Staff roll up sleeves for Queens Park


It was National Volunteer Week from May 8-14 and to celebrate, our staff donated their manpower to help remove thousands of invasive weeds from the Queens Park reserve in Lorne. Read more

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. 

Combined forces sees conservation win


TAFE students have joined forces with a local environmental group, resulting in multiple benefits, including the removal of thousands of invasive weeds and the development of positive, ongoing relationships.

Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) united with Gordon Conservation and Land Management students recently to remove Sallow Wattle and Boneseed from Anglesea’s outskirts.

The day saw strong relationships formed between the two groups, leading many students to continue to volunteer their time with ANGAIR outside of their studies.

ANGAIR committee member Roger Ganley (left), Surf Coast Shire Environment Officer Leanne Rolfe (yellow), ANGAIR committee member Janet Stephens (front right)and property owner Heather Walker (far right) with Gordon TAFE students during a successful weed removal day within Aireys Inlet.
ANGAIR committee member Roger Ganley (left), Surf Coast Shire Environment Officer Leanne Rolfe (yellow), ANGAIR committee member Janet Stephens (front right)and property owner Heather Walker (far right) with Gordon TAFE students during a successful weed removal day within Aireys Inlet.

The students, inspired by their experience, have been participating in local working bees and assisting with the propagation of indigenous plants.

ANGAIR Membership Secretary Janet Stephens said students developed a great rapport with the volunteers, proving age is no barrier when it comes to conservation.

“They were terrific – not only were we able to get a lot of weeding done, but we were also able to pass on our knowledge and experience for the younger generation to take on board,” she said.

TAFE students working hard at removing harmful weeds on the outskirts of Anglesea.
TAFE students working hard at removing harmful weeds on the outskirts of Anglesea.

Gordon Course Coordinator Amanda May said the day was a huge success, with both parties enjoying the benefits of the partnership.

“ANGAIR has benefited from the injection of youthful energy, enthusiasm and muscle.

“In turn, students have learnt a great deal about weed control, working with volunteers, and planning and running a community event,” Ms May said.

In an additional project, Gordon students have also targeted a Bluebell Creeper weed infestation on private properties within Aireys Inlet.

Surf Coast Environmental Officer Leanne Rolfe (centre) and ANGAIR Committee Member Roger Ganley (right) with grateful landowner who made chocolate snowballs for hardworking volunteers.
Surf Coast Environmental Officer Leanne Rolfe (centre) and ANGAIR Committee Member Roger Ganley (right) with grateful landowner who made chocolate snowballs for hardworking volunteers.

Gordon students Kate Skinner and Rachael Beecham prepared site assessment reports for two Anglesea sites and will now develop a management plan for these selected sites.

“Large amounts of the creeper were removed in June, hopefully protecting rare Orchid plants in the future.

“The beautiful orchids were almost completely covered by the Creeper when we first arrived and we were able to make a positive impact, although there is definitely more to be done,” she said.

For more information on coastal, environmental volunteering visit gorcc.com.au. ANGAIR is always on the lookout for new faces and there are lots of ways you can contribute to the group’s conservation efforts. For more information visit angair.com.au.

 

Related blog posts:

The Peninsula Daisy Bush Funds for rare florahttps://gorcc.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/funds-for-rare-flora/
The Gordon TAFE offers a number of courses that have an environmentally sustainable emphasis. Sustainable careers in focushttps://gorcc.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/sustainable-careers-in-focus/

Weed Profile: Boneseed


Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. monilifera) is one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its severe environmental impacts. This killer is invasive and has a threatening potential to spread rapidly.

Boneseed is a declared noxious weed in Victoria – it endangers rare and threatened plants.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of Boneseed is that it thrives in coastal areas. It favours sandy soils and tolerates saline conditions.

Boneseed is recognizable by its erect, woody, evergreen shrub that can grow to 3m. The fleshy leaves are an elongated oval shape with toothed edges. When flowering, they have yellow daisy petals that grow in clusters. Boneseed also has round, green and black berries, each containing a seed.

Boneseed:

–          Invades dunes and coastal areas;

–          Grows in most soil types and tolerates a wide range of climates;

–          Rapidly regrows after a disturbance;

–          Alters habitat and shifts food plants of native animals; and

–          Can restrict access to beaches, parks and trails.

It is for these reasons, along with the alarming fact that it has no natural enemies in Australia, that Boneseed has so rapidly invaded many areas of Victoria. It is now in mid-winter that the plant flowers and it is NOW that you need to take control before the killer takes over your garden.

What can you do to protect your area from Boneseed?

Boneseed is difficult to clear, it is very hardy and can withstand salt spray. Report an infestation to your local weeds officer.

It is easy to join a local Landcare of Coastcare group to remove Boneseed. Contact the State Landcare Coordinator on (03) 96378033 or see – http://landcarevic.net.au/regions.

If you want more information regarding Boneseed and other weeds go to The Weeds Australia website – here

More information about weeds and how to protect the coast from them is available here.

Below is a video about the importance of protecting our coast.

Information for this blog came from the Victorian Government, Victorian Department of Primary Industries and National Bitou Bush and Boneseed Management Group flyer.

Queens Park blitz a group effort


Students, corporate and environmental volunteers and land management agencies joined forces recently in a bid eradicate two of the worst weeds on the coast.

Year nine and 10 students from Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 and ANZ bank staff were amongst the group volunteers keen to protect Lorne’s iconic Queens Park.

Queens Park is 25 hectares of parkland which also includes Teddy’s lookout andlocal volunteer groups and schools often work in conjunction with the GORCC to both remove weeds and restore the area.

This event was organised by the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN) in an attempt to win the tough battle against Bridal Creepers and Boneseed weeds in coastal regions and across the Otway Plain and ranges coastal regions.

Brial Creepers smother native plants so it’s vital we control them now!


OCCN project facilitator Luke Hynes says Boneseed and Bridal Creeper are known as two of the worst weeds in Australia as they are spread very quickly.

“Boneseed and Bridal Creeper are emerging weeds in this area and it is essential we control these weeds before they become established,” he said.

For more information about Bridal Creepers and Bonseed weeds, click the links below:

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said Queens Park is of high environmental significance and is home to some very unique animals.

“Many of the native animals who live in Queens Park are also threatened such as the Swift Parrott, the Rufous Bristlebird and the near threatened Swamp Anrichenus,” she said.

ANZ business analyst Georgie Roberts made the trip down to the coast from Melbourne with fellow co-workers, who are given the opportunity to do one day of volunteering each year.

“This year we decided to leave Melbourne and travel to Lorne because Queens Park is such a beautiful area and we were keen to get out of the office and spend a day helping to protect the coastal environment,” she said.

Lone-Aireys Inlet P-12 students and ANZ private banking staff were satisfied with their contribution to preserving the natural environment of Queens Park.

Friends of Queens Park President John Wilson said that working bees are common place in this area.

“We conduct regular working bees with volunteers and other local environmental groups including LorneCare, who generously give their time to clear weeds in the park and help to improve biodiversity in Queens Park,” he said.

How can I get involved in volunteering?

To find out more about the OCCN please visit their website www.occn.org.au

Friends of Queens Park also hold regular working bees in the area- If you are interested in their work, don’t hesitate to call 52891689 for more information.

For more information about environmental volunteering, please visit our website here.

Input sought on Otways biodiversity


Do you have some more free time during your Easter Holidays? Why not come along to the upcoming planning workshop for the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN) later this month?

After a successful first year, the OCCN is inviting the community to have their input at a new workshop about the future protection of biodiversity in the Otway region.

The OCCN are coordinating an effort to tackle Bridal Creeper and Boneseed weeds in the Otways through ground control, as well as mapping.

Bridal Creeper taking over native vegetation (photo: OCCN)

This Clip produced by the OCCN shows volunteers removing Boneseed  on three Victorian Properties:

OCCN Facilitator Luke Hynes said that these weeds are having a devasting effect on our local environment and coastline. He said that it is also the perfect opportunity to share information and discuss how to encourage biodiversity in a community-oriented environment.

“We are now planning future projects and community input is vital,” he said.

Who else will be there?

Representatives from Great Ocean Road Coast Committe (GORCC), Parks Victoria, VicRoads, The Department of Sustainabilty and Environment, The Corangmite Catchment Management Authority, Landcare,  local councils, coastal land managers, Trust for Nature and other conservation groups, will also be there contributing their ideas.

‘We are asking for input and are looking forward to seeing to see representatives from the community on the 18th of April,‘ said Mr. Hynes

 

 

One of the unique creatures that OCCN strives to protect

 

 

What are the details?

When: Wednesday 18th April, from 10am-12pm.

Where: Otway Estate, 10 Hoveys Road, Barongarook.

Lunch will also be provided!

RSVP:  If you’re interesting in coming along to the workshop, please RSVP to Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438 for catering purposes.

If you’d like more information contact OCCN Project facilitator Luke Hynes – PH 0406 113 438 E: occn@occn.org.au or visit our website www.occn.org.au.

 

 

By coming along to this workshop, you can help keep our coastline beautiful too!

 

 

We would love to see you there!

Check out our past blogs about the OCCN here:

Community Conservation Network forges ahead.

Weeding out coastal invaders.

New network to protect Otways.