There are hundreds of unique reptiles that call Australia home, but did you know that there are at least twelve different species of lizard call Anglesea home? Read more
Scott joins coastal protectors
Local environmental enthusiast Scott Hives joins the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) conservation team after completing six months’ conservation work along the Great Ocean Road coast last year. Read more
Roo family caught on coastal camera
The image of a kangaroo and her joey are among the new images capturing some of the coast’s diverse fauna as part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) motion-sensor, infrared camera monitoring. Read more
Curl crew helps planet
Rip Curl employees have teamed up land managers to conduct conservation work along the local coast as part of the annual Rip Curl Planet Day.
Each year the Rip Curl staff from the Torquay Head Office donate one working day to environmental volunteering, working with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), the Surf Coast Shire, Parks Victoria, and local volunteer groups.
The annual event has seen over 85,000 indigenous Surf Coast plants planted along coastal reserves stretching from Point Impossible through to Bells Beach/Southside.
Rip Curl Team Event and Promotions Manager Mark Flanagan said the day was important to the Rip Curl staff as it provides the opportunity for them to give back to their community.
“The majority of our Torquay staff live on or near the Surf Coast and use the local areas.
“It’s a great feeling for the Rip Curl team to be able to walk past and see the progress of the areas they worked on over the years,” he said.
Mr Flanagan said one of Rip Curl’s core values is to be environmentally responsible with Planet Day providing the opportunity for staff members to actively contribute to their local environment.
“Planet Day is a fantastic way to support the team of dedicated land managers and volunteers who spend hundreds of hours every year to make the coast a better place,” Mr Flanagan said.
Rip Curl CEO and Planet Day participant Stephen Kay said he enjoys seeing the results from the Rip Curl staff.
“We value the opportunity to contribute to the local environment and are committed to the future of the program,” he said.
Staff are divided into various groups over the two days to complete environmental activities such as indigenous tree planting, eradicating environmental weeds, removing rubbish and implementing water saving strategies.
Long-time Rip Curl team member Dianne McCall has participated in Planet Day every year since it began in 2000, and loves seeing the difference the work has made.
“The day is a great opportunity to socialise and work with people who you wouldn’t normally see in the office whilst also having a positive impact on the coast,” she said.
Local environmental volunteer groups and land managers work to ensure that progress made by the Rip Curl crew is maintained through ongoing conservation works and programs throughout the year.
Rip Curl has a strong determination to be environmentally responsible and encourages everyone to demonstrate environmental stewardship. What are some of the things you do to protect our coast? Let us know in the comments below.
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.
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.
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?
Guest Post: Friends of Queens Park
GORCC works alongside and supports many volunteer groups who operate on coastal Crown land reserves from Torquay through to Lorne. These groups spend thousands of hours each year undertaking vital conservation work and raising awareness in the community. Friends of Queens Park Lorne are one volunteer group working towards creating an environmentally friendly future.
This is an excerpt from the Friends of Queens Park Spring 2015 newsletter:
Sweet Pittosporum, bone seed and cape broom have all met their downfall over the past few months, thanks to the work of GORCC and the Green Army. Also there’s the social connectivity of the volunteer groups Friends of Queens Park and LorneCare working together in Queens Park with three working bees planned during the spring.
An example of this work can be seen on the fire track leading up to Teddy’s Lookout from the Queens Park caravan park. It’s a revealing dividing line showing good weed control management on the uphill side, neglect on the downside. Take a look on your next walk down this track.
We trace the growth cycle of Sweet Pittosporum. It begins with the sweet smelling flowers. The resulting seeds are spread by birds and emerge as small plants growing prolifically to form a dense canopy of foliage so dense that the sun can’t shine through. There’s semi darkness underneath an old stand, soil nutrients change, indigenous plants die and biodiversity is destroyed. It’s an invasive weed which can spread very rapidly.
To counteract this invasion is it essential to limit the spread by removing foliage and some entire plants.
Control of the Sweet Pittosporum requires drastic action. Whole plants often have to be removed by cutting the trunk at its base and the stumps painted with systemic herbicide immediately after cutting to ensure that the plant is killed.
After the Sweet Pittosporum has been cleared away the land is left bare for the regeneration of indigenous species.
Interested in getting involved in the outdoors? Check out our website to find out how!
Volunteers prepped for Hoodie arrivals
Volunteers are gearing up for another busy Hooded Plover breeding season as the threatened shore birds begin to pair up and get ready to nest.
Volunteer group Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast (FHPSC) will be working around the clock to protect nests and chicks again this year, monitoring nesting sites during breeding season.
FHPSC Regional Coordinator Sue Guinness said volunteer wardens would be working to educate beach users about the vulnerability and breeding habits of the ‘hoodies’ to improve the awareness in the community.
“We hope the community supports our efforts to help the chicks survive on the coast this breeding season.
The FHPSC group encourages the community to be actively aware of the impacts they have on chick survival.
“It would be fantastic to see humans, dogs and Hooded Plovers all using the same beach and coexisting together, and to do that we need to be aware of the risks we pose to these vulnerable birds.
Ms. Guinness said Hooded Plovers nest in high traffic areas during the busiest time of the year, making it difficult for chicks to survive without community effort.
“We try to engage with the community near breeding sites when we are out monitoring to generate interest about the plight of our plovers.
“The easiest way to help us save these precious birds is to talk about them with friends and respect nesting areas,” she said.
During breeding season land managers such as the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee install signs to alert beachgoers to breeding zones, with regular breeding sites at Point Roadknight, Point Impossible and Moggs Creek.
Last breeding season was a record year for ‘hoodies’ on the Surf Coast, with 6 chicks fledging (surviving until they are able to fly). Only 12 chicks have survived to fledging on the Surf Coast since 2010.
This season FHPSC, Birdlife Australia and GORCC are again working together to give the chicks their best chances of survival and are encouraging beachgoers to give ‘hoodies’ some space.
To get involved in ‘hoodie’ protection and become a volunteer, contact Birdlife Australia via email or visit their website for more information.
Conservation crew achievements applauded
An environmental army has descended on the local coast as part of the Federal Government’s Green Army programme – an initiative which has seen more than 330 conservation projects rolled out across Australia to date.
Green Army Service Provider Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and project host the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) are working with young Green Army participants to protect and enhance coastal environments.
GORCC held a celebratory forum in August to celebrate the contributions made by participants, who have been working hard on a range of conservation projects and tasks including fencing, weed eradication, revegetation and mulching.
The day also offered learning and development opportunities for the group.
GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said the event featured guest speakers and in-field sessions from a diverse range of professionals working within environmental or conservation industries.
“The day encouraged participants to continue to enhance their conservation knowledge and explore career opportunities within the environmental industry,” she said.
CVA Green Army Supervisor Jane Shearer said the Green Army participants had been eager to learn about the different aspects of coastal conservation and had enjoyed working along the Surf Coast.
“The group is very eager to get involved and learn from experienced conservation workers.
“They have a lot of fun and work really well together, so it’s been very positive working with this wonderful team,” she said.
Ms. Beale praised the dedicated team for their continual hard work along GORCC managed land.
“They have worked incredibly hard over the past four months, removing substantial quantities of woody weeds such as Coast Tea-Tree and supporting our conservation work.
“The Green Army team provides GORCC with a lot of manpower, allowing us to tackle larger projects that otherwise would take months to complete.
Green Army participant Scott Hives said he the appreciation the group had been shown by GORCC and local environmental volunteer groups was incredible.
“Every day is so rewarding and everyone is always so grateful for the work we do.
“It’s been great working on local projects and seeing the work you’ve been doing along the coast when you go out for a surf or just drive past the foreshore.
“The programme is providing us with invaluable experience and support for our future careers which is amazing,” he said.
The Green Army programme aims to encourage environmental stewardship among young adults and enhance their skills and knowledge. For more information about the Green Army programme or to get involved visit the Green Army website.
How do you help encourage environmental stewardship in the community? Share your methods with us in the comments below.
Time to tidy up your backyard
Australians are being urged to tidy up their nearby waterways, roads and neighbourhoods as part of Keep Australia Beautiful Week.
From 24-30 August 2015, Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) aims to remind all Australians what an amazing, and beautiful country we have. However, it won’t stay beautiful if we don’t clean up our act when it comes to litter.
More than 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year making litter a major environmental problem along our coast and worldwide. The 2013-14 KAB National Litter Index findings are obvious – we have a litter problem.
Whilst the annual report indicates that overall amount of litter is decreasing, there is still an enormous amount of rubbish polluting our natural environment, and cigarette butts remain the biggest pollutant.
Not surprisingly, the most littered sites surveyed within Victoria were retail areas and beaches, making our precious coastal environment a high risk zone. So how do you stop litter from entering our precious waterways?
Here are some simple ways to reduce your rubbish consumption by following the sustainable R’s of living.
Only 1 in every 10,000 products are designed with the environment in mind, which is why it is so important to evaluate if there could be another use, or if you really need it in the first place. Ask yourself if you really need the product, or could you make do with something else you already have?
This is the most direct method of cutting down litter – refuse to any items that generate unnecessary waste, such as plastic bags. Make sure you take reusable bags when shopping to lessen plastic consumption.
To reduce rubbish the easy idea is to consume less, or rather, consume the right amount. Rubbish tends to accumulate from unwanted or excess items, so by reducing the amount you purchase, you can reduce your waste.
Do you ever go to the store to replace something that broke with a brand new version without even trying to fix it? We’re all guilty of it, and this is contributing to the massive amount of litter in our oceans. By finding new uses for what we already have, we can reduce the amount of packaging and save money at the same time. It’s time to be creative with what you already have in the home.
The main point that we all know and have learnt about for years – recycling. Although it can seem like an annoying task, separating plastic bottles, cans and newspapers, is conserving our environment for future generations.
Next time you need to purchase a product or item, think about going green and buying products made from recycled materials. Look for the labels on the packages that include a percentage off recovered materials.
The Surf Coast is already taking the first steps to a more environmentally friendly community with initiatives like Plastic Bag Free Torquay and Take 3 are helping reduce our impact on the environment.
Australia has a litter problem and by following these easy tips you can help reduce your environmental footprint. For more information visit the Keep Australia Beautiful website. If you would like to do more in your community, why not check out some of our fabulous environmental volunteer groups here?
How do you use the 6R’s of sustainability? Do you have a favourite re-invention? 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 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.
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.