Volunteers transform clifftops


National Volunteer Week (NVW) is on again and is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution more than 6 million Australian volunteers make to communities across the nation.

Jan Juc Coast Action have a long history of restoring and revegetating the clifftop area and have been instrumental in the improved habitat health along the stunning stretch of coastline. Read more

Great Ocean Road Coast invests in community projects


Five community and volunteer groups are set to benefit from the annual Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Coastal Grant program with $10,000 going to projects that protect, enhance and increase community connections to the coastal environment.

ANGAIR, Anglesea Motor Yacht Club, Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club, Jan Juc Coast Action and Torquay Coast Action have all received funding towards their upcoming projects.

Read more

MacKillop pays coast a visit


A group of Year 11 students from MacKillop College, Werribee visited the Surf Coast for their Outdoor and Environmental studies camp last week.

The group spent two days on the coast looking at the variety of uses including recreation, commercial, and conservation activities as part of their VCE studies. Read more

Invasive orchids get the boot


Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) faced an unusual task during their last working bee for 2015 – finding and removing the tenacious South African orchid Disa bractreata.

The highly invasive orchid species first appeared in Victoria in the mid-1990s after being introduced in Western Australia in 1946. Read more

Celebration for local volunteers


Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) were announced joint winners of the Victorian Coastal Awards for Excellence Natural Environment category in the annual ceremony held on October 15.

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Jan Juc Coast Action were dubbed ‘Coastal Champions’ for their 21 years of continual commitment to the protection and enhancement of the Jan Juc cliffs. Photo: Jan Juc Coast Action

The Awards, held by the Victorian Coastal Council, celebrate the outstanding work of individuals and groups in enhancing and protecting Victoria’s coastal and marine environments.

Eight awards were presented to groups and individuals who have made outstanding environmental contributions to the Victorian Coast.

Award winners in each category were:

  • Natural Environment (2x): Parks Victoria and Sea Search Program – Ten Years of Corner Inlet Community Seagrass Monitoring & Jan Juc Coast Action Group – 21 Years of Jan Juc Coast Action
  • Education: BirdLife Australia – Bringing the coast to the classroom
  • Planning and Management: Environmental Protection Authority – The Victorian Marine Operational Model
  • Community Engagement: Friends of Beware Reef – Community Engagement & Marine Species Monitoring
  • Design and Building: Frankston City Council – McCulloch Avenue Boardwalk
  • Victorian Marine Science Consortium – Postgraduate Award: Marlene Rodriguez-Malagon – Postgraduate marine research
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement – Bob Semmens

Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said this year’s finalists and award winners have been exemplary.

“I’m proud of how we take real responsibility for the welfare of our coast, which not only improves the health of the environment, but also the livability of our communities.

“It is important we understand the threats to our coastal and marine environments, and the ways in which communities can take action to help limit their impacts,” she said.

Over the past 21 years, JJCA has rehabilitated four kilometers of coastal foreshore and continues to improve this area through monthly working bees conducting activities including the removal of pest species, fencing and revegetation.

In recent years, the group’s focus has shifted from revegetation and access control to targeted threatened species and raising environmental awareness through engaging with the community.

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Jan Juc Coast Action Chairman Luke Hynes with members from Jan Juc Coast Action at the October working bee earlier this year. Photo: Ferne Millen

Recently JJCA launched their online searchable plant database the Surf Coast Nature Search, that aims to help support an increase in environmental awareness among locals and holiday makers.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) works closely with environmental volunteer groups that work on the GORCC managed land and was thrilled to see JJCA receive the award.

GORCC Community Liaison Manager Jane Lovejoy said the award was well deserved and a testament to the hard work volunteers donate each year to protect the coast.

“Volunteer groups continue to be the backbone of GORCC’s conservation efforts with 11 groups working directly on our managed land.

“It is fantastic to see local environmental volunteer groups receive recognition for their consistent contributions to enhancing our precious coastal environment,” she said.

Coastal conservation is everyone’s responsibility. How do you help keep our coast beautiful?

New online nature search launched


The Surf Coast Nature Search (SCNS), an interactive, online search tool for identifying weeds and indigenous plants in our region, has been launched.

The Surf Coast Nature Search homepage.
Surf Coast Nature Search homepage

The online resource, which has been developed by local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA),   is a detailed database of hundreds of indigenous plants and environmental weeds on the coast between Point Impossible and Bells Beach.

Users are able to search based on a range of criteria including plant type, flower colour, size, leaf shape and more.

JJCA Chairperson Luke Hynes said the website is a great local asset for locals that will help support an increase in environmental awareness.

Jan Juc Coast Action Chairperson Luke Hynes uses the new database to search for the coastal shrub along the Surf Coast Walk.
Jan Juc Coast Action Chairperson Luke Hynes uses the new database to search for the coastal shrub along the Surf Coast Walk.

“The SCNS database has been a dream of the JJCA group for many years,” he said.

To date, JJCA volunteers have added 181 plant species to database, which is expected to grow as species are added and the tool extends to include fauna and cover more areas of the Surf Coast.

“It’s exciting to think that people with a limited understanding of botanical terms will now be able to identify local plants, pinpoint environmental weeds in their backyard and learn more about the environmental impacts and benefits of particular species,” said Mr. Hynes.

JJCA group volunteer Graeme Stockton said one of the aims of the database is to help coastal property owners create environmentally friendly gardens.

JJCA Chairperson Luke Hynes and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale test out the database on their walk.
JJCA Chairperson Luke Hynes and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale test out the database on their walk.

“The SCNS is a simple tool for identifying environmental weeds in your garden and selecting indigenous alternatives,” he said.

Weeds, which easily escape from local gardens, have been identified as the number one threat to the natural environment on the coast due to their ability to out compete indigenous species.

“Indigenous plants are vital, providing vital habitat for local birds and animals,” said Mr. Stockton.

Mr Hynes said the group had worked hard with locally based web design experts Boojum to ensure the platform was as interactive and easy to navigate as possible.

“Our biggest challenge was trying to incorporate complex plant characteristics in a searchable format that is flexible and user friendly,” he said.

Luke and Georgie using the database to identify the coastal shrub along the Jan Juc cliffs
Luke and Georgie using the database to identify the coastal shrub along the Jan Juc cliffs

The database can be accessed at www.scnaturesearch.com.au.

The project was supported by a $5000 State Governments CoastCare Grant, $2500 Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Coastal Grant and $1000 Surf Coast Shire Grant.

Check out the Surf Coast Nature Search today and see how many plants you can identify from your garden! Let us know how many indigenous plants you find in your backyard in the comments below.