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. 

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.