The Coastal Moonah Woodland is a plant community that is listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and can be found in our heathlands along the coast. Read more
It’s back! The annual ANGAIR Wildflower and Art weekend will be held this September. Read more
Lorne and Aireys Inlet P-12 College students have partnered with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) to regenerate the Erskine Paddock area in Lorne as part of the Coast Guardians Program – a free educational program, which aims to increase environmental awareness in local schools. Read more
The Surf Coast Nature Search (SCNS), an interactive, online search tool for identifying weeds and indigenous plants in our region, has been launched.
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.
“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.
“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.
The database can be accessed at www.scnaturesearch.com.au.
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.
Despite the cold weather, winter is the perfect time to combat the spread of environmental weeds and revegetate residential gardens with beautiful (native-animal-attracting) indigenous species.
Environmental weeds are plants that displace native vegetation which impacts the vitality of indigenous flora and fauna. Surprisingly, many environmental weeds are popular garden plants that have grown to become major threats to the biodiversity in the natural environment.
Common garden plants such as Agapanthus, Arum Lily, Gazania and Freesia are all environmental weeds that are detrimental to native flora and fauna.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale, encourages locals to remove environmental weeds from their gardens this winter.
“If we remove environmental weeds and plant indigenous species in their place, we are able to provide a haven for our precious wildlife and protect coastal habitats.
“Revegetating gardens in winter provides plants with ideal soil conditions and the best chance of survival.
“Seeds from invasive species are easily spread by the wind and animals, which is why it is important to avoid planting environmental weeds in the garden,” she said.
Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE) Chair Graeme Stockton is urging locals to think of plants as more than an aesthetic addition to the garden.
“Plants provide vital habitats for local birds and animals, and the type of plant determines the fauna it attracts.
“As a community, we have a large impact on the environment and it is up to us to choose whether we have a positive or negative impact.
“Removing environmental weeds from the garden and coastal habitats is a great start to environmental stewardship,” he said.
Weed eradication programs are a vital component of GORCC’s extensive conservation effort to protect and enhance fragile habitats along the coast.
Local schools and environmental volunteer groups actively contribute to GORCC’s conservation effort and dedicate hundreds of hours each year to coastal protection works.
For more information on what plants are weeds (and what alternatives to plant in your garden), check out the Weeds of the Surf Coast Shire booklet.
Want to do more? Environmental volunteer groups operate right along our beautiful coast. For more information, click here.
Want to purchase some indigenous plants or get a helping hand? Otways Indigenous Nursery in Aireys Inlet is a great place to start.
Have you identified any weeds in your garden?
An innovative, searchable plant database is in production thanks to grant funding, donations and the work of Jan Juc Coast Action volunteers.
The online tool, which will allow people to identify indigenous species and environmental weeds growing in the Jan Juc area, will provide in-depth information about local flora.
Jan Juc Coast Action is working with a range of partners on the project, including the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Boojum, a local online design business.
The project was recently awarded a GORCC Coastal Grant of $2500 and has also received support through a State Government Coastcare Grant.
Jan Juc Coast Action volunteer Graeme Stockton said the database will help to protect local flora and fauna by allowing coastal property owners to identify environmental weeds in their gardens and offering them indigenous alternatives.
“Environmental weeds are harmful plants that quickly spread to nearby habitats causing severe damage to the fragile coastal environment.
“We only have a thin strip of natural coastal habitat left and residential gardens are located very close to these fragile environments,” he said.
Jan Juc Coast Action hopes the database will be expanded beyond Jan Juc in the future to cover indigenous plants and weeds right along the GORCC managed coast.
“It would be ideal to see this tool expanded to become a comprehensive database of not only flora along GORCC-managed land but fauna as well,” said Mr. Stockton.
Boojum Lead Designer Roland Maxwell who has been working with the volunteers to create the website, has donated hundreds of hours to the project.
“The database will be searchable in a range of ways including flower colour, size, leaf shape and more,” he said.
The platform has been designed to be as flexible and user friendly as possible.
The website is flexible enough to support future growth to the database and potential extensions of the project such as applications for mobile,” said Mr Maxwell.
GORCC is supporting the project through both grant funding and in-kind assistance.
GORCC Community Liaison Manager Jane Lovejoy said the website is set to become an indispensable tool that can be used by volunteers, community members and educators alike.
“This tool will be a fabulous education resource for school groups that we engage through our education programs.
“Additionally, those who love the coast and enjoy walking along the Jan Juc Cliffs and admiring indigenous species will be able to accurately determine what plant they’re looking at,” she said.
More information on coastal volunteering and the GORCC Coastal Grants program is available at www.gorcc.com.au.
This article was published in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column
250 local students recently joined forces with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Fisheries Victoria to plant more than 800 indigenous plants as part of an annual event with a long history.
The Coastal Stewards Program (previously known as Dune Edu-Action) has been running for more than 10 years and has enabled thousands of students to make a positive contribution to our coastal environment.
The program aims to teach students to take ownership of their local environment and create generational change.
Phil Armato, Manager at the Queenscliff Marine and Fresh Water Discovery Centre believes it’s crucial to educate future generations to care for our precious coast.
“The program empowers the children to make a difference in their community, and that’s a big deal when you’re only in grade 3 or 4.
“These children are our future leaders, parents and voters. It will pay-off in the long run that they care for their coast,” Mr. Armato said.
This year’s program saw grade 3 and 4 students from Torquay College plant indigenous flora along Fisherman’s Beach in 2 hours sessions over three days.
Torquay College teacher Dianne Dendle said the program provides an opportunity for the kids to put their classroom learning into practice.
“We have been learning about biodiversity, sustainability, recycling and marine parks, including how humans impact on these issues.
“Coming out here and getting our hands dirty means what the children have been learning in class becomes relevant and is put into practice,” Ms. Dendle said.
Ms Dendle also believes the program plays an important part in teaching students to appreciate and care for the environment they live in.
“It is a hands-on activity which means the children can see how the area has been affected, grow a sense of respect and ownership for the environment and make a difference in the community,” she said.
GORCC contributed indigenous plants and gardening equipment to the program, which Conservation Supervisor, Georgina Beale said was a great success.
“The students made a fantastic impact on our coastal environment by planting approximately 800 indigenous plants as well as learning how to protect their local environment.”
For more information about environmental education activities on our coast click here.
NAB volunteers have given the gift of conservation at Christmas, working with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) to restore threatened Coastal Moonah Woodlands at Point Roadknight.
NAB Melbourne senior manager Tim Gorst said NAB employees are encouraged to spend several days each year doing activities that connect them with the communities in which they live and work.
“We get together about this time every year to work with GORCC so it is becoming something of a tradition,”
“We all live in Torquay and enjoy this special environment so the day was a great opportunity to support some of the important work GORCC undertakes to protect the local coast.”
Mr.Gorst said volunteering on the coast didn’t just benefit the environment.
“As a bunch of pen pushers it is great to be out of the office, and rewarding to see the fruits of our labour at the end of the day,” he said.
The volunteers helped to clear Tea Tree, an environmental weed, from a coastal revegetation site in Point Roadknight.
“None of us realised it had become a problem and was choking out a lot of other native vegetation,” said Mr.Gorst.
GORCC Conservation officer Georgie Beale said Tea Tree, while native to Australia, is not indigenous to this part of the coast.
“Coast Tea-Tree has invaded many coastal areas since the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires forming thickets on dunes and heathlands.
“The weed smothers indigenous vegetation through shading and competition for resources such as water, soil and nutrients and therefore reduces the habitat of indigenous fauna,” she said.
Ms. Beale said Tea Tree isn’t the only issue.
“Garden escapees such as Polygala are also devastating to these threatened plant communities.
“We would encourage coastal landowners to plant indigenous plants in their garden – pretty flowers are often the biggest menace,”
“We would also ask that people don’t dispose of their garden cuttings on the coast, as this also encourages spread,” she said.
Ms. Beale said the GORCC conservation team had been working with volunteers and school groups over several years to restore over nine hectares of coast.
“ANGAIR volunteers, in particular have worked for almost a decade to improve biodiversity in the area.
Ms. Beale said GORCC hoped to see indigenous plants and animals return to the area.
“With improved biodiversity we should see all sorts of fauna inhabiting the area.
“We might even see the return of species such as the Southern Brown Bandicoot,” she said.
Learn more about coastal volunteering at www.gorcc.com.au
This article featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column – Check it out here!
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September is Biodiversity Month and there’s heaps of simple ways that you can get involved.
Biodiversity month is held to promote the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity both within Australia and across the world.
What can you do to help?
Here’s a few ideas:
- Create a natural habitat in your backyard. Learn more about going indigenous in your garden!
- Get rid of weeds: Do you know which innocent looking plants are actually environmental menaces?
- Be a responsible pet owner – Keep your cat indoors at night and keep your dog on a lead!
- Reduce, reuse and recycle:
- Start your own compost bin.
- Be an informed seafood eater: Learn more about choosing sustainable seafood.
There are around 22 volunteer groups along our local coast helping to protect our coast’s biodiversity and they are always on the lookout for new members and supporters, even if its just for an hour or two! find out more
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the ‘web of life’, ‘the variety of living things’ or ‘the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, their genes and ecosystems of which they are a part’.
Australia is very unique and is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 84 per cent of our plants, 83 per cent of our mammals, and 45 per cent of our birds are only found in Australia.
You can find more about Biodiversity Month here.
How are you working to protect and preserve our coast??
|Let’s work together to protect coastal biodiversity|
|Top tips to care for the coast|
|Deal with waste responsibly|