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.

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale and Green Army participants monitoring Hooded Plovers along the coast.
GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale and Green Army participants monitoring Hooded Plovers along the coast.

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.

Green Army participants creating their own herbarium using the Surf Coast Nature Search program along the Jan Juc cliffs.
Green Army participants creating their own herbarium using the Surf Coast Nature Search program along the Jan Juc cliffs.

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.

Conservation Volunteers Australia Green Army Supervisor Jane , Green Army participants Caitlin Ball, GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale and Green Army participants take a break from removing litter along the foreshore.
Conservation Volunteers Australia Green Army Supervisor Jane , Green Army participants Caitlin Ball, GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale and Green Army participants take a break from removing litter along the foreshore.

“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.

GORCC Education Activities Leader Hilary Bouma helps Green Army participants construct a local herbarium using the Surf Coast Nature Search website.
GORCC Education Activities Leader Hilary Bouma helps Green Army participants construct a local herbarium using the Surf Coast Nature Search website.

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.

Conservation For Christmas


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.

(L-R) NAB's Matt Henderson, Jodi Heath and Tim Gorst, GORCC's Georgie Beale and Darryll Rogers also from NAB.
(L-R) NAB’s Matt Henderson, Jodi Heath and Tim Gorst, GORCC’s Georgie Beale and Darryll Rogers also from NAB conserving the Coastal Moonah Woodlands at Point Roadknight.

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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Ford employees got their hands dirty last month as part of a GORCC run program, planting over 1000 coastal saltmarsh plants along the Anglesea River. Photo: Abhishek Sharma.Ford motors towards a healthier coast

Volunteers make-over Fisherman’s Beach


Twenty-two volunteers from Lend Lease gave Torquay’s Fisherman’s Beach area a makeover this week, building a new pathway and pedestrian bridge, as well as planting 500 native plants in a rehabilitation area.

Lend Lease_Fishermans Beach 1
Lend Lease volunteers helped makover Fisherman’s Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The activities were led by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) as part of a range of environmental education and volunteering opportunities GORCC provides to schools and groups.

The new pathway provides a link from the Surf Coast Walk to the viewing deck above the Fisherman’s Beach kiosk, which provides great coastal views, with easy access to the kiosk for refreshments. A number of new picnic tables will be installed on the deck in coming weeks.

Environmental weeds along the bank to the north of the deck have been cleared and replaced with native tubestock.

Lend Lease’s Tanya Moscicki said the activity formed part of Lend Lease’s community day, which was established in 1996 to provide Lend Lease people with the opportunity to give back to the communities in which they live and work.

Lend Lease_Fishermans Beach 2
The volunteers planted 500 native plants in a rehabilitation area.

“The weather was amazing so it was great to get out and do something different in the sunshine – everyone enjoyed the day,” she said.

GORCC’s Coast Project Manager, Mike Bodsworth said partnering with volunteers enabled GORCC to achieve much more than would usually be possible.

“We estimate volunteers contribute around a quarter of a million dollars worth of work every year,  from hooded plover monitoring and research projects, to weed control, planting, litter removal and construction.”

“Lend Lease’s team of volunteers also included qualified tradespeople, so it was an ideal chance to build some visitor facilities that have been on the drawing board for a while,” he said.

For more information about how you can get involved in GORCC’s volunteer program,  watch the clip below or visit www.gorcc.com.au/volunteering

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Ford employees got their hands dirty last month as part of a GORCC run program, planting over 1000 coastal saltmarsh plants along the Anglesea River. Photo: Abhishek Sharma.Ford motors towards a healthier coast

Ford motors toward healthier coast


Ford employees descended on the coast last month and planted over 1000 plants along the Anglesea River as part of their community service program.

Ford volunteers with Evan Francis from GORCC’s conservation team. Photo: Abhishek Sharma.

The 34 volunteers, who work in the Powertrain Installation subdivision of Ford, planted about 1000 Coastal Saltmarsh plants alongside the river in a Coastal Saltmarsh area.

The activities were led by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) as part of a range of environmental education and volunteering opportunities GORCC offers to schools and groups.

Ford Senior Development Engineer Alison Bridger said the activities formed part of the Ford 16 hour community service program and the eighth annual Ford Global Week of Caring.

“Ford Motor Company provides salaried employees with the opportunity to spend two days per year volunteering in the community.

“Our team of engineers planted trees, built protective fencing and learnt about the local Coastal Moonah Woodland restoration projects.

“Mike and Evan from the GORCC conservation team taught us about the types of trees we were planting and protecting and explained what an important part of the local coastal environment they are,” she said.

Ford volunteers planting at Anglesea. Photo: Abhishek Sharma.
Ford volunteers planting at Anglesea. Photo: Abhishek Sharma.

Ms Bridger said everyone enjoyed the chance to get out of the office for a day.

“The work was muddy and exhausting, but very satisfying.”

Anyone can get involved in coastal volunteering.  Its fun, a great way to meet people and it has health benefits too.

GORCC Coast Project Manager Mike Bodsworth said volunteering provides hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of assistance to GORCC each year, mainly through conservation work.

“It’s also a great way for us to build and maintain relationships with local people,” he said.

The many environmental volunteer groups that operate along the GORCC managed coast are always looking for more members, even those able to lend a hand for an hour or two.

“Volunteering is a perfect way to ‘give back’ to the coast you love.

“Getting outside, doing something worthwhile and getting your hands dirty also has multiple health benefits and brings a sense of satisfaction,” Mr. Bodsworth said.

For more information on coastal environmental volunteering visit www.gorcc.com.au or call 5220 5055.

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

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Biodiversity month – get involved!


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:

There’s plenty of other simple ways to help to protect our coast’s biodiversity, for more click here.

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.

Take a peek at some examples of our coast’s fascinating wildlife.

You can find more about Biodiversity Month here.

How are you working to protect and preserve our coast??

 

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Students think local for national event


Torquay College students got their hands dirty last week for Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day, planting around 450 plants at Cosy Corner.

GORCC conservation worker Evan Francis with Torquay College student Indiana Colledge, helping to plant a Coastal Moonah Woodland as part of conservation activities organised by the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre.
GORCC conservation worker Evan Francis with Torquay College student Indiana Colledge, helping to plant a Coastal Moonah Woodland as part of conservation activities organised by the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre.

National Tree Day is Australia’s largest tree planting event.

Each year, over 200,000 people take part in activities held on 3000 sites and organised by council, schools, businesses, communities and Toyota Dealers across the country.

The day was run as part of a week of annual conservation activities organised by the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre (MDC) in partnership with The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

The annual coastal re-vegetation program has been run by the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre since 1986 and this year the activities were run in conjunction with the national Planet Ark event.

GORCC conservation officer Georgie Beale said the students planted native trees, shrubs and grasses.

“The children were planting a Coastal Moonah Woodland which is an endangered plant community in the area.

“Local families use this beautiful space and it’s great to get the local kids involved in their local community and environment,” she said.

Ms.Beale said the activity was a truly collaborative effort.

“The program also involved four land management groups, five community nurseries, BirdLife Australia and indigenous cultural education officers,” she said.

Participating in National Tree Day is just one of the many ways the community can get hands on in the protection of our local coast.

“Local environmental volunteer groups are always seeking new members and people able to lend them a hand – even for an hour or two,” said Ms. Beale.

Torquay College students (L-R) Jarrah Hirris-Moore, Joff Newton and Jay Newton enjoying their time on the coast planting a Coastal Moonah Woodland at Cosy Corner.
Torquay College students (L-R) Jarrah Hirris-Moore, Joff Newton and Jay Newton enjoying their time on the coast planting a Coastal Moonah Woodland at Cosy Corner.

For schools or groups, GORCC runs a free Environmental Education Program offering a range of hands-on and theory based learning activities and conservation volunteer work.

“Anyone with a love of the outdoors and a passion for the environment can take part in volunteering along the coast and start making a difference.

“You don’t have to be experienced or an expert, there’s plenty of opportunities for everyone no matter what age you are,” Ms Beale said.

For information on National Tree Day visit  www.treeday.planetark.org or call their hotline on 1300 885 000.  To learn more about GORCC’S Environmental Education Program or coastal volunteering opportunities, visit www.gorcc.com.au .

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column on the 6th August 2013.

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Pretty little menace


A pretty perennial which features in many private gardens is invading coastal environments and proving that looks can be deceiving.

The Cape Tulip (Moraea flaccida) is a popular garden plant that features salmon pink or orange flowers and is available for purchase at a wide range of garden centres and nurseries.

The Cape Tulip may look innocent, but it is actually a noxious weed.
The Cape Tulip may look innocent, but it is actually a noxious weed.

It’s therefore not surprising that many coastal residents don’t realise they are harbouring a noxious weed on their property.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Office Georgie Beale said the Cape Tulip, which grows from a bulb, is a particular problem in the Aireys Inlet area.

“This noxious weeds competes with and replaces indigenous species that provide habitat for native fauna by restricting their growth and regeneration.”

“The Cape Tulip spreads by a number of methods including via wind and running water and the movement of soil.

“The corms (underground plant stems) and seeds can also be carried by the wool or fur and feet of animals or through green waste disposal,” she said.

cape tulip Habitat
An example of typical Cape Tulip habitat and spread.

Ms. Beale said that GORCC’s Environment and Land Management Plan found that the most significant issue facing the natural environment along the coast is the impact of weeds.

“We have been working with local volunteer groups ANGAIR and Friends of Aireys Inlet Coastal Reserve to control the spread of weeds like Cape Tulip for years through spraying and other methods,” she said.

Attempts to manage the weed have been successful however work is hampered by the persistent spread from private and other property.

“Attempting to control the problem in isolation is not an effective strategy so we work with partnering bodies as part of the Otway Eden Project such as the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

“We have also approached and discussed the problem with adjacent landholders in the area,” said Ms. Beale.

The Cape Tulip spreads easily and can be carried by wind, water, soil or animals.
The Cape Tulip spreads easily and can be carried by wind, water, soil or animals.

Ms. Beale encouraged landholders on the coast to identify the Cape Tulip and remove it from their garden.

“Small, isolated pockets can be dug up and disposed of, however large areas may need spraying,” she said.

For more information on weeds on the coast download Environmental Weeds Invaders of the Surf Coast Shire online or visit www.gorcc.com.au.

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

 

Have you spotted Cape Tulip in your garden or on the coast??