Critters return to Juc

Environmental volunteers working to restore the Jan Juc Creek reserve are witnessing the return of various native species to the area and calling on everyone to aid in their protection.

A Sugar Glider in Care at the Conservation Ecology Centre.  Photo by A. Bloomberg.
A Sugar Glider in Care at the Conservation Ecology Centre. Photo: A. Bloomberg.

Leader of the Friends of Jan Juc Creek Reserves (FJJCR) Octavier Chabrier said an array of native animals had been sighted.

“We have spotted many animals we haven’t seen in years including Echidnas, Kangaroos, Lizards, Possums, Pardalotes, Snakes and many more,” said

Sugar Gliders are also returning, although the recent discovery of an injured glider came as a timely reminder for residents to keep their cats indoors.

“Unfortunately, the animal, which was carrying young, had been injured and is suspected to have been attacked by a cat.

“The glider and its baby were looked after by a vet and local wildlife carers but unfortunately neither could be saved.

“Ensure you take steps to be a responsible cat owner and adhere to the cat curfew,” said Ms Chabrier.

Robyn Rule from the Torquay Wildlife Shelter said cat saliva was deadly to gliders and possums and that it was important they received antibiotics straight away.

“The faster they get into care the better, so call Wildilfe Victoria on 1300 094 535 or, after hours, call the Torquay Wildlife Shelter on 0402 237 600,” she said.

FJJCR consists of 50 members who work to eradicate weeds and restore and revegetate the areas of reserve along the Jan Juc creek and has planted over 1000 plants and grasses over the five years.

Friends of Jan Juc Creek getting hands on during their recent working bee at Torquay Boulevard. Photo by Margaret Hopkins.
Friends of Jan Juc Creek getting hands on during their recent working bee at Torquay Boulevard. Photo by Margaret Hopkins.

“It’s such a thrill to watch the dynamic change that comes from the growth of these plantations,” Ms Chabrier said.

Ms Chabrier said the group also worked to educate others about invasive weeds .

“Many don’t realise plants in their back yard could spread to the reserves and invade indigenous plant species.”

“The Mirrorbush, a fast-growing hedge that can run rampant through the reserves, is one weed in particular that many people are unaware of,” she said.

The Surf Coast Shire publishes a free Environmental Weeds-Invaders of our Surf Coast booklet which is available on their website to assist residents to identify what weeds could be lurking in their garden.

“Inspect your garden for weeds and consider if they could be removed and replaced by indigenous plants,” Ms Chabrier said.

FJJCR is always seeking new members and doesn’t have a minimum time commitment, welcoming even those who can only volunteer once a year.  For more information on FJJCR contact Octavier Chabrier  0439510269.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

For more volunteer opportunities visit the GORCC volunteer page.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

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New group protects sanctuary

The new Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group is seeking members and set for an official launch in February while spectacular underwater footage of the area has been released.

The newly formed volunteer group has been working with Parks Victoria and Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) to produce a short film showcasing marine life protected by the sanctuary.

The Surfcoast's newsest volunteer group - Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group
The Surfcoast’s newsest volunteer group – Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary

Founding members of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group snorkelled with the cameraman and guided him to special parts of the sanctuary to produce underwater footage which showcases an array of marine life.

Parks Victoria’s Alicia Ivory said the film gives visitors a snapshot of what is beneath the waves in the sanctuary.

“Many visitors come for a photo and a look around the lighthouse but might never get a chance to get out into the water and see the marine life our sanctuary protects.

“It is a fantastic way to show people the different creatures making use of the area and what we all need to do to make sure they are safe and protected,” she said.

Watch the footage below!

 

90% of the plants and animals showcased in the video are only found along the southern coastline of Australia.

Ms. Ivory said these areas provide an important refuge for a number of rare and threatened marine animals and plants.

“Much of our marine life is found nowhere else in the world,” Ms Ivory said.

The film is accessible via QR barcodes on interpretive signage which has been installed above the marine sanctuary or directly via the GORCC website.

Visitors to the Split Point Lookout can take a photo of the barcode with their smart phone to instantly view the footage.

Interpretive signs installed by GORCC at Split Point Lookout.
Interpretive signs installed by GORCC at Split Point Lookout.

Manager of EcoLogic and Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary founding member Sharon Blum-Caon said the group currently consists of six founding members and new participants are welcome.

“We catch up for snorkeling, rock pool ramblings, social events, coastal vegetation rehabilitation and photography,” she said.

Everyone is welcome at the official launch to be held on 9 February 2013 and attendees will receive a free Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary pack including a T-shirt printed with an image of the sanctuary’s iconic Port Jackson Shark.

For more information contact Sharon on: 0412 257 802 or email tours@ecologic.com.au.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.

For further details on volunteering along the coast, view the GORCC volunteer page.

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Community vital to coast research

A new community-based environmental research initiative is helping to monitor long term vegetation and landscape change on our coast.

The Fluker Post at Lorne Point

The Fluker Post Research program, which involves monitoring change on selected sites through photography, has been established by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) and Victoria University .

Participants are being invited to submit photos taken from the post to track how a project site changes over time.

CCMA coastal projects officer Jannes Demetrious said it is a great way for the community, and even those just passing by a site, to take part in an important environmental project.

“All you need to do is take a photo and email it in. Photos can be taken with a digital camera and emailed later or with a Smartphone and emailed directly using the barcode scanner QR code on the post,” he said.

The posts have been installed for several months and already the project has received a positive response.

“We were expecting one or two photos a month but so far we have received about 20-25 photos from the posts a month,” said Mr. Demetrious

The posts are named after Victoria University’s Dr Martin Fluker who developed the idea to improve the accuracy of photo point monitoring.

Changes to vegetation are being monitored whilst rehabilitation work is undertaken on the sites and will continue for up to 5-10 years.

Mr Demetrious said this is the first use of these posts to monitor vegetation condition.

“We hope to see a decrease in weedy vegetation and we can document any erosion if it’s occurring,” he said.

There are currently five posts located on Great Ocean Road Coast Committee managed areas and two more installed on Surf Coast Shire managed areas.

Posts are located at Torquay’s Rocky Point and Yellow Bluff, Aireys Inlet along Painkalac Creek and near the lighthouse, Anglesea’s Fairylands and along Anglesea River and along Lorne Point.

The initiative is funded through the CCMA’s Coastal Tender program, funded by the Australian Government which has funded numerous environmental projects across the region.

The photos can be viewed on the CCMA Facebook page and photos can be submitted to cmmaflukerpost@gmail.com.

This story featured in the the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.  

Changes to vegetation are being monitored.

Media Releases:

Read the full media release from CCMA here.

This media release from Victoria University (VU) explains the use of Fluker Posts on the Great Ocean Walk between Blanket Bay and Johanna Beach near Apollo Bay.

More information on Fluker Posts:

Visit the Fluker Post Research Project page on Facebook here.

Images of the CCMA Fluker Posts can be found here.

Coast connections at student forum

Students from four regional schools came together to celebrate a year of coastal conservation achievements at an environmental forum held in Torquay last week.

EcoLogic’s Sophie Small, GORCC Education Activity Leader Sarah Bolus, Northern Bay College students Brian Devlin and Dylan Shelly with some ‘bush tucker’ they learnt about as part of the forum activities.

The educational event formed part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coast Guardians Program and included environmental activities, guest speakers and student presentations.

Geelong Lutheran College Middle School Co-Ordinator Georgia Quirk said the forum highlighted the importance and impact of the students’ year of environmental work.

“It was great to see the students come together with the other schools in the program, and realise that what they have done has a larger purpose.

“Together we can achieve a whole lot more and it was wonderful to see our students interacting with others by take part in this community endeavour,” Ms Quirk said.

Participants learnt about indigenous foods, protecting and caring for wildlife, the impact of marine debris on our environment and were encouraged to consider environmental volunteering and future careers in conservation.

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgina Beale said the forum acknowledged the students’ hard work and contribution to maintaining the coastal environment.

“The students have assisted us to protect and enhance the natural environment and supported the incredible work of local environmental volunteer groups,” said Ms. Beale.

The program covered a range of environmental topics integrated with hands-on activities such as weeding, planting and erosion prevention.

Geelong Lutheran College, Northern Bay P-12 College and Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 College and Surf Coast Secondary College Students took part in the Coast Guardians Program for 2012.

Each school took ownership of the rehabilitation and conservation of a coastal site with the help of GORCC’s conservation team and supported by local volunteer groups including ANGAIR, Friends of Queens Park and Torquay Coast Action.

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgie Beale and Education Activity Leader Sarah Bolus with students at the forum.

Visit or like GORCC on Facebook to see more images of the Coast Guardians End of Year Forum.

What is the Coast Guardian Program?

Students involved ranged from years 7-10 from four schools.  The activities the students undertook this year helped to increase awareness of environmental issues and encouraged social responsibility and environmental stewardship and it is hoped that participants will be able to walk along that section of coast in years to come and see the results of their hard work.

The program is additional to GORCC’s general Environmental Education Activities Program and is provided free of charge to the schools involved.

Read more about the program here.

Want to get involved in GORCC’s Environmental Activities Program or volunteering on the coast?

Learn more about it the Environmental Activities Program here.

Visit the volunteer page for further information on volunteering opportunities.

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Wildlife require expert care

The public  should transfer sick, injured or orphaned native animals into expert care as soon as possible.

DSE Wildlife Officers are particularly concerned about a growing trend of injured wildlife being cared for by members of the public without authorisation, according to a media release from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).

DSE North East Wildlife Officer Gary Dash said during the next few months the numbers of juvenile wildlife requiring care will increase across the region.

“Baby magpies, possums, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and other animals are commonly found at this time of year and may require help from trained wildlife carers before they can be returned to the wild

“Inappropriate care by members of the public, who think they are doing the right thing, can significantly decrease an animal’s chance of recovery.

“In some cases, even if the animal recovers from the initial injury or illness, it may have developed behaviours that mean it cannot be released back into the wild.

“Wildlife has specialised handling, dietary and housing requirements and cannot be treated in the same way as domestic pets or livestock.

“To give injured wildlife the best chance of survival and release back into the wild, it is vital they receive the right treatment and handling and that they are kept in an appropriate environment,” Mr Dash said.

If you find a sick or injured animal contact Wildlife Victoria or your nearest animal shelter.

Under the Wildlife Act (1975) the unlawful possession of protected wildlife can result in a maximum fine of $7042 and/or 6 months imprisonment.

People who find injured or orphaned wildlife can contact their nearest animal shelter by phoning Help for Wildlife 0417 380 687 or Wildlife Victoria 1300 094 535 (13 000 WILDLIFE).

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Many wildlife species call our local their home. Here is a small pictorial sample of just some of them.

Have you come across any sick or injured wildife on the coast recently?

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Rip Curl team up to transform coast

Rip Curl employees have teamed with local community groups for the annual Rip Curl Planet Days, held since 2000.

GORCC Conservation Superviser Georgina Beale with volunteers at Rip Curl Planet Day last year.

The concept celebrates Rip Curl’s commitment to the environment by providing the necessary attention and resources for significant coastal management strategies on the Surf Coast.

Over two days the company commits the time of all staff from the Rip Curl International head office in Torquay.

Rip Curl CEO and Planet Day participant Stephan Kay shows his support of the company’s involvement.

“It really gives me a sense of achievement and pride to see the transformation of the coastal foreshore that’s occurred as a result of the efforts of our staff helping the volunteer community groups.

“I love seeing plants and regenerated sections of the coast that Rip Curl employees have worked on when I’m going for a surf or walking the cliffs,” Mr Kay said.

Under the guidance of local representatives from environmentally responsible groups, Rip Curl employees generally tackle any task that ensures the ongoing sustainability of strategic locations along the Surf Coast which could include:

  • Planting trees
  • Eradicating foreign species threatening local plants and
  • Implementing water saving strategies.

The teams are guided by local representatives to work collectively on projects threatening the local coastal area including:

  • The Surf Coast Shire
  • The Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee (GORCC)
  • Parks Victoria
  • Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE)
  • Torquay and Jan Juc Coast Action groups and
  • The state government Department of Sustainability & Environment.

Since Rip Curl initiated this annual community project in the year 2000, over 80,000 plants indigenous to the Surf Coast have been put in across the region between Point Impossible and Bells Beach/Southside.

Thanks to ongoing, year-round maintenance by the local groups, areas previously worked on have flourished, with a better than 80 per cent long-term plant survival rate.

Rip Curl Planet Day will be held on 25 & 26 October. For more information or to get involved contact Mark Flanagan on 03 5261 0176 or 0408 619 929, email mflanagan@ripcurl.com.au

Learn more about coastal environmental volunteering in our region.

Hoodie monitors go hi-tech

GORCC Conservation Team members and Birdlife Australia Grainne Maguire join Hooded Plover Monitor volunteers at a training day in Pt Roadknight.

Birdlife Australia held an informative Hooded Plover Monitor training day at Point Roadknight last week helping volunteers  to utilise a new online data portal.

The portal is an efficient way of collecting data and will assist regional groups and volunteers to monitor Hooded Plover pairs.

Hooded Plovers breed during the busiest time of year on our coast, between September and March each year and are classed as a threatened species.  ‘Hoodies’ nest on our beaches, making them very vulnerable to a range of predators and other threats, including accidental trampling by humans.

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgina Beale who attended the event, said the training day assisted participants to learn how to use the new online portal and understand its benefits.

“The portal is environmentally friendly in its ability to reduce paper trail as volunteers can record their hours and notes online,” she said.

Birdlife Australia researcher Grainne Maguire measuring Pt Roadknight Hoodie.
Photo courtesy of Glenn Ehmke.

Birdlife Australia Word about the Hood  May 2012 newsletter reported that the online data portal also has the capacity to:

  • Shortlist pairs that need checking (i.e. have not been checked for over a fortnight);
  • See which pairs currently have eggs and chicks (and so better estimating important dates to visit);
  • Set alerts for new nests or chick sites that need urgent management put in place and;
  • See the current state of play for all the birds at once.

For further information on the online data portal and becoming a volunteer visit the Birdlife Australia website.

More information on Hooded Plovers can be found here. 

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Adults delve into environmental education!

An adult group from the Karingal Adventure Based Learning Experiences (KABLE) program took part in a coastal walk and planting in the dunes of Point Roadknight recently.

HANDS ON: Leanne Booley taking part in GORRC’s environmental education activities at Pt Roadknight.

The group of five were participating in the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Environmental Education Program led by GORCC Conservation Officer Georgina Beale.

KABLE Coordinator Sarah Quick-Scarlett said the activities were a good opportunity for the group to network and to participate in new activities.

“It was a good opportunity for the adults to get out into the community and help the environment and they all wanted to do it again.

“Some of the them thoroughly enjoyed tree-planting and the program helped to build their skills,” she said.

The program currently offers activities for schools and groups and offers participants hands-on activities to make a difference to their environment as well as an opportunity to delve into a range of important environmental and conservation based topics.

For more information on getting involved visit GORRC’s Environmental Education Program page.

Young protectors preserve coast

A group of dedicated students have become official guardians of a patch of coast, working on a regular basis to protect a site near Anglesea.

Year 9 Northern Bay Secondary College students (L-R) Michael Anderson and Andrew O’Brien hammer in stakes so the plants they planted will be protected.

The year 9 Northern Bay Secondary College  students have taken responsibility for the coastal site as part of GORCC’s Coast Guardians Program.

Over the year the group has planted over 550 indigenous plants, cleared environmental weeds and undertaken dune erosion prevention works.

Class teacher Steven Robertson said prior to the program many of the students had had very limited experience with the natural environment but their progress and developing sense of environmental stewardship had been remarkable.

“The program has brought about something I haven’t seen with other volunteer programs – the students are now quite protective of their areas, they really care about it.

“It has given them a look at the importance of preserving and conserving what we’ve got,” Mr Robertson said.

Year 9 Students Brock Collins and Riley Skene (hammering in the stake) participating in the Coast Guardians Program.

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgie Beale said the students were performing important conservation works which was resulting in improvements to biodiversity and habitat.

“Removal of invasive species such as Coast Tea Tree and Polygala, and the planting of indigenous trees such as Moonah at Melba Crescent has allowed some natural regeneration.

“Slowly we will see the indigenous vegetation re-colonise and re-establish,” she said.

‘Coast Guardians’ has become an official subject at the school, forming part of an outdoor education program at the school.

“The program has become the cornerstone of our outdoor education program and all students taking part are going for their Duke of Edinborough Award,” said Mr. Robertson.

Learn more about the Coast Guardians Program.

Learn more about weeds and native vegetation. 

Lend a hand! Joint effort at Anglesea

View over Anglesea, including the site where conservation works are set to take place this Friday.

This Friday an army of volunteers will descend on the coast at Anglesea, planting precious Moonah trees and forming a human chain gang as they transport mulch up the dunes.

The project, which is part of an annual conservation day organised by the Torquay Landcare Group,  is a joint effort between a number of groups and organisations, demonstrating the difference that can be made through coordinated  action. Torquay Landcare will be joined by the Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR), the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and others while Quiksilver is generously providing funding support and around 20 staff volunteers.

Quiksilver gives  staff 2 volunteer leave days each year where staff are encouraged to get out of the office and do something positive for the community. The revegetation day is on the Quiksilver Foundation Event Calender every year.  The organisation has been working with these groups now for over 6 years and at the Anglesea site for 3 consecutive years.

Coastal Moonah Woodland is listed as a threatened community under the Flora Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the group aims to rehabilitate the area in an effort to restore it to its former glory.

Anyone can get involved – so if you love the coast and want to roll up your sleeves (plus have a great day out!) feel free to come along and join in.  The day starts at 9am (meet at the foot of the stairs at the Surf Beach dunes – opposite Red Till)  and lunch is provided at the Anglesea Surf Lifesaving Club at 1pm.   For more information contact Rhonda from Torquay Landcare on 0428 374 610.

If you can’t make it tomorrow, then there’s always next year! The annual event is set to occur on Spring Creek in 2013, so stay tuned!

To learn more about coastal volunteering in our region, visit our webpage here.