March Working Bee – 9 am, Sunday 28th of March, Heron St area
Our March working bee will be held around the Heron St levee bank. The focus will be on woody weed removal and we are particularly keen to tackle the Hawthorn that is growing on the steep banks. There will be plenty of work for every-one of all ages – especially enthusiastic volunteers who like to see an impact in a matter of hours.
The best place to park is along Campaspe Drive to the east of Heron St. Due to COVID restrictions we require participants to bring their own secateurs, sturdy gardening gloves and protective eye wear. Disposable waterproof gloves will be provided but need to be taken home for personal disposal. As with every Landcare working bee, dress appropriately in old, full length clothing and sturdy footwear. Gumboots may be useful at this working bee so bring some along if you have a pair.
The Landcare tool trailer will be onsite for more specialist equipment but be mindful we are trying to limit sharing of tools. If further restrictions require a cap on numbers any changes will be notified beforehand. For this reason and to help with catering our tasty morning teas, it is important to register your attendance. Please email email@example.com if you can attend. The working bee will be cancelled if a total fire ban is declared in the Central district.
While you are in the Heron Street area, take moment to check out the nearby 2016 Trees for Mum planting site – how has it changed from these photos taken over the past 5 years since it was first cleared?
A brief history of “the paddocks”
We had an excellent turn-out to our February working bee at the site affectionately known as “The Paddocks”. This refers to the area on the south side of Five Mile Creek between Bowen St. and Pyke St – not far along from the Children’s Park.
The Paddocks were once covered with a dense poplar thicket and an old landfill, probably dating back to the 19th century, was discovered north of the levee bank near Pyke St. In 2007, Woodend Landcare received a grant to clear the site of poplars and revegetate it with native species. The chipped poplars made quite a mess. To enable planting and future mowing, the entire area had to be ‘power raked’.
2,690 locally native trees, shrubs and grasses were planted in spring 2007 along the creek. Because of drought conditions at the time, these plantings were regularly watered over the following summer. A second planting of 350 plants was undertaken in early April 2008 by a Green Corps team – these are the larger ‘patches’ of trees you can now see along the path.
In autumn 2011, Woodend Landcare planted 21 non-native trees in The Paddocks to provide a visual contrast with the native plantings and also as future shade trees. This was part-funded by Council with many of the trees privately donated or bought by Landcare. The trees have been regularly tended and watered by Landcare volunteers.
Finally, in 2017, 120 grasses were added to the revegetation sites to create more habitat diversity.
Countless volunteer hours have gone into planting and maintaining The Paddocks over the years. Woodend Landcare would like to thank everyone who has played a valuable part in restoring the site. Today, it’s a lovely part of the Five Mile Creek Reserve which will only get better as the trees mature.
Our second working bee in February was held around the Romsey Rd area of the Five Mile Creek Reserve. Peter Yates reports: “Good job today. Twelve attendees. Removed and bagged three huge bags of thistles from on of the small dams and cut and painted lots of gorse and blackberry around the other. Also cleared an area east of the Curry Bridge of willow, blackberry and gorse.” It was also a chance to check out our new signs for the Landcare trailer. Thanks to Peter for organising these.
More Landcare news to note:
- North Central Catchment Management Authority have released their draft Regional Catchment Strategy. The website is now live at Home | North Central Regional Catchment Strategy (rcs.vic.gov.au) and will be open for consultation until the 20 April. You can submit your comments directly via the online form on the website.
- Macedon Ranges Shire Council have a useful new local Bird Guide – you can pick up a copy in the Woodend Library or online here: https://www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/Live-Work/Environment/Native-Pest-Animals/Birds
- Wombat Forestcare’s March Newsletter is now available and always a excellent read: http://www.wombatforestcare.org.au/newsletters/WombatForestcareNewsletter55_March_21.pdf
- Macedon Ranges Shire have a Equiculture Course for horse owners (click here) and a Nature Stewards program for community members (click here) on offer. If you are interested, act quick as they are likely to book out.
Working Bee and AGM – Sunday 22 November
After a long absence, our next Sunday working bee is set for 22 November from 9am until 12 pm. The working bee will be concentrating on weed control in the Pyke/Wood St paddocks, which are east of the Children’s Park and south of the creek. There will be a cap on numbers at 10 and a sign-in on arrival.
Our AGM will also be outdoors this year, held immediately after the working bee at 12:30. We do welcome new members on the committee. Please email us if you are interested.
Morning tea and a sandwich lunch provided.
In order to keep COVID-safe we ask attendees to note:
- RSVP is essential to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can manage numbers for the day. There will be a cap at 10 adults – sorry, no children.
- Bring all of your own clearly identifiable gloves and tools to avoid sharing.
- Remember safe distancing while you work and during breaks. We will ensure that everyone is spread out during the morning’s activities.
- Soap, water and hand sanitiser will be available on site.
- If you are feeling unwell in anyway, please do not attend.
Finally, please wear sturdy footwear, full-length protective clothing, gloves and eye protection. Also, don’t forget your hat and water bottle.
Any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are super excited to be able to get out there again!
Creating Pollinator Corridors in the Upper Campaspe
The Upper Campaspe Landcare Network has launched a project designed to establish new – and enhance existing – pollinator-friendly habitats and food sources for bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinating insects and wildlife through the Upper Campaspe Catchment. Our Landcare Facilitator, Rebekah Ritchie, explains…
“While we do not have exact figures for the Upper Campapse (yet), Australia has around 2,000 native bee species, all of which are important pollinators. There are also a couple of thousand butterfly, wasp, fly, moth, beetle, thrip and ant species, some of which are documented pollinators, alongside birds, bats and some smaller mammals.
Worldwide 90 percent of flowering plant species depend at least partly on animal pollinators for reproduction. Pollinators are declining in both diversity and number – facing threats including habitat fragmentation, harmful chemicals, invasive species, and of course, climate change.”
What are Pollinator Corridors???
Pollinator Corridors are connecting patches of vegetation of various scale designed to help indigenous pollinators move through the landscape. They are designed for native species—bees, insects, butterflies, moths, birds, and bats among others—that keep local ecosystems running.
Individual contributions to Pollinator Corridors can be as small as a potted plant or as large as a field! The scope is only limited by your space, time, and capability.
Useful videos to help you get started
During Pollinator Week, UCLN presented a series of useful videos on how to encourage pollinators to your property! Click on the links below to watch:
For more info visit: www.uppercampaspelandcare.org.au
Quarry Road Wildflower Area
Woodend is blessed with several excellent remnant areas where wildflowers can be enjoyed from about September to December, especially in wet years.
In 2016 we had a wet year and the wildflower display on a section of Victrack land adjacent to Quarry Road was fabulous. Ecologist Karl Just was asked to do a flora survey and recorded no less than 81 indigenous species and two threatened species. With a more detailed survey he predicted that many more species would be identified.
2020 has also been a wetter than average year and, as a result, the display has probably been even better than in 2016. The prime viewing times are sunny days during October and November, but there are plenty of flowers at other times during spring and early summer.
The only threats to this area are the proliferation of introduced weeds such as Broom and Gorse and sometimes some overzealous mowing by local residents which can decimate the flowers just as they are about to flower and set seed. Thankfully mowing is usually restricted to the narrow walking pad through the area, so does minimal harm.
Please enjoy the area, especially near the Washington Lane intersection if you get a chance. Try to avoid trampling the tiny plants. You can see most of the flowers from the footpad through the area.
PS. The word on the street is that the Woodend Grasslands are also looking pretty spectacular at the moment.
Cool Changes Woodend Region Climate Change Action Plan
Your feedback is invited on a community plan for local action on climate change, which has been developed over the past few months. The plan outlines actions to build on existing community activity for sustainability, under the themes:
- Natural environment, water and biodiversity
- Waste, recycling and the circular economy
- Sustainable and secure transport
- Secure, efficient and renewable energy
- Food security and regenerative agriculture
- Health and wellbeing
- Better built environment
Importantly, all themes and actions are supported by the overarching principles of (getting) People on Board (to work towards) Zero Net Emissions.
NAIDOC Week in the Macedon Ranges
Watch the welcome to country and smoking ceremony as part of this year’s celebrations in the Macedon Ranges Shire. Jaara elder Uncle Rick Nelson of Dja Dja Wurrung explains some of the cultural foundations for this special ceremony at magnificent Hanging Rock.
Woodend Landcare Working Bees, AGM and Membership
Like for everyone, 2020 has proven to be a very quiet year for Woodend Landcare. Our working bees and Thursday Crew activities remain on hold while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. We are hoping to resume our activities in October and hold an AGM by the end of the year.
In the meantime, please consider joining or renewing your Woodend Landcare membership. Active memberships are really important to us ‒ it shows support for the group (which helps us with funding applications) and ensures you are properly insured when volunteering. Please keep an eye on our website, and sign up for our newsletter for more details: www.woodendlandcare.org
Black Gum Plant Giveaway
Taking care of Woodend Grassland Reserve
It has been brought to Woodend Landcare’s attention that some holes, jumps and tracks are being dug in the Woodend Grassland Reserve near Buffalo Stadium. The Reserve is a 9-hectare intact grassland that supports a vegetation community considered very rare for this region. The reserve is dominated by Kangaroo Grass with a rich diversity of grassland herbs, lilies and orchids. Ecologist Paul Foreman declared that Woodend Grassland Reserve is one of the best examples of a grassland in the region. We think it is a very special place, which we are lucky to have. Please enjoy it, but look after it. It is not an appropriate place for bikes or other damaging activities.
Weed to watch ‒ Bluebell Creeper
We have noticed an explosion of Bluebell Creeper growing in bush areas around town. Bluebell Creeper is a vigorous, evergreen West Australian plant that grows to a height of 4 m. It may be a dense shrub or a climbing plant and has drooping clusters of blue or white flowers in spring and summer. This species produces copious amounts of seeds which are eaten by birds and foxes and spread in their droppings. It can smother native groundcovers and shrubs and can easily invade adjoining bushland. They are very easy to pull out while they are small and the ground is moist. Please make every effort to remove Bluebell Creeper from your property if you see it growing.
Video to watch – The Kingdom of Fungi
Fungi are fundamentally important organisms. They’re not just some kind of bizarre accessories in the landscape, but rather fungi underpin, pretty much every terrestrial ecosystem, on the planet. Join ecologist Alison Pouliot in this foray into the Kingdom Fungi – filmed locally in the Wombat Forest.
To watch, click here: https://vimeo.com/457577341 (5 minutes)
Clover Glycine (Native Pea) Webinar
23rd of September | 7 – 7.45pm
Council’s Environment Team is running a Webinar that will be focusing on Native Pea’s, and specifically Clover Glycine, as lesser known and threatened species we have locally.
Karl Just is an ecologist who has worked extensively with Clover Glycine, and Native Pea’s, and brings a wealth of knowledge to this sessions.
The session will be part presentation looking at Native Pea Identification, a case study of Clover Glycine restoration efforts in Eltham, an introduction into survey techniques and data capture using GPS App, Avenza, and part Q&A.
To register your interest, please use this link: https://www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/See-Do/Events/Events-Activities/Clover-Glycine-Webinar
Free carbon farming webinar
Join the Director of Carbon Farmers of Australia, Louisa Kiely online as she discusses carbon farming which is about reducing emissions, while increasing production and sequestering of carbon in the landscape.
Over three consecutive Thursday’s starting 24 September, Louisa will explore how you can reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions from your property and capture and hold carbon in your vegetation and soils.
This free workshop is being run by Upper Campaspe Landcare Network and supported by Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
More good news
Working Bee Update
There has been little action on the working bee front for the past six months due to the restrictions around COVID-19. In May, a few hardy volunteers replaced six of the exotic trees near the Woodend Children’s Park. This area will be a shady treasure in years to come.
Unfortunately our August bee will not go ahead. We are hoping, however, to hold a working bee on Sunday the 23rd September. More details will be provided closer to the event.
Reducing the footprint of your annual property ‘clean up’
Spring is the time of year that most of us start thinking ahead to summer and preparing our properties for fire. Fuel reduction is an important part of life in bushfire prone areas, but it does not exclusively mean burning off. Consider minimising burning off and its costly carbon and habitat loss. Instead, try a combination of techniques to reduce the fuel load at your place. You’ll be reducing the environmental footprint of your pre-summer clean up and boosting biodiversity.
Here are five ideas from Woodend Landcare:
Limit your raking and debris removal to your house protection zone. Focus your tidying up efforts to your house protection zone and leave the leaves, sticks, branches and logs further afield for the bugs, reptiles, birds and animals who need it for food and habitat. Leaf litter helps your trees and plants by retaining moisture, providing nutrients and reducing erosion.
Put your leaf litter in your greenwaste bin or take it to the tip. It is free to drop off loads of weed-free green waste at the Woodend Transfer Station. Even better, your leaf litter and debris is recycled and ends up as useful compost, putting carbon back into the soil.
Leave big logs and branches for animal homes. A decaying log provides much needed habitat and food to a huge range of organisms, fungi, frogs, lizards, birds and animals.
Give your leaf litter to your chickens instead. A thick bed of leaf litter at the bottom of their cage will keep your chickens feet dry, and give them endless scratching pleasure!
Allow the leaf litter to compost. A pile of leaves left to breakdown overtime will create a wonderful natural compost for your garden. Be careful when moving these though – old mulch piles are often home to local fauna, like echidnas who are known create tunnels to nest and raise their young.
Want to know more? Goulburne Broken CMA have just released an excellent booklet exploring the role of – and need for – fallen logs, branches, sticks, and leaves as habitat. Click here to check it out.
Cool Changes District 3442
Like many local groups and community members, Woodend Landcare has been involved in the climate action planning process for Woodend and district. The project is nearing an exciting stage – a final on-line workshop will take place on Tuesday 18 August. It is not too late to get involved. Click here for more information and to register.
Understanding your farm soil – Webinars
The Healthy Landscapes for Healthy Livestock program delivered by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council in partnership with the National Landcare program, has an interesting webinar series on understanding your soils.
Tuesday, 18 August 2020 | 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM
Dr Fiona Robertson from Agriculture Victoria, and Matthew Warnken from AgriProve: Soil Carbon Solutions will present on:
- Soil carbon: What is it? Why is it important?
- Soil carbon sequestration and soil carbon credits.
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 | 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM
Professor Roger Armstrong from Agriculture Victoria will present on:
- Can applying organic matter improve grain yields on hostile clay soils?
- Soil amelioration, the value of adding lime, organic matter, etc. to the subsoil.
Click here for more information and to register.
Creating a Garden for Wildlife: A gardener’s journey
Jill Teschendorff from Glenlyon has written a delightful book about gardening for wildlife called ‘Grow Wild: Gardening to Sustain Wildlife in the Hepburn Shire’, published by Wombat Forestcare. The book was written to encourage residents and landowners to preserve their natural environment and develop habitat in their gardens.
On Tuesday the 18th of August at 7.30 pm, Jill will take us on a virtual journey through her property in Glenlyon. Learn how a barren and treeless house block can be transformed into a beautiful garden that provides essential habitat for local wildlife. To register for the webinar, email John Binnion: email@example.com.
Tricky birds with Geoff Park and Chris Tzaros – 24 August 2020
Connecting Country is hosting an all-star lineup for a workshop on identifying tricky bird species of the central Victoria. Two highly-regarded birdwatchers and ecologists, Geoff Park and Chris Tzaros, will present on Monday 24 August 2020 at 7 pm. Geoff will be speaking on identifying raptors and Chris on identifying thornbills, followed by an interactive panel discussion and a chance to ask the experts your bird watching questions. Click here to register for this event.
Regenerative Grazing Short Course – Starts October
Applications are now open for Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s 2020/21 regenerative grazing short course. Delivered by experts, Graeme Hand and Colin Seis, the course will be held over multiple sessions in spring, summer and autumn. Click here to register your interest.
More Great Local News
Wombat Forestcare June 2020 – fascinating articles on local fungi.
Newham Landcare Autumn/Winter 2020 – features local roadside fauna and Snow Gums.
North Central Chat August 2020 – lots of regional Landcare news and events.