Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fauna Survey St Helens Flora Reserve

The Basalt to Bay Landcare Network recently received funding from The Sutainable Communities Fund (Pacific Hydro). The funding will allow us to employ a surveyor to conduct a fauna survey of the St Helens Flora Reserve, using equipment also funded by Pacific Hydro. The purpose of the survey is to determine the cryptic fauna that may be living in and using the reserve, so that greater community interest and management of these values can be realised. The Basalt to Bay Landcare Network would like to acknowledge Pacific Hydro for their support, the St Helens and District Landcare Group and Friends of Pallisters Reserve for their willingness to back the project application.

As results are gathered, they will be compiled for release in a public forum event to be held in the district in early 2013. Beyond this there will be opportunities for landholders in the St Helens/Orford/Kirkstall/Koroit/Yambuk/Bessiebelle areas to access training to become registered users of the equipment for further surveys to compliment what is learnt from the St Helens Flora Reserve. To register your interest in this equipment, please contact the facilitator via email basalttobay@gmail.com

This image is from a fauna survey (trapping) conducted by Parks Victoria and South West Tafe in 2003, supplied courtesy of Parks Victoria 2012. It shows a Southern Brown Bandicoot.
all rights belong to SW Tafe

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mortlake Common

Mortlake Common regrowth post recent fire.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bee Talk 21 March @ 7pm @ Foreshore Pavillion

Basalt to Bay is holding a Bee Talk at the Foreshore Pavillion La Bella Room on Wednesday the 21st Of March at 7pm. Our guest speaker is Rob Arnst, an apiarist from Stawell- who will be talking about the importance of bees in the landscape for our food security and biodiversity. Rob farms at Dadswell Bridge near Stawell, and recently became the first Victorian beekeeper to complete a FarmPlan21 course run by the Department of Primary Industries. The course will help Rob and his family to manage his 40ha property, which includes over 100 hives. "FarmPlan21 showed us the gradient overlay for the property, where the water runs, and how we need different management for different soils, to help rejuvenate the farm". According to an interview with Rob in the Weekly Times of 7 March 2012, he is looking at the potential of his farm to produce queen bees if the parasitic Varroa mite ever reaches Australia."Queens are essential to successful beekeeping and we think we have a good opportunity to raise them on our farm. Research tells us that a good mixture of pollen generates peak fertility in our queens. FarmPlan21 has provided us with the first step towards making these plans for our farm, our family, and our industry's future".
If you wish to attend the evening ( and anyone is!) , please RSVP to Lisette on 0459524556 for catering and seating by Monday 19th March.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Landcare Facilitator for Basalt to Bay

Basalt to Bay have been very fortunate in receiving funding from the Victorian Local Landcare Facilitator Initiative for the next 3 1/2 years. This has given us double the time = 30 hours / week and an opportunity to revisit our goals and strategies to grow the network and our projects. As a part of this process, we advertised the position and appointed Lisette Mill.

Lisette has a Diploma of Sustainability and Dip. of Conservation and Land Management and is currently working for the local Gorse Task force and has previously worked with the Moyne and Corangamite Shires.

Lisette will start her new position on 20 February and will be contactable at basalttobay@gmail.com and on the mobile 0459 524 556.

We thank Mick Wright for his work with us the last 18 months and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Landcare work is for everyone....

Rail Trails are fabulous use for disused railway lines. The Warrnambool to Port Fairy Rail Trail passes through Koroit, and to make the most of the currently disused Koroit Station, 600 native plants were planted in a sympathetically landscaped fashion around it. With help with funding from the “Victorian Landcare Program Volunteering Action Grant” and as part of the social inclusion ethos of Karingal (one of the organizations which assist adults with a disability in the Warrnambool district), five of their clients and a carer took part along with two Rail Trail members and a collie dog. We are not sure who had the most fun. This was an experiment to see how Karingal clients and community groups could work together. Basalt 2 Bay Landcare Network facilitated this combined activity, and all who took part now want to do more things together.

The next exciting environmental event for the Karingal clients was on a Saturday morning to join in with Warrnambool Coastcare monthly weeding, planting and mulching activity at the Harris Street Reserve. This reserve is developing from its original ‘grass and path’ format into a landscaped area with lots of endemic plants on one side of the path, giving a nice view of the Merri River that attracts lots of birds, which were previously missing. There was no shortage of walkers & cyclists using the path and thanking the volunteers for making the area so much nicer. It’s nice to be appreciated.

A total of about 50 people took part during the morning. One of the Karingal clients has a special interest in endemic plants and knows lots of the plants that were being planted. He helped other members with the “How big does it grow?” and “How close should we plant them?” questions. Another just loves wheeling a wheelbarrow around. He earned his morning tea by wheeling most of the mulch to where it needed to go, and made lots of friends along the way. The Karingal clients had so much fun that they wanted to come back the next day to do more. They were told that they had to wait a whole month as the working bees were once a month. They decided that Karingal should join Warrnambool Coastcare so that they would get each newsletter and be able to join in as often as they could, hopefully each month. Karingal is now a member of Warrnambool Coastcare.

Each September, Year 9 (70 students) from Gilson College in Melbourne’s West visits the south west for their camp. They stay at the Scout camp at Brucknell for 10 nights, and spend 9 days engaged in service activities, which may be environmental, social or for each other (they even have a daily catering group which cooks dinner for the entire group).

Killarney Coastcare (KCC) hosted 10 students and one teacher in the ‘bird group’. Their activities were centered on birds that use the beach and estuary for all or some of year for feeding and/or breeding - specifically the Orange-bellied parrot and Hooded plover, but we also included Red-capped Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones and various Raptors.

The first day that the students were with us, we made seed balls that would be tossed on their fifth and last day with Killarney Coastcare, the following Monday. Four Karingal clients and a carer joined in to make a total of 4 large buckets of seed balls. Seed balls are a convenient option to use for direct seeding in places that have limited access for machinery, or where machinery would cause environmental damage.

Seed balls are made from a mix of clayish soil, compost (we used zoo poo) and a small number of mixed seeds. The soil and compost are thoroughly mixed, and a small handful is squeezed together to form a ball about the size of a golf ball. As it is squeezed together, a few seeds from the separate bowl are pressed into the centre. The ball is rolled in your hands until it holds its shape very well. The best balls were well-rolled and held together when tossed. The other consideration is to have seeds of species that have similar requirements in each seed ball. We divided ball-rollers into 2 groups, and each group had seeds for a particular zone of wetness.

The balls were laid out on newspaper to dry, keeping the wetness zones separate, and hands and clothes were washed. Tossing them was even more of a highlight than getting dirty. If the Year 9 students had fun, the Karingal clients had even more fun. Some clients had not spent much time at the beach, let alone a wild beach like The Cutting, where they went to toss the seed balls that they had made

The Karingal guys had to wait a few more weeks for their tossing session, but the wait was well worth it. Maybe next year we can have a joint seed ball tossing session?

Is environmental work supposed to be fun? The Karingal guys reckon so, and want to do more stuff that’s this much fun. They also like being part of what is going on, as well as giving something back to the community that supports them, though they might use different words to express it. The students enjoyed the interaction, and got to find out that people with all sorts of abilities can do things together and have fun. I think the technical word is integration.

If you would like the recipe for seed balls, contact Lou Hollis on 0408 527 670 or micklou6@bigpond.com , or just enter seed balls into your search engine.

Killarney Coastcare would like to thank Basalt 2 Bay Landcare Network for supporting us in this ongoing environmental work (and fun).

Lou Hollis

Killarney Coastcare

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Upcoming events for Basalt to Bay

Hello again

Michael has been busy forging partnerships so we can deliver 2 more workshops to landcarers in the south west over the next months. After many rural based field days these 2 are more urban focused but with some great spots along our coast we cherish these should be of interest.

Urban Fox Control Workshop
Tuesday 26 July 7-8.30pm at the Foreshore Pavilion (La Bella rm) Warrnambool near breakwater. Supper afterwards.

The presenter, Tim Bloomfield has worked on pest management for 34 years and he has a particular interest in fox and rabbit behaviour and management. Tim has published articles and advised on many programs including Phillip Island. This is an opportunity to discuss how we can improve the survival of many of our local native species including penguins, shore birds and animals.

This workshop covers:


  • The ecology and biology of foxes in urban areas

  • The impact of foxes

  • How many species face extinction from foxes

  • How to make your backyard less advantageous to foxes

  • Outline of W'bool City Council and Parks Vic programs

Please RSVP for catering to Mick on 0459 524 556 or basalttobay@gamil.com


Many thanks to the Warrnambool City Council and Glenelg Hopkins CMA for support to run this workshop.


Coastal Weeds Workshop


Saturday 10 September 10.00am to noon at Grannies Grave Warrnambool foreshore


This workshop will assist people living close to and interested in the foreshore area to understand what weeds are impacting on our coastal reserves and how dumping of garden clippings has created issues. Weed control will be demonstrated, weeds identified and indigenous plants will be given away to replace invasive garden plants.


Many thanks to Marty Gent, DSE CoastCare Coordinator for leading the two walks (10am & 11.00am), Bunnings Warehouse who will provide tools and the experienced volunteer landcarers who will be there to advise as well. The funding for this event was provided by DSE's Volunteer Action Grants. To find out more contact Mick.


Cheers Karen Wales, Chair, Basalt to Bay Landcare Network

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bsalt to Bay Landcare Network still running strong

Hello again - finally back on board the blog. Mick, our coordinator is well and truly established in his role now and we have found plenty to keep him busy.

Mick puts out a quarterly newsletter by e-mail which you can get e-mailed to you direct by asking Mick via basalttobay@gmail.com or we have a presence on the Victorian Landcare Gateway www.landcarevic.org.au and newsletters will get posted onto that. The latest will be circulated this week.

We have continued to attract funding for Micks position, workshops and on ground works in the last 6 months. This has allowed us to run field days on birds, wetlands and sustainable farming plus allow revegetation to occur in the Watershed 2000 region (Woorndoo / Mortlake / Caramut / Ballangeich areas) and the Killarney Coastal Reserve.

B2B will be working with Karingal to encourage and assist their clients to become involved in landcare out at Killarney to improve their social skills and wider interests while achieving great mental health and environmental outcomes.

The Kick Start Your Reserve project is still working with Yatmerone Wetlands and Penshurst to reveg and control woody weeds, Hawkesdale Golf Course and Racecourse Reserve to establish what native grassland species are present to establish a management plan and Griffith Island Reserve at Port Fairy to plant trees with good wallaby proof guards.

We welcome other reserve managers and friends groups in our region (Moyne Shire mainly west of the Hopkins River) to contact us with ideas about how we can assist them with resources to improve thier favourite bit of bush. Also land holders and farmers in the district who want to do more revegatation, waterway fencing and remnant bush enhancement to contact us as to possible funding opportunities.

Look forward to hearing from you. Karen - B2B Chairman

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Basalt to Bay has a new Coordinator

Hello everyone

Apologies for such a long delay between postings. Richard resigned back in August and we have been busy getting our new Coordinator, Michael Wright up to speed. What is wonderful is that Mick has hit the ground running with site visits to the reserves and properties which are taking the 20,000 trees funded from the Avatar movie. Plantings had to occur this spring.

Mick resides in Koroit and has been involved in many local landcare groups including Friends of Tower Hill and Killarney CoastCare group. His last position was with the Warrnambool City Council supervising participants in developing on the job skills by undertaking various environmental projects.

If you want to contact Mick he works Tuesdays and Wednesdays with his desk number being 5564 2607 and mobile 0459 524 556.

After such a wet winter, our next field day planned for Wednesday 27 October should be a winner. The focus is on wetlands - what attracts birds and wildlife to some wetlands and not others and what elements do you need to have a ecologically diverse wetland which will benefit so many of our regional species. The day starts at 10.00am meeting at the Caramut wetland on the intersection of the Hamilton Hwy and the Warrnambool - Caramut Rd intersection. The tour will then move to a the Wales property 6km north of Caramut to view a 20ha wetland developed 15 years ago which attracts a wide range of birds and animals including ducks, swans. egrets, spoonbills, stilts, herons, frogs, wallabies etc. Participants will be able to ask questions of our guest experts, Dr Michelle Casanova and Sue Mudford from Trust for Nature about how to develop or enhance a wetland on their own properties to create a wildlife haven.

We will finish up with lunch - so please contact Mick if you intend to come for catering purposes and for further details. B.Y.O gumboots, camera, binoculars, sun hat and chair.

Background on speakers:

Dr Michelle Casanova grew up in Lake Bolac in the western district of Victoria. She studied Marine Biology at James Cook University, then a PhD on water plants in the Botany Department of UNE in Armidale, working as a tutor and researcher there until 1998. Michelle now lives on a farm at Westmere, where they grow wheat, barley, canola, oats and fine-wool merinos. She has worked as a consultant on wetlands, and water plant biodiversity, and some of the work has been in documenting the diversity of a particular group of plants called 'charophytes' for the Australian Biological Resources Study through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Michelle is passionate about wetlands and biodiversity conservation and the necessity of incorporating conservation practices into productive agricultural systems.

Sue Mudford has professional experience in risk management, governance, community engagement, facilitation, regional development, biodiversity and conservation. She is actively involved in Landcare and conservation activities and is Regional Manager for the Glenelg Hopkins area for Trust for Nature. Sue lives on a property near Woorndoo and has extensive experience in developing and promoting wetlands and the importance of these habitats to the regional biodiversity. Recently Sue has promoted wetland protection by assisting to form the ‘Friends of the Brolga” group and with a membership of 400 people state-wide, interest by farmers in brolgas is high.

Cheers Karen Wales
Chair Basalt to Bay LCN

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Adios Amigos

Hey Folks, as of this Friday I will be leaving as coordinator of Basalt to Bay Landcare Network.

I have made a heart felt decision to move on, so that I can devote my energies to other areas of my life that I have been neglecting.

During my time with the network, we have achieved many wonderful things including on ground projects with some 21 landholders and 8 public reserves/sites, equating to some 114,000 trees. We have delivered 6 capacity building activities, involved 400 plus volunteers, developed a strategic plan and a web log. In recent months I have secured funding for another 20,000 trees to be planted at 3 reserves and 2 landholder sites. I have also set about seeking expressions of interest for funding for a further possible 25 land holder projects around Belfast Loch.

I had great ambitions for the network and was unable to realise all of them but I am still happy with what I have been able to achieve.

There are many highlights for me but none greater than the relationships I have formed with many wonderful people along the way (especially enthusiastic land holders) and the opportunity to play a small part in rejuvinating the brutalised landscape of the green desert.

Few people seem to realise how much effort some people put into caring about the local environment. Many people go unrecognised in their efforts, despite achieving great things. A few people I would like to recognise for their outstanding contribution to local environmental conservation include :
  • Don McTaggart
  • Ian Bodycoat
  • John Amor (RIP)
  • John Norton
  • Peter Bolte
  • Richard Weatherley
  • Brenton Bartsch
  • Carolyn Rundell
  • Dean Suckling
  • Matthew Ebden.
I would also like to recognise the input and connection to country of the local Gunditjmarra people, who have gone largely unheard by local NRM groups.

Thank you to the support of local agency staff and staff in Landcare Australia Limited, especially :
  • Mary Johnson, Dave Nichols, Tony Lithgow & Margie Finnegan of Glenelg Hopkins CMA
  • Francis Jeon-Ellis, John Bott & Shivani Jayasinghe of LAL
  • Carolyn Rundell of Trust for Nature
  • Jonathon Lee of Conservation Volunteers
  • Marty Gent of DSE
  • Matthew Ebden of Deakin University.
Thank you to everyone for their ongoing support and interest in healing Gunditjmarra land.

I wish you all the best in health, happiness and harmony.

Richard Hudson.


PS. From this point onwards key contact for the network will be Karen Wales (Network Chair) via email : basalttobay@gmail.com or 55 620 021.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creating Landscapes to Attract Birds

On Friday 13th August, Basalt to Bay will be running the Creating Landscapes to Attract Birds workshop in St Helens - north of Yambuk. Keynote speakers will be Rod Bird from Hamilton Field Nats and Jonathon Lee. During this workshop, participants will learn about :
  • Identifying key local species
  • Guidelines for designing landscapes to attract birds
  • The benefits of birds
Where : 185 St Helens Rd, St Helens (Google maps will help/car pool may be available)
When : Workshop starts at 9:30 am and finishes at 1 pm
Cost : Free

Picnic lunch and drinks provided, as well as a goody bag with relevant information.
Please RSVP asap by calling Richard Hudson on 0458 268 119 (or by emailing richardb2b@gmail.com) or Karen Wales 55 620 021.