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

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??

 

Indigenous Groups Join Weed Action

Local Indigenous groups are partnering with environmental volunteers to help weeding thanks to a state government grant program.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) has been supporting the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative and Kuuyang Maar Aboriginal Corporation to work with volunteer groups on the removal of destructive weeds.

The work has taken place on three coastal sites and been led by Jan Juc Coast Action, Torquay Coast Action and the Friends of Queens Park. Jan Juc Coast Action chairperson Luke Hynes said Indigenous people have an explicit connection to the Australian landscape.

“The Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative has been training some of its members in natural resource management and we saw this as a great way to partner with them,” he said.

David Tournier of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative said the project was significant.

“It’s important that we look after our native land and get rid of the weeds so our native plants can flourish,” he said.

(L-R) Evan Francis, Zac Hooper-Travers, Alfred Oram, David Tournier Jnr, Georgie Beale and Shane Clarke. Georgie, Zac and Evan are from the GORCC conservation team while Alfred, David and Shane are from the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative
(L-R) Evan Francis, Zac Hooper-Travers, Alfred Oram, David Tournier Jnr, Georgie Beale and Shane Clarke. Georgie, Zac and Evan are from the GORCC conservation team while Alfred, David and Shane are from the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative

Kuuyang Maar Aboriginal Corporation has been working with Friends of Queens Park in Lorne and project manager Joey Chatfield said the funding had facilitated the paid employment of Indigenous workers.

“We have nine heritage officers working on the project, protecting native species and helping Indigenous plants to revegetate.”

Environmental volunteer groups are estimated to contribute 10,000 hours on the GORCC managed coast each year, the equivalent to almost six full time staff. GORCC chief officer Richard Davies said the project was an ideal opportunity to work with both volunteers and Indigenous groups.

“These groups are highly valued by GORCC and our recently approved coastal management plan identifies protection of both the natural environment and cultural heritage as high priorities for our organisation. This project enables us to expand relationships and the involvement of the Indigenous community in the management of the coast.”

Mr Hynes said introduced weeds have a huge advantage over our native species.

“They can seriously disrupt natural ecological processes and destroy habitat for local flora and fauna. You can help by taking a few simple steps to eradicate these weeds at home – a good place to start is to download the Surf Coast Shire’s online Environmental Weeds booklet,” Mr Hynes said.

Out of the ten new weeds recorded in Australia each year, around two-thirds of those escape from gardens. Funding to facilitate the involvement of the Indigenous works crews was provided through the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Coastcare Community Grant program.

This story was published in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.

More information about volunteering on the coast is available at gorcc.com.au.

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Weed profile: Pincushion Hakea

Pincushion Hakea
Pincushion Hakea

Introducing the Pincushion Hakea:

I stand up to 4 metres tall and am considered a large dense shrub.  I have narrow elliptical green leaves and flower between March-May. I have a cousin who is sweet but I myself sting like a pin. I enjoy being carried by the wind and will invade your garden at any chance. Although I originate from Western Australia I am now found along the Surf Coast.

I’m a hard salt tolerant plant, which grows rapidly and can often be found along road sides. Although I am sensitive to fires, I threaten native plants when I regenerate. My cousin (with whom I share part of my scientific name) has pretty cream coloured flowers which could be mistaken as fairy floss. I,  however,  begin one colour but can become another.

What can you do to eradicate Pincushion Hakea?

Well, I don’t like having my seedlings pulled out one by one so that’s a good place to start. If I’ve grown to a large size (and I shall give it a go) cut me as close to ground level as possible so that it is harder for me to regenerate. If I do manage to regrow (and believe me I shall try to) treat my stump with a systemic herbicide so that I will be gone from your garden once and for all.

pincushion_hakea (SCShire)
Pincushion Hakea in bloom.

For more information about identifying and eliminating weeds in your garden, view GORCC’s introduction to weeds and vegetation or consult The Surf Coast Shires booklet Environmental weeds: Invaders of the Surf Coast Shire.

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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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Kinder kids on the coast

Teaching the next generation about caring for our beautiful coast is important if we want to protect it into the future.  With this in mind, children from the Torquay Montessori Centre are getting hands on and learning about their local coastal environment.

Torquay Montessori kindergarten students surround GORCC Conservation Officer Georgina Beale as she teaches them about the coast.
Torquay Montessori kindergarten students surround GORCC Conservation Officer Georgina Beale as she teaches them about the coast.

Recently, four and five year olds enjoyed planting indigenous flora, coastal planting and learning about beach litter, plants and animals living in the sand dunes.

The activities took place in Torquay as part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Environmental Education Program

Torquay Montessori Centre Kindergarten Director Felice Weight said the students also learnt about threatened Hooded Plovers and why it is important to stay off the sand dunes.

“I have received feedback from parents telling me their children are pointing out things they learnt from the program while walking along the beach.”

“It’s great to see the children took something from this program, they absolutely enjoyed it.

“They especially enjoyed the planting, and it was great to incorporate learning outside the kindergarten,” Ms Weight said. 

Torquay Montessori kindergarten student Otis Jones taking part in the activities on the day.
Torquay Montessori kindergarten student Otis Jones taking part in the activities on the day.

GORCC’s Environmental  Education Program offers schools and groups the opportunity to engage in hands on learning opportunities that will equip them with the knowledge and skills to work with, understand, respect, protect and enhance their beautiful coastal surroundings.

For more information visit GORCC’s Environmental Education Program 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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Young conservationists take action

A group of young environmental protectors are taking conservation action as part of their community connections class at Surf Coast Secondary College and are set to become guardians of the coast into the future.

Surf Coast Secondary College students and young guardians of the coast Pat Binyon and Tim Anderson get to work.

The year 10 students have planted over 400 trees as part of various conservation projects which have included the removal of noxious weeds at Whites Beach, planting within Moonah Woodlands at Spring Creek and litter patrols near Jan Juc.

SCSC community connections teacher Shane Elevato said many of the students were now looking to study biology and outdoor education in 2013.

“The students are demonstrating not only a passion for the environment but an interest in conservation as a potential career path for the future.”

The students have been undertaking the work in partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) through the organisation’s Coast Guardians program.

“The program tied in with our community connections class, which gives students the opportunity to get out into the environment, demonstrate direct activism and put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice,” Mr Elevato said.

He said the year-long program taught students about the impact rubbish has on bird life and marine life and specifically looked at how removing plastic and bottle tops from the coast can help to save animal life.

“The program makes students more appreciative of how special our local environment really is. When they get out into the community and see the impact littering can have they learn to appreciate the environment and have a greater sense of ownership of the environment.”

GORCC conservation officer Georgie Beale said topics covered with the group over the last term included plant communities and dune ecology.

“Throughout the year the students have covered a range of theory topics including plant communities, dune ecology, sustainable fishing, environmental weeds, and marine debris. Planting and weeding is also an important part of the program and helps to ensure noxious weeds do not invade Indigenous plant species,” she said.

The Coast Guardians program also includes work and partnerships with environmental volunteer groups such as Torquay Coast Action, Friends of Queens Park and ANGAIR who have been working with students on various sites throughout the year.

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

SCSC students working away as part of GORCC’s Coast Guardian Program.

For further information on the Coast Guardians Program visit our website  or read this media release.

To learn more about the Environmental Education Program visit our website.      

Interested in volunteering? Read more on our volunteer page.

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