Native fauna from the Surf Coast region have been beautifully presented in the third and final series of the unique Surf Coast and Inland Plains Landcare Network (SCIPN) Wildlife Cards collection. Read more
Australia Day weekend saw crowds flock to the foreshore to enjoy the spectacular weather. The GORCC Open Day was held on the Saturday of the three day holiday, with a marquee set up on the Elephant Walk Reserve in Torquay.
The successful event attracted approximately 160 locals and visitors who came along to have their say, learn about GORCC’s work and projects, enjoy the giveaways and prizes on offer or particpate in the fun, free environmental activities.
Not surprisingly the activity stall was the stand out favourite of the day providing entertainment and education to kids of all ages who made their own ‘insect hotels’, created their own Hooded Plover badges and more.
While the kids were busy creating their masterpieces, mums, dads and grandparents asked questions about the coast and had their say on GORCC projects. The GORCC’s Draft Coastal User Transport Strategy was on display as was information about coastal hazards and coastal safety.
The day also included promotion of GORCC’s Save the Hoodie Campaign. A sign featuring ‘Hamish the Hoodie’ was on display, giving people a chance to enter the #SavetheHoodie campaign and go into the draw for $1000 in prizes. More information can be found at www.savethehoodie.com.au and the competition closes on 1st April 2015.
A $1000 Quicksilver voucher is also up for grabs as part of this year’s Coast Survey.
Did you visit the GORCC Australia Day weekend stall? What did you think? Share your thoughts below!
Did you know it was World Environmental Day (WED) yesterday? WED is all about encouraging involvement from the local community and celebrating the wonderful work of individuals.
We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful area and sometimes we forget to stop and thank the people that help make this possible.
The wonderful work our local environmental groups do for our community doesn’t go unnoticed and we would like to personally thank each and every individual who has made a positive contribution within our region.
Why wait for a special day to show your appreciation? Anyone can make small gestures of gratitude every single day of the year.
Do you know someone who works hard in the area, not expecting anything back for it? Why not tap them on the shoulder today and let them know what a great job they’re doing? It doesn’t cost anything and they are sure to appreciate it… Whether they admit it or not!
For a list of some local groups making waves in the community, or to find out if volunteering is for you, click here.
Seven organisations have worked together to bring environmental education alive for 170 local students as part of National Water Week and in celebration of 20 years of Waterwatch.
The ‘Creek Connections’ event, which was hosted by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) at Spring Creek, saw the students learn about local water catchments.
The day involved volunteers and staff from Waterwatch, The Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre, the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), Estuarywatch and EcoLogic.
Grade 3 and 4 students from St Therese Primary School, Torquay P-6 College, Lorne Aireys P-12 College and Anglesea Primary School enjoyed everything from ‘water bugs’ sessions and ‘estuary discoveries’ through to a ‘walk and talk’ with Wathaurung Elder Bryon Powell.
GORCC Conservation Officer, Georgina Beale who helped to host a ‘recycle relay’ and conduct planting sessions in threatened Moonah Woodlands said students learnt about keeping water catchments healthy.
“The kids learnt about the interconnectedness of our catchments, rivers, estuary and marine environments and the protection and conservation of our river systems and their dependent eco systems,” she said.
Students worked tirelessly to create water bug costumes out of recycled items for the ‘Terrific Transformer bugs Creative Costume Challenge’ in the lead up to the event.
Winners of the best costume prize received special computer microscopes which will allow their whole class to view water bugs up close on a large screen.
Waterwatch Facilitator, Cate Barham said the diverse range of activities aimed to encourage students to develop an appreciation and understanding of marine, estuarine and freshwater environments and Wathaurung culture.
“Everything we do in our catchment can have an impact on our waterways. If you drop a piece of litter, it will eventually find its way to a waterway and then out to the ocean, where it can have devastating effects on our marine life,” she said.
Waterwatch Victoria recognises that only 22% of Victoria’s rivers are considered in good or excellent condition, highlighting the need for action to protect and maintain the health of our local water catchments.
Ms Barham encourages other community members to become active in protecting and caring for their local water catchments by joining a Landcare, Coastcare or Friends group in their area.
“We are all responsible for caring for our catchments and hopefully others will feel inspired by the enthusiastic efforts of our Creek Connections ambassadors,” she said.
The second Bell Street Fiesta is set to explode with a fun filled day of events, activities, stalls and entertainment for all ages as part of the Drink Art Food Torquay (DAFT) Weekend.
The street will come alive on Saturday October 12th with 5 hours of non-stop entertainment for all the whole family. Activities on the day will include:
- Beer, wine and coffee appreciation tastings
- Local produce tastings
- Art Exhibitions
- A Farmers Market
- Fashion parades
- A variety of engaging stalls
- An array of kids activities
The Great Ocean Road Committee (GORCC) is hosting an interactive, environmental education stall at on the day.
Eco-Logic Education and Environmental Services have been comissioned by GORCC to set up the stand which will featuure a range of fun activities for all ages.
Activities include quizzes, ‘Spot the Hoodie games’, story book reading and plasticine fun.
All the fun will take place in Bell Street Torquay, commencing at 11am.
Click Here to check out the weekend program filled with events, activities and entertainment for all ages.
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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:
- Create a natural habitat in your backyard. Learn more about going indigenous in your garden!
- Get rid of weeds: Do you know which innocent looking plants are actually environmental menaces?
- Be a responsible pet owner – Keep your cat indoors at night and keep your dog on a lead!
- Reduce, reuse and recycle:
- Start your own compost bin.
- Be an informed seafood eater: Learn more about choosing sustainable seafood.
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.
You can find more about Biodiversity Month here.
How are you working to protect and preserve our coast??
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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.
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.
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.
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??
Four Flying Foxes (Pteropus) have been admitted to Torquay Wildlife Shelter over the last few months suffering from serious wounds due to fruit netting entanglements.
Torquay Wildlife Shelter Carer Robyn Rule said the netting constricts their arteries and puts holes in their wings, leaving devastating wounds.
“People should research what fruit netting they should use to prevent entanglements,” she said.
Wildlife Victoria Chief Executive Officer Karen Masson said she urges people to use a different material to cover their fruit trees as entanglement can occur quite easily.
“If you can fit a finger through the netting, an animal will be able to get stuck.
“I recommend you to use a fruit sock, which is just putting netting around the fruit rather than the whole tree or to use shade cloth which is dense and animals can’t get through it,” she said.
If you find an entangled flying fox or other species of bat entangled you are urged to avoid touching or handling the animal and to contact Wildlife Victoria or your nearest wildlife shelter immediately.
“Do not approach or handle a flying fox or species of bat as they can be potentially carrying the life threatening Australian Bat Lyssavirus.
“We urge people to contact their nearest wildlife shelter or call Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency phone service on 1300 094 535, so we can send out a vaccinated rescuer trained to capture and care for the injured bat.”
“There is currently not enough research to say the flying fox or bat doesn’t have the virus, so you must take precautions to ensure your safety by calling for help,” Ms Masson said.
According to Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE) website, all Victorian native wildlife, including microbats and flying-foxes, are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.
Surf Coast residents can contact Robyn Rule at Torquay Wildlife Shelter on 0402 237 600 if they come across an entangled flying fox or other wildlife.
What can I do to prevent entanglements?
What is inexpensive netting I can use to protect my fruit trees?
Thirty per cent blockout shadecloth can be thrown over the tree whilst it is fruiting. The shadecloth will not stop the fruit from ripening, minimises the risk of wildlife becoming entangled and can be stored away when the fruit is finished.
What is the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL)?
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Incorrect disposal and illegal dumping of rubbish costs our coast both environmentally and economically, but there are simple steps we can all take to reduce the impact.
Disposal of household waste in public bins, general waste contaminating recycling and illegal rubbish dumping are having a major toll on coastal environments and come at a huge financial coast to local authorities, consuming funds that could be spent elsewhere.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said the problem was ongoing, despite work undertaken to encourage responsible rubbish disposal and the provision of recycling and general waste bins across campgrounds and coastal reserves.
“A large amount of household waste is often disposed of in public bins provided for beachgoers.
“Not only is this illegal, but it causes overflow and litter on our beaches is not only visually horrible but threatens coastal flora and fauna and the marine environment.
“Additionally, contamination of recycling is a constant issue, and we urge all coastal users to familiarise themselves with what can and can’t be recycled.
Recyclable materials include glass containers, some plastics, cardboards, paper and metal including steel or aluminum cans.
“Many may not realize that plastic bags, plastic wrap and food containers with food scraps, are not recyclable and cause contamination.
“Our contractors face heavy fines for delivery of non-recyclables to the depot and, unfortunately, some heavily contaminated bins have to be emptied into general waste and sent to landfill,” he said.
Equally concerning is the illegal dumping of rubbish directly onto coastal reserves, with large amounts of hard rubbish being discovered on our coast on a regular basis.
“From pianos and televisions through to paint cans and asbestos, it is unbelievable what people will leave on beautiful beaches that are so highly valued by the community,” said Mr. Goring.
Waste disposal sites are made available at several coastal locations and allow the drop off of household garbage and a range of recyclable materials.
“All coastal users, including campers, visitors and holiday home owners are encouraged to use these facilities and minimise the amount of rubbish that ends up on the beaches.
“The council also has drop –off collection points for holiday home owners at Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne,” said Mr.Goring
If you notice any illegal rubbish dumping or to report any rubbish or litter contact the GORCC office on 5220 5055, or the Surf Coast Shire on 5261 0600. Littering from vehicles can be reported to EPA Victoria by calling the Littering Hotline on 1800 372 842 or visiting http://www.epa.vic.gov.au.
This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.
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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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further details on volunteering along the coast, view the GORCC volunteer page.
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