September Biodiversity Month blitzes past last year

Each September, the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) celebrates the arrival of spring and the explosion of life that comes with it. We are the caretakers of a ‘biodiversity hot spot’, which means there is an unusual diversity of life concentrated within our land management area.

Biodiversity Month runs for the 30 days of September and citizen scientists are encouraged to upload their observations of biodiversity to the online database, iNaturalist.

To facilitate this process, GORCC runs a number of education activities during the month in different habitats and areas of the GORCC management zone, and this year we partnered with Parks Victoria to run sessions in some areas of the Great Otway National Park.

The first community session was held on 1 September, with the day landing on both Father’s Day and Wattle Day. To start the day, Possum Pete led a group in exploring the Anglesea coastal track to see how many species of Wattle (Acacia sp.) and other plants and animals they could find.

A tiny Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) pokes its head out from a blooming Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata) during our celebration of Wattle Day.
Blooming wattle along the Anglesea coastal track.

Later that day, the group explored the Point Roadknight rock pools with 25 keen young biologists and their parents, and they found a great selection of crabs, snails and anemones.

On 7 September GORCC ran a public Rock Pool Ramble at Rocky Point in Torquay. Despite the wintry conditions, 20 members of the public came out to explore wildlife living in the rock pools with us.

On Friday 13 September, GORCC partnered with Parks Victoria and the Friends of Eastern Otways to run a special biodiversity activity. Dubbed ‘Spooky Biodiversity’ because of the date, the group of 30 searched for the nocturnal creatures that might be considered scary at Moggs Creek picnic ground.

Kids surround Possum Pete at the activity trailer to see creepy crawlies up close on the digital microscope at Moggs Creek picnic ground.

There were quite a few insects about including some moths and the group heard the calls of Yellow Bellied Gliders and Boobook Owls when they went for a walk. Local biologist Craig Graham, under the permission and supervision of Parks Victoria, set up nets to capture this Little Forest Bat (Vespadelus vultunus). One of the smallest mammals in Australia, Little Forest Bats can weigh less than 4g.

A Little Forest Bat (Vespadelus vultunus) caught and handled by biologist Craig Graham at the ‘Friday 13th Spooky Biodiversity’ community event.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed their observations to this year’s September Biodiversity Month. What a great snapshot this project provides of the rich diversity of life in this region.

This year, we observed 100 species more than last year, with over 350 species identified. A big congratulations to Neil Tucker for recording the most observations and the greatest number of species throughout the BioBlitz in September, logging an amazing 221 observations and 198 different species. Neil is an active volunteer with coastal conservation groups ANGAIR and Torquay Coast Action and is renowned as an expert on local biodiversity, especially plants and fungi.

To check out all of the observations found throughout the Surf Coast this September BioBlitz, see iNaturalist’s website: www.inaturalist.org/projects/surfcoast-september-bioblitz-2019.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is a State Government body responsible for protecting, enhancing, and developing coastal Crown land from Point Impossible to Cumberland River. All funds raised through the organisation’s commercial endeavours are reinvested back into the coast. Visit us at www.gorcc.com.au.

ANGAIR Art and Wildflower Weekend

The Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) held their much-anticipated Annual Art and Wildflower Weekend over the weekend.

Celebrating 50 years of ANGAIR volunteers caring for the coast, there were spectacular displays of indigenous wildflowers and plants for sale, art and craft displays, guided walks, and plenty of activities for the kids.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s environmental education team joined in the fun with lots of resources on nature and the coast. There was plenty of interest from both locals and visitors alike gathering information about the Surf Coast’s indigenous plants, animals and environments, and how to make sure that we leave a positive impact on the coast.

There was a hive of activity around our powerful digital microscope looking at nature ‘Up Close’, with lots of interesting small invertebrates found on the plants and leaf litter in the area observed under the microscope. The little ones also enjoyed making their own ‘beachscape’ in our sandpit filled with beach treasures. There were craft activities too, with lots of kids getting involved in making their own blossom and leaf art creations and decorating reusable tote bags.

Despite a little rain, it was once again a great weekend for the community to come together and celebrate our unique coastal environment.

About ANGAIR

ANGAIR is dedicated to protecting our indigenous flora and fauna, and to maintaining the natural beauty of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet and their local environments. To learn more about the fantastic work that ANGAIR do or how you can get involved, visit ANGAIR’s website at www.angair.org.

Share our Shores from Coast to Coast

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and Barwon Coast Committee of Management have joined forces with a simple message for visitors of the coast this summer.

From Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula to Cumberland River on the Surf Coast, we are asking beachgoers to ‘Share our Shores’.

The Share our Shores campaign focuses on all aspects of equitable use by all types of beach users. Read more

Nurdles prove major hurdle for marine life

What’s a nurdle? A nurdle is a very small pellet of plastic which serves as the key material in the manufacture of plastic products. Countless billions of these small plastic balls are used each year to make nearly all our plastic products.

Accidental spillage and mishandling means that countless nurdles have ended up in our oceans, wreaking havoc on the environment.

Mistaken for food by our marine-life and seabirds, nurdles and other plastics can make animals very sick when ingested.

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Victorian Coastal Award Winners

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is honoured to win a Victorian Coastal Award for our education program with the Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio MP.  A huge congratulations to Peter Crowcroft, Hilary Bouma, Katie Hart and all of the Great Ocean Road Coast staff involved.  Special thanks to all the of students, caravan park campers, volunteers, businesses, teachers, parents and all the other coastal education supporters.
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Coast Guardians Forum a day of learning and fun

The 2017 GORCC Coast Guardians Forum was a day of celebration and inspiration for the 140 year 9 students, teachers and staff from the four local schools who attended at the Surf Coast Shire Grant Pavilion in Torquay. The weather was not in our favour, but the spirits were high for a fun-filled day with delicious food, wonderful donated goods as prizes, and local coastal expertise.

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