Signs set to showcase volunteers’ great work

Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) has completed its latest project after being a recipient of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) Coastal Grants Program.

The group began the project in June 2019, erecting interpretative signage along the Jan Juc clifftops, providing visitors to the Surf Coast Walk with a before and after view of the area.

It’s not hard to see the huge amount of work the volunteer group has put into the Jan Juc clifftops area, but it will be even easier to see now with new signage in place.

The project aims to highlight to visitors the amount of hard work that has gone into making the area what it is today, showcasing the environmental successes the group has delivered.

Jan Juc Coast Action volunteer Luke Hynes and Great Ocean Road Coast Committee CEO Vanessa Schernickau alongside one of the newly installed signs.

The signs can be found alongside the Surf Coast Walk near Bird Rock Car Park, Jan Juc Beach Car Park and Steps Lookout in Jan Juc – locations that show the direct impact the volunteer group’s efforts have had on creating substantial positive environmental change on the clifftops.

Dedicated JJCA member Luke Hynes, who has been involved with the volunteer group for more than a decade, was thrilled to see the project completed and said it was a tribute to the many hours and great work the group has put in.

The transformation at Steps Lookout from 1995 to now.

Luke also thanked GORCC for their generous assistance, providing a $3,840 grant to get the project off the ground.

“There have been thousands of hours of volunteer work put in to enhance these areas. Hopefully, these pictures tell a bit of a story about how important it is to treat it well,” Luke said.

Not only will these signs provide great insight into the preservation of the Jan Juc clifftops, but they also help educate visitors.

It’s a new-look car park compared to 1980 at Jan Juc Car Park.

The signs read: ‘Our community chose to restore this coastal ecosystem. Help us look after and respect our fragile, diverse and unique habitat.’

The message is clear; the choice is ours to help our precious coastal ecosystems thrive.

The signs also provide visitors with information about JJCA and how they can get involved.

The popular walking track sees plenty of people, both local and tourists, enjoy the area and these signs will help to reduce the negative impact of people entering the protected areas on the clifftops as well as encourage environmental protection.

A perfect track to take a walk on, a far cry from the informal track pictured left 30 years ago.

The coastal vegetation along the clifftops has been restored over many years after human pressures degraded the landscape. With increased awareness, visitors will hopefully gain a better understanding and greater respect and awareness of the role we can all play in protecting the environment.

Jan Juc Coast Action holds a monthly working bee on the first Sunday of the month. Anyone interested in getting involved with the volunteer group can contact Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438 or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JanJucCoastAction for details.

Each year, GORCC dedicates funds for community-led projects that enhance the natural values of the 37 kilometres of coastal Crown land under its management between Point Impossible and Cumberland River. The grants aim to encourage proactive environmental and heritage protection along the coast. The next round of Coastal Grants opens mid-March 2020.

A walk through Torquay’s Taylor Park

It only takes a short stroll around Taylor Park to realise its vast array of plants and wildlife, nestled among the suburban area of Torquay.

While taking that same stroll around the park with dedicated volunteer member of Friends of Taylor Park Ian Convery, you get a great insight into the park’s history and what it means to members of the community like Ian.

We began our walk at the pond, accompanied by many ducks being fed by a family. It only took a few minutes into our walk before we bumped into a couple of regulars to the park and stopped for a chat – it’s little things like these that quickly show what Taylor Park offers to the community and why it’s important to preserve it.

Photo: Friends of Taylor Park volunteer Ian Convery.

Ian said there were a number of improvements he and the fellow members of Friends of Taylor Park were hoping to implement in the near future.

“We think for the park to have a future it needs a lot more done to it,” Ian said.

We walked past where a recent planting day had taken place, and then made our way through the trees and shrubbery. Ian spoke of how important it was to keep what Taylor Park, which surrounds the Torquay Bowling Club along The Esplanade, has to offer but also build upon that and make the park not only a great destination for locals but also people visiting Torquay.

Convery was hopeful that with the continued support of Friends of Taylor Park, Taylor Park would not just remain, but become a genuine attraction for those in the community and visiting the area.

 “We’d like to get it to the point where people visit Torquay and know about the park and want to visit it.”

Continued maintenance to walking trails and benches, as well as adding signage regarding the park’s history, was something he was keen to implement.

The Taylor Park Draft Master Plan, released by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, highlights the desire to put into action many of Friends of Taylor Park’s hopes.

Educational and historical signage, drinking fountains and landscaping to the pond area are all planned works on the horizon. While in the medium to longer-term, better lighting, better ways to harvest stormwater and additional picnic facilities have all been tabled.

Photo: Great Ocean Road Coast Committee conservation team member Scott Hives (left) with Friends of Taylor Park volunteers at a working bee in 2019.

Anyone wishing to join Friends of Taylor Park and help with the conservation of the area can contact the group on 0418 386 190 or join the Facebook page ‘Friends of Taylor Park Torquay’.

The next volunteer working bee is 10am – 12pm Saturday 8 February.

About us
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.

Written by Daniel Short, GORCC Communications and Engagement Intern.

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.

Read more