice in ‘Where to go….what to do’ in Mail. Press release drafted.

5. Future Projects workshop: [it was suggested at the May meeting that this be combined with the incorporation meeting ‘perhaps in the second half of July’. The steering committee subsequently decided to split the two events]

–it was decided that one of the purposes of this meeting is to ‘ground truth’ Blueprint projects, via a template and Landcare group knowledge

–a discussion followed on templates, and on methods of managing competing claims

–times and dates for the workshop were proposed. A decision on this will be made in readiness for the June 29th meeting.

6. Constitutional matters: Bernard gave a brief rundown on the constitution to be proposed on June 29: it will be the Model Rules of Association, modified to allow for an eight member committee.


New Publication by Stephen Murphy

Posted on 5 June, 2009 by Connecting Country

“Recreating the Country” by Stephen Murphy is a book for landholders and land managers filled with practical information about restoring habitat and protecting flora and fauna.  Murphy urges people to re-think current revegetation strategies as many plantings lack the qualities necessary for wildlife.  For more information and to order a copy go to The Australian Forest Growers website.


Connecting Country Reference Group Meeting

Posted on 14 May, 2009 by Connecting Country

Chewton Town Hall (Pyrenees Highway, Chewton)


Connecting Country wins funding to develop its plans to link landscape

Posted on 25 April, 2009 by Connecting Country


A large scale, community-driven landscape restoration project known as Connecting Country has received more funding from the environmental philanthropic organisation, the Norman Wettenhall Foundation. Based in Castlemaine, the Foundation has approved a $30,000 grant to the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests for the project. The grant is to fund a Project Worker to develop detailed and fully costed action plans for improving habitat for wildlife and native plants within the Mt Alexander Shire. Projects could, for instance, focus on creating biolinks or target particular endangered species, such as Swift Parrots or Brush-tailed Phascogales (Tuans).

Connecting Country is a partnership of around 30 landcare and environment groups, as well as government agencies, who come together to form the Reference Group which guides the project. The Norman Wettenhall Foundation has supported the project since its inception with grants now totalling $80,000.

Over the last year Connecting Country has gathered information from landholders across the Mt Alexander Shire about the existing condition of the landscape and recorded sightings of where native plant and wildlife species were found. This information was then brought together to produce a Biodiversity Blueprint of the region, containing valuable information about environmental assets and a unique and comprehensive set of maps.

“The maps provide an eagle’s eye view of the whole landscape, allowing the Connecting Country partners to identify 21 possible opportunities for major on-ground habitat restoration works across the region,” says Beth Mellick, Executive Officer of the Norman Wettenhall Foundation. “These potential projects will form the springboard for action plan development in the project’s second stage.”

Another unique facet of Connecting Country was the pro bono production of an interactive website by software developer Spatial Vision. Based on Google Earth, the website offers simple and accessible mapping tools for people to enter information about flora and fauna sightings across the Mount Alexander region. This crucial second stage funding will also ensure the continued rollout of Connecting Country’s interactive website.

“It is expected that community involvement will provide greater knowledge about, for instance, the preferred habitat of Tuans or where native wildflowers can be found,” says Beth Mellick. “Clearly, the website has the potential to become a powerful tool in guiding future conservation efforts.”

With this latest grant, Connecting Country now has the resources for in-depth development of restoration plans that could significantly improve habitat connectivity and biodiversity expansion across the region’s landscape. Given the breadth and commitment of Connecting Country’s partners, once such action plans are developed, the Norman Wettenhall Foundation is quietly confident there’s a good chance of attracting other funding sources to bring their plans to fruition.

“We believe Connecting Country is leading the way in terms of a bottom-up approach to landscape restoration work in Australia,” says Beth Mellick. “This is a different and a unique model, because it is the community as a whole who are making decisions about the environment that they live and work in – what and how changes are made to protect habitat are determined by local knowledge and passion.”

For further information about Connecting Country see or contact Beth by phone on 03 5472 1316; mobile 0431 219 980


Prizes for using interactive mapping

Posted on 25 April, 2009 by Connecting Country

April 2009

The Norman Wettenhall Foundation has given out some prizes as incentives for people to enter data on the Connecting Country interactive mapping portal on their website.

For a number of months the community were encouraged to enter sightings of Brush-tailed Phascogales (otherwise known as Tuans) in the area. The Connecting Country project was collecting information about where, and in what numbers, the Tuans live on private land. This information is to be used in a broader project about connecting up habitat for the Tuans’ survival.

The winners of the competition were Nick Halliday (individual prize) and Geraldine Harris won the group prize which she will give to the Barkers Creek Landcare group. Geraldine was interested in seeing if she could master the Connecting Country web tools. “I usually give up on these internet things at the point where you have to register,” says Geraldine, “but this site was not difficult to use and I was able to easily enter my Tuan sighting.”

If you want to enter data about flora and fauna sightings, go to and give it a go.