Wildflower and Art Weekend a success!


The annual ANGAIR Wildflower and Art Weekend was greeted with a glorious spring day to welcome locals and visitors to the event.

This year featured a hands-on amphibian, reptile and insect experience by Roaming Reptiles, which was greatly received by children and adults alike. Read more

Annual event signals start to spring


Spring has definitely sprung with the warm weather welcoming the ANGAIR Wildflower and Art Exhibition on the 19th and 20th September.

The event attracted locals and visitors of all ages the area to explore the variety of stalls ranging from floral arrangements, propagation stalls and walks and rambles around the Anglesea area.

IMG_4041 small
Many organisations hosted stalls at the annual event, including the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

There was a lot of interest in the GORCC activities, attracting children and adults of all ages with colouring ins, puzzles and valuable information on local flora and fauna.

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said the weekend was a great opportunity for local organisations to raise awareness about the work being completed in the area and answer public questions.

“There was a good mix of everything on the weekend with lots of local organisations represented.

“It was great to see people of all ages enjoying the activities we had on offer and finding out more about GORCCs role in the community,” she said.

ANGAIR is a dedicated volunteer group that aims to protect and maintain the indigenous flora and fauna in the Anglesea and Aireys Inlet environments. For more information about volunteering in your local area visit our website.

What were your highlights from the day? Share them with us in the comments below. 

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. 

Wildflower Weekend a Growing Success


The indigenous orchids were hugely popular over the weekend.
The indigenous orchids were hugely popular over the weekend. Photo: ANGAIR.

Over 1, 300 attendees enjoyed the activities and displays available at the 2014 Annual Wildflower Weekend and Art Show held 20-21 September, hosted by Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR).

The EstuaryWatch marquee was popular amongst children, with the Water Big activity allowing children to view tiny animals in their natural marine habitat.
The EstuaryWatch marquee was popular amongst children, with the Water Big activity allowing children to view tiny animals in their natural marine habitat.

The Show, which saw an increase in numbers this year, aims to celebrate local flora and fauna and raise awareness around current environmental issues.

The 2014 Show included a versatile range of indigenous flora, guided wildflower walks and bus tours, plant sales, bird watching, plant propagation, children’s activities, and art and craft stalls.

There was a mixture of beautiful indigenous flora and information.
There was a mixture of beautiful indigenous flora and information on the day.

The Estuary Watch ‘Water Bug’ children’s activity proved popular, allowing children to view living animals in their natural aquatic habitat through a microscope.

Estuary Watch Coordinator Rose Herben said children enjoyed the activity which raised awareness of the water quality and river health of local waterways.

“A highlight of the day was identifying a large dragonfly, known for its alien like retractable jaw,” she said.

Callum McNeil was excited to see the tiny marine animals come to life.
Callum McNeil was excited to see the tiny marine animals come to life.

ANGAIR President Helen Tutt said feedback from the day had been positive, with more emphasis on marine life this year.

“Above the stage, there was a beautiful screen display covered in marine photography – it looked stunning,” she said.

One new addition to the weekend was the Friends of Eagle Park marine-themed stage.
One new addition to the weekend was the Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary marine-themed stage.
The Friends of Eagle Rock marine sanctuary beach-themes stage looked just like the real thing with local bird statues.
The Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary beach-themed stage looked just like the real thing.

If you would like more information regarding similar events and activities, visit the ANGAIR website here.

Did you attend the Annual Wildflower and Art Show? What was your favourite part?

Funds for rare flora


A local environmental group has been granted $9000 to enhance two rare flora populations on our iconic coast.

The state government awarded Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) with $9000 in funds as part of the Communities for Nature Grants program.

Chairperson of Jan Juc Coast Action Luke Hynes said the grant will foster the protection of two state significant flora species and enable them to continue their weed control efforts.

“We will use these funds to assist botanical experts Neil Anderton and Graeme Stockton to propagate the Swamp Diuris and increase the diversity of the Peninsula Daisy-bush in Jan Juc.

“We need to work actively to prevent these species from becoming locally extinct, encourage the recruitment of seedlings, and ensure populations are secure into the future,” he said.

Mr Hynes believes the grant will have significant benefits for the local coastline.

“This grant will benefit our coast by helping us protect local ecological values through weed control and protecting and enhancing these rare plant species,” he said.

The Peninsula Daisy Bush
The Peninsula Daisy Bush

The JJCA group works for the preservation and revegetation of the Jan Juc coastline with Indigenous species and the removal of environmental weeds, erosion control and provision of tracks and lookouts.

The group has been been working tirelessly to protect the survival of these precious flora species.

In 2010 the group pollinated Swamp Diuris by hand and collected seed to ensure the survival of the species.

This complex process required members to pollinate the tiny orchid flowers using tooth-picks.

The community can support the group’s efforts and help to ensure survival of these species by planting indigenous flora in their own gardens and removing environmental weeds.
“The invasion of foreign pasture grasses, noxious weeds and escaped garden plants are common threats to these fragile species.

“The Gazania, a common, pretty garden plant, is a particular threat, especially to the Swamp Diuris.
“Most community members don’t realise how easily these garden plants spread and how devastating they are for the environment,” said Mr.Hynes.

For more information on coastal volunteering in our region, visit www.gorcc.com.au.
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Rare orchid flowers following fire


Autumn orchids are flowering across the Surf Coast including a rare species which rarely flowers unless stimulated by fire.

The Fringe Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata) sighted in Anglesea, flowering well after fire, is found in sandy soils and flowers mainly from March to May. Photo: Margaret MacDonald
The Fringed Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata) sighted in Anglesea, flowering well after fire, is found in sandy soils and flowers mainly from March to May. Photo: Margaret MacDonald

Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) sighted a number of orchids during their nature ramble walk, including the Fringed Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata).

Orchid expert Gary Backhouse said while the species is common in Western Victoria, with some colonies containing many hundreds of plants, the Fringed Hare Orchid only flowers under special conditions.

“It flowers well only after summer bushfires, with only a small proportion (sometimes none) in flower in the absence of summer fire.”

ANGAIR member Yvonne Coventry said she was one of five who had sighted the orchid.

“The area has undergone a burn in the last 12 months so there were a number of different plants coming up including a small patch of Fringed Hare Orchids.

“The Fringed Hare Orchid is very beautiful and very rare,” she said.

Mr Backhouse said the Fringed Hare Orchid does not only flower in specific conditions, but requires specific circumstances for pollination as well.

Winged male ants pollinate the plant by attempting to mate with the labellum (part of the petal that forms a lip) as they are attracted by the orchid’s scent which mimics that of a female ant.

“The winged males usually emerge from their nests only in warm, humid conditions, often just before rain, and have a very short flight period.

“There may be some years when orchid flowering and male ant emergence do not coincide, and very few, if any, flowers will be pollinated.”

Fringed Hare Orchid 2

Other orchids spotted by ANGAIR members this month include over thirty Fringed Midge Orchids (Corunastylis ciliate), a species which had not yet been sighted this year and the Parson’s Band Orchid (Eriochilus cucullatus).

ANGAIR and Friends of the Eastern Otways member Margaret MacDonald said there are 110 species of orchids in the Anglesea area and that there were many things we don’t yet understand about the plant.

“All orchids are rare and protected and they interest me because of their beauty, uniqueness and complexity.

“People can get involved by joining the Australasian Native Orchid Society which is based in Geelong or by contacting ANGAIR and arranging a walk,” she said.

ANGAIR holds guided walks every second Monday of the Month.  To learn more about orchids on the Surf Coast or to get involved please contact the ANGAIR office on: 5263 1085 or visit www.angair.org.au.  

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

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