Newsletter September 2017 | www.BellarineLandcare.org.au
Bellarine Landcare Group Newsletter
The Bellarine Landcare Group (BLG) aims to preserve, protect and enhance the natural environment of the Bellarine Peninsula.
There is a Spring in my Step
National Landcare Conference
The National Landcare Conference’s MC was everyone’s friend Costa. He covered the many issues and interests with his usual enthusiasm. Presenters spoke of their NRM work but the focus was on how to engage with people who do Landcare work. In fact, as one speaker said, not so much how to engage with them, but how to get them to engage with our work.
There was a noticeable contingency of young people at the Conference. They have set up several new types of groups, often balancing some NRM work with a lot of social activity, even including learning to ride surf boards. Everyone agrees more young people could help Landcare, and would like to attract more of them, but for the older generation some of the activities are hard to comprehend. As Terry Hubbard, Chair of Victorian Landcare Council, often repeated, they are ‘awesome’ - which at times seemed to mean a bit overwhelming!
Unfortunately, Victorians did not featuer in the line up of award winners at the Conference - but we congratulate those who did. A full explanation of the work done by the nominees is available at http://nationallandcareconference.org.au/awards/
Just reading through all the good work may suggest new and interesting activities for our region. In particular, the awards emphasised the theme of people collaborating and even groups collaborating. It is clear that in today's climate, things go better if they are better integrated, so Landcare groups are setting up partnerships with other NRM groups, especially specialisaed ones that can bring more expertise to the table.
National Landcare Conference
Thanks from Louise Beames
A very kind thank you to the Corangamite CMA and the Victorian Government Landcare Program for sponsoring my attendance as a Bellarine Landcare committee member to the 2016 National Landcare Conference. It was an excellent occasion to network with other groups involved in "landcaring" and a great opportunity to learn from others.
One of the standout presentations was the exciting youth-focused initiative called Intrepid Landcare which have developed a hugely successful model engaging youth to "Join the Adventure" and are developing partnerships with other Australian Landcare groups to share their knowledge, resources and experience. There were also many other exciting ideas and project designs canvassed, including some of the work being undertaken by Southern Otway Landcare Network to utilise citizen science to improve and assess the ecological success of plantings and inform management.
The Aboriginal Ranger Program and the Indigenous Protected Area Program was widely acknowledged throughout the conference as providing tremendously successful outcomes for Australia's natural and cultural heritage, for Aboriginal people and their communities. Indigenous Protected Areas are a voluntary agreement to promote biodiversity and conserve cultural resources, by way of integrating Traditional practices and western science, to manage areas to agreed IUCN standards.
IPAs now comprise large amounts of our National Reserve System. Victoria has five declared IPA's and two IPA's in consultation, one of which is managed by Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative at Little River. The Cooperative presented their inspirational and aspirational work at Wurdi Youang, a place of extreme cultural significance and home to critically endangered vegetation communities and species. Much dismay was expressed at the federal government's lack of commitment to Ranger and IPA programs past 2018. You can read more at http://www.countryneedspeople.org.au/
A short report on the learnings, outcomes and recommendations for Bellarine Landcare Group will be developed for the CMA and be made available on our website in October.
Caring for Soils
A Sobering message about soils...
Major General Michael Jeffries, former Governor-General, Landcare patrol, set a strong theme of the need for collaboration for the National Landcare Conference - his interest was soil, water and vegetation collaboration.
The focus on soil is backed by the work he has been doing for some time as the Chairman of the Soils for Life organisation (http://www.soilsforlife.org.au/). His explanations were clear and urgent - unless we take time and use our knowledge to improve soils in suitable ways, and avoid damaging them as we have so often in the past, we will not be able to achieve any substantial sustainable NRM results. He explains his passion: https://youtu.be/x372CZaUY0w
He argues that by fixing soil, planrts and water, we make ourselves more secure - so everyone needs to be involved and understand the sgnificance of this.
21 projects reported on the Soils website show what is possible - and note the historic view, what have we done to the planet in the last 11,000 years by working the soil? As the soils website alerts us:
• severe salinity and erosion
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that one quarter of the world’s 13 billion hectares of land is degraded.”
This is surely a call for action and perhaps Bellarine Landcare can bring together people who would like to work on the problem of soil sustainability? Let us know if you are interested: email our Facilitator Sophie.
Toilet Door, Fridge, Boomerang Tubes Needed by Nursery!
The Nursery is seeking donations of a fridge for storing seed, an external door for the outdoor composting toilet, and hose (can have holes, but in reasonable condition). The fridge doesn't have to have intact internal shelving. If you think you can help, please call Sophie on 0409 558 527.
And, following your winter planting, if you have any tubes or trays, please get them back to the Nursery for reuse. It saves purchasing more! If the Nursery is closed, just drop them neatly over the fence to the side of the gate. Only tubes and trays required - no other plant pots, thank-you.
If you have time to donate to the Nursery, we are always looking for more happy workers - lots of different jobs for different people, so we'd love to hear from you!
Calling for HelpBLG would like to know if you can help with propagating plants in our nursery, walking and weeding along the Rail trail, planting Indigenous plants on properties where the BLG is providing plants. Please don't hesitate to contact our facilitator (email@example.com).
What's coming up?
We are looking forward to a busy time
Support for Revegetation Projects
Grants for private landholders to undertake environmental protection and revegetation are now available. Applications close 31 October. Please contact BLG Facilitator, Sophie, to discuss your project on 0409 558 527.
Fauna Survey at Smiths
Help Survey with the Geelong Field Naturalist Club
Microbats are one of the cryptic nocturnal species which often go unrecognized by the majority of the human population, unless one turns up flapping around your bedroom - as was the case of Peter and Brenda Smith and family in Swan Bay Rd. The Smith family are the caring custodians of 10 acres of remnant Heathy Woodland, part of a larger patch of remnant bush known as 'Hutchinson's bush block' - which the Geelong Field Naturalists have watched anxiously for over 40 years following its subdivision. Indeed, on the Smith's block you will still see both flora and fauna species rarely seen on the rest of the Bellarine.
The Field Nats will be surveying for fauna at the Smith's on the weekend of October 15 and 16. Led by veteran fauna specialist, Trevor Pescott, they will set up traps for microbats and other mammals and reptiles. If you would like to learn more about our fauna and see the Smith's block in its full Spring-time bloom, meet at 8 am to assist with the survey. On Sunday 16th the survey will be followed by a breakfast barbeque and Trevor will share some of his knowledge with participants. Parking is limited so car pooling encouraged.
RSVP essential. Contact Sophie firstname.lastname@example.org or 0409 558 527 for the Smith's address.
Microbats can eat 500 mosquitoes or other small insects in just one hour - or half their body weight in a night - an ecological service we could certainly use in some parts of the Bellarine!
Green Army Works
Thank-you, Green Army!
The Green Army, a federal government program for young people between the ages of 17 - 24 years, provides training and experience to assist them gain skills for future employment. The Bellarine Catchment Nework is hosting a Green Army team and over the past 5 months they have been involved in projects with BCN, Bellarine Landcare Group, Bellarine Bayside Committee of Management and Parks Victoria.
These enthusiastic and knowledgeable young people, some with diplomas in Conservation Land Managment and degrees in Enviromental Science, have a thing or two to teach us, and they have made an enthusiastic contribution to BLG's works, assisting with planting events, weed control along the Rail Trail, rabbit scan surveying, and at the Nursery. Particular thanks to their very organised team leader, Hayley.
The Team will be finishing up in late October, and we wish them all the very best for their future careers.
Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey - are they being killed by Pindone?
There have been concerns raised about the possible links between baiting rabbits with Pindone and mortality of birds of prey. The research is inconclusive but this is an issue which the BLG Rabbit Action Group would like to get to the bottom of - so we are asking your help to conduct the research. We are asking the community to contact us if they find a dead bird of prey so we can arrange a post mortem and toxicology report. In the meantime, we are urging users of Pindone to undertake best practice according to the label, including being vigilant by picking up and disposing of dead rabbits to prevent access to carcasses by other animals.
Those interested in further information on raptor decline may like to look at the Bird Life Australia website where a researcher, Michael Lohr, is studying what is killing owls. Although incomplete to date, his research is suggesting there are "cat born parasites" that slow reaction time in raptors, exposing them to attack and impact (motor vehicles), and anticoagulant rodenticdes used for rat and mice control (not the active ingredient in Pindone) that can accumulate in the birds' liver for several months causing organ failure.
Information from the head vet at Murdoch University suggests that the primae cause of injuries to raptors is road impact, which does not kill the birds outright but allows them to move away from the road edge before they die a slow death. Very rarely do birds that are taken to the Uni clinic survive following road trauma.
If you find a dead bird of prey, please put it in a bag and in the freezer and call Sophie on 0409 558 527 to arrange pick up and post mortem.
Your chance to contribute
Mannerim Memorial Gardens
Bellarine Landcare Group was successful in gaining a grant to contribute towards revitalising the Mannerim Memorial Gardens, on Swan Bay Rd adjoining the Bellarine Rail Trail. As part of the project there will be an inidgenous garden and seating accompanied by interpretative signage talking about the history of the site on which a Memorial Hall existed up until the 1960s.
So, we are looking for input into the garden design and signage. Our Nursery Cordinator, David Heath, is a qualified landscape designer and he has put together a draft of three garden options. This is your chance to contribute to the discussion. We are inviting people to attend a half hour meeting prior to the Landcare Information Meeting on Wednesday October 12 at Marcus Hill Hall, cnr of Bellarine Highway and Banks Rd to give your input.
If you aren't able to attend the meeting and would like to view the plans contact Sophie for a copy of the draft plans.
Sophie is contacted at email@example.com or ph. 057 333 727
Weed and Walk
Weed and Walk Resumes
It's a lovely time of the year to be out in Nature so what better time to join Beth Ross on her fortnightly Weed and Walk sessions on the Rail Trail. Natural regeneration of our flora is an exciting process in which to be involved - simply by removing the weeds and allowing the indigenous seed in the soil space to germinate, miraculous results can be achieved. It does require patience and persistance, but the rewards are immense.
Join Beth to learn to identify weeds and indigenous plants, and to enjoy the company of other like-minded people. Meet 5:30 - 6:30 pm, Monday 3 October - the intersection of the Bellarine Rail trail and Andersons Rd, and Monday 17 October at the intersection of Swan Bay Rd. BYO Gloves, and wear covered shoes and clothes suitable for the conditions. Contact Beth to let her know you are coming - 0428 124 363.
Here's a photo of a Donkey Orchid Diurus sp which has regenerated on the Railtrail since Beth and her band of willing weeders started weeding 4 years ago.