Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

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.


Agscene Newsletter

Posted on 13 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

If you would like information concerning agricultural issues in the North Central Catchment Area take a look at the Department of Primary Industries monthly newsletter, Agscene.

Articles in this week’s edition include:

  • New drought package announced
  • Much to be gained from electronic NLIS tags for sheep
  • Food from thought at DPI 40:40 Symposium
  • Why not give DPI’s dairy extension officers a call?
  • Upcoming events: DPI  Queenscliff Centre open day and a workshop for youth in horticulture and dairy

To receive your copy of Agscene contact:

Georgina Wilson, Media & Communications Advisor

DPI – Mallee & North Central

(03) 5430 4417

Or email


Serrated Tussock slasher workshop

Posted on 13 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

The Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party, the National Serrated Tussock Management Group and the National Chilean Needle Grass Taskforce would like to inform you of new modifications that can be made to slashers to reduce the spread ofnoxious weeds such as Serrated Tussock (Nassella Trichotoma) and Chilean Needle Grass (Nassella Neesiana).

Slasher fans and slasher covers are a reasonably new invention which significantly reduces the spread of invasive species particularly Serrated Tussock and Chilean Needle Grass.

The Department of Primary Industries in partnership with Hume City Council and Macedon Ranges Shire Council are testing prototype slasher covers this year on tractor linkage slashers to minimise weed spread. The project with the Hume and Macedon municipalities aims to not only test the prototype but also promote the concept to other grass slashing contractors.

The field day is at Somerton Rd, Greenvale (Melway Map 178 E6).

The day will finish with lunch.

Register your intention to attend by email to or phone (03) 9217 4120.

Click here to read articles from the October 2009 ‘Tussock Times’.


$400,000 available to Victorian organic producers

Posted on 12 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

The Victorian Government will provide support for the state’s organic food industry with a new funding program, to the tune of $400,000.

Regional and Rural Development Minister Jacinta Allan announced during National Organic Week in October that the ‘Support for Organics Grant Program’ would be implemented to foster what she described as ”Victoria’s nation-leading approach to production, consumption and export of… organic products.”

She said the package – which will provide funds over two years – was also expected to help secure jobs and enhance lifestyles for organic farmers and producers in regional and rural Victoria, and provide them with the capacity to stay one step ahead of their competitors.

For information on how to apply, see the Support for organics grant program Guidelines.


Woodend Landcare Group Working Bee

Posted on 12 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

All are welcome to join the Woodend Landcare Group for their final working bee for 2009.

Activities will take place along the new Five Mile Creek track, south of the creek. Please bring along your gardening tools, hat, gloves and sunscreen.

Enjoy a morning tea afterwards provided by Woodend Landcare Group. RSVP’s are essential.

Location: meet at the end of Pyke Street, Woodend

To RSVP contact: Jo Clancy, President Woodend Landcare Group

on 5427 1909 or email


Stanley Park AGM and talk on Birds of the Macedon Ranges

Posted on 12 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

Stanley Park Committee of Management invites you their AGM which will include a presentation on ‘Birds of the Macedon Ranges’ by Bruce Donaldson.

This fully illustrated talk will introduce you to the birds you are likely to encounter in the Macedon Ranges with commentary on their frequency, location and behaviour as well as tips for observing and identifying them.

Venue: Jubilee Hall, Smith Street, Macedon

Light refreshments will follow the meeting

To RSVP contact: The Secretary, Stanley Park Committee of Management on 5426 242 or email


Woodend district Aboriginal Heritage and Aboriginal Heritage Act talk

Posted on 12 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

Learn about the Aboriginal Heritage of the Woodend District and the Aboriginal Heritage Act at a talk to be presented by the Woodend Landcare Group.

Guest speaker Dr. Vincent Clarke, noted archaeologist and Woodendl resident, will discuss the pre-European history of the area and subsequent European settlement, as well as how the Aboriginal Heritage Act impacts on local community groups.

Bookings are essential.

Venue: Woodend Neighbourhood House, Forest Street, Woodend

Supper will be provided

To RSVP contact Jo Clancy, President Woodend Landcare Group

on 5427 1909



Cactus Killing Field Day

Posted on 12 November, 2009 by Connecting Country

Parks Victoria and Tarrengower Cactus Control Committee:

Location: East side of Cairn Curran, follow the signs from the main entrance.

Sausage sizzle at about 12.30pm.

It’s the last field day for the year, so come and celebrate a great year’s work.

For more information contact Tony Kane on 5475 2973.