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.

Top Tips to Care for the Coast

Here are a few simple tips that will help you to protect our beautiful coast and ensure everyone can continue to enjoy it.

4 tips to look after the environment

  1. Understand boating practices (dispose of waste correctly including sewerage).
  2. Minimize the amount of rubbished generated by reusing bags and using recyclable materials.
  3. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
  4. Become a volunteer. Get in touch with one of these coastal environmental volunteer groups to get involved.
Dogs are only allowed off their leash in certain areas

4 tips to look after wildlife

  1. When boating, whales, dolphins and seals stay at least 100m away – the sea is their home.
  2. Rock pools are homes to plants, so return overturned rocks to their original position and don’t disrupt the habitats of marine life.
  3. Ensure dogs are on leashes on the beach and avoid dog prohibited areas. This will ensure wildlife, such as the Hooded Plover – an endangered little Aussie bird battling to survive, are protected.
  4. If you see an injured animal the best thing you can do is call the right people immediately. If they are alive call DSE on 136 186; they have a customer service center which will direct you to the closest local animal shelter or refuge.
    – for more information on what to do with sick or injured animals click here.
Stay out of the dunes and keep your dog on a leash and you will be helping to protect nesting birds like the endangered Hooded Plover. Source: Dean Ingwersen

3 tips to look after plant-life

  1. Keep on designated pathways when walking to and from the beach to protect the vegetation.
  2. Take care to avoid sand dunes as they are fragile ecosystems which are home to precious native vegetation and many  habitats.
  3. Be sure to look out for noxious weeds – they start off in your garden and from there they invade the coast! For more information on noxious weeds click here.
Signs have been put up around the Surf Coast to ensure visitors stay off the dunes in order to protect plant-life and habitats

Inspiration for this post came from ’50 Ways to Care for our Coast’, a publication by Coast Care.

For more tips on how to protect our coast click here.

Related Blog Posts:

Don’t be a butt with your cigarette!
Who let the cats out:
Beachgoers and dunes at risk: 


Precious babies on our beaches

Counteracting the Coast Tea-Tree invasion


Christian College year 10 students assemble near Jan Juc for the Coast Tea-Tree working bee.
Areas of the Anglesea Heathland received a makeover between Jan Juc and Bellbrae thanks to Christian College Geelong’s Year 10 Outdoor Education students’ who have been working closely with several conservation groups and private landowners.

Students worked closely with the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN), the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), Surfer’s Appreciating the Natural Environments (SANE) and private landowners where they were involved in numerous conservation activities including pulling out Boneseed, cutting out Coast Tea Tree and brush matting to stabilise sand dunes.

“The working bee forms part of the student’s outdoor education class and will equip them with hands on experience and knowledge about the issues affecting our coast,” said Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation Supervisor, Georgina Beale

Coast Tea-Tree has invaded many coastal areas since the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires forming thickets on dunes and heathlands, and smothering indigenous vegetation through shading and competition for resources such as water, soil and nutrients.

“Coast Tea-Tree also reduces the habitat of indigenous fauna that inhabits the heathland,” Ms. Beale said.

The environmental weed is spread by wind, water, human planting and through dumped garden waste.

You can stop the spread of Coast Tea-Tree along the coast by ensuring you remove all weeds from your garden to stop the weed from further spreading into our natural areas.

Use green wastes bins or drop weeds at local waste transfer stations to dispose of them.   Stations are located in Anglesea, Lorne, Winchelsea and Deans Marsh. For more information visit the shire’s waste disposal website here.

What does the Coast Tea-Tree look like?

Coast Tea-Tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) is an invasive environmental weed along our coast.
  • Coast Tea-Tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) looks like a shrub or small tree.
  • They can grow to about 5m high.
  • Recognised by a dull grey-green colour with stiff leaves and large white flowers that appear in the spring.
  •  Common along coastal areas because of their good tolerance of salt-spray conditions.

For more information on the Coast Tea-Tree you can visit the Weeds Australia website.

Why Coast Tea-Tree is both native to Australia and an environmental weed:

Although Coast Tea-Tree is native to Australia, it becomes an environmental weed along the Surf Coast when it moves from within its natural habitat into a new area where the species has a strong competitive advantage over the indigenous plants already in that area.

Environmental weeds are plants that grow in environments where they are not wanted and in natural landscapes they can out-compete indigenous species. This affects the balance of the entire ecosystem by reducing biodiversity, taking away vital food sources and habitat for native insects, birdlife and fauna. Many of the plants introduced into Australia in the last 200 years are now considered environmental weeds.

For more information on environmental weeds, check out our website here.

Find out more about weeds along the coast:

Find out more information about the environmental weeds affecting our coast on the  GORCC website.

The Surf Coast Shire has also developed a list of environmental weeds along the Surf Coast on their website here. 

For more information on environmental weeds along the Surf Coast check out the Surf Coast Shire Booklet- Environmental Weeds Invaders of the Surf Coast Shire.

How you can get involved:

Christian College student helping to remove invasive Coast Tea-Tree in the heathland reserve.
Learn more about our GORCC’s Environmental Education Program for Schools and become involved here. 

Learn more about environmental volunteering opportunities on our coast here. 

Weed Profile: Boneseed

Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. monilifera) is one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its severe environmental impacts. This killer is invasive and has a threatening potential to spread rapidly.

Boneseed is a declared noxious weed in Victoria – it endangers rare and threatened plants.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of Boneseed is that it thrives in coastal areas. It favours sandy soils and tolerates saline conditions.

Boneseed is recognizable by its erect, woody, evergreen shrub that can grow to 3m. The fleshy leaves are an elongated oval shape with toothed edges. When flowering, they have yellow daisy petals that grow in clusters. Boneseed also has round, green and black berries, each containing a seed.


–          Invades dunes and coastal areas;

–          Grows in most soil types and tolerates a wide range of climates;

–          Rapidly regrows after a disturbance;

–          Alters habitat and shifts food plants of native animals; and

–          Can restrict access to beaches, parks and trails.

It is for these reasons, along with the alarming fact that it has no natural enemies in Australia, that Boneseed has so rapidly invaded many areas of Victoria. It is now in mid-winter that the plant flowers and it is NOW that you need to take control before the killer takes over your garden.

What can you do to protect your area from Boneseed?

Boneseed is difficult to clear, it is very hardy and can withstand salt spray. Report an infestation to your local weeds officer.

It is easy to join a local Landcare of Coastcare group to remove Boneseed. Contact the State Landcare Coordinator on (03) 96378033 or see –

If you want more information regarding Boneseed and other weeds go to The Weeds Australia website – here

More information about weeds and how to protect the coast from them is available here.

Below is a video about the importance of protecting our coast.

Information for this blog came from the Victorian Government, Victorian Department of Primary Industries and National Bitou Bush and Boneseed Management Group flyer.

Dieback fight back – protect plant-life on our coast

It takes a mere few months for beautiful native plants to become infected and killed by the root-rot fungus known as Phytophthora Dieback.

Healthy Grass Trees won’t stay green for long with infected neighbours nearby

What is the effect of the root-rot fungus?

The root-rot fungus works by spreading through moist soil and quickly infecting and killing a number of native plants – from the well-known ‘Grass Trees’ particularly prevalent in the Great Otway National Park, to coastal Banksias and even large trees.

How does the disease spread?

If you have walked through the Great Otway National Park, you probably would have come across easily recognizable Grass Trees.  The effect of the fungus on these Grass Trees, as well as other plant, is also recognizable. From beautiful blue-green fronds to tangled brown in just a few months – the rapid effect is devastating.

What is being done about it?

The Friends of Point Addis together with the Victorian National Parks Association and Deakin University are currently monitoring the Grass Trees in Ironbark Basin.

Parks Victoria have set up stands for brushing and washing shoes and bike tyres around the Ironbark Basin area.

How can you get involved?

The Friends of Point Addis are this month holding an information session for any concerned locals, landowners and visitors to learn more about the disease and what they can do to help stop the spread of disease.

Register to attend the workshop by emailing ( or calling Bronwyn Spark on 5263 2224. Then come on down to the Ironbark Basin car park off Point Addis Rd Saturday July 21 to learn more in the free Workshop.

Remember – we all need to pull together to stop the fungus from infecting our native flora!

This story featured in the Surf Coast Time’s fortnightly Green the Coast Column.

Do you have any more ideas about how we can protect our native flora and fauna? Let us know!

Anglesea heath back to its former glory

The coastal reserve above the Anglesea Surf Club has undergone a remarkable environmental transformation, thanks to a five-year project carried out by students and volunteers.

Year nine students from St Bernard’s College and Anglesea Coast Action (ACA) volunteers have spent more than 700 hours restoring the heathland back to its natural state. Students and volunteers met regularly at the site to remove the weeds with loppers and saws.

A big thank you to the St Bernard’s students and volunteers who spent over 700 hours restoring the area above the Anglesea Surf Club.

Why did this site need attention?

The site’s Indigenous vegetation was damaged during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and struggled to recover due to the quick regrowth of weeds.

Carl Rayner, secretary of ACA, said only small amounts of biodiversity remained in the reserve when the project began.

“The area has gone from a weed-infested coastal reserve with half a dozen species to a thriving heathland, which is now home to over 110 species of Indigenous plants,” he said.

“The result is amazing and I have never seen a transformation quite like it before.”

Vice president of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR), Neil Tucker, said the weeding work meant smothered native vegetation was able to germinate again and grow naturally.

“A wonderful variety of native plants have bloomed in the area including orchids, which no one knew were there,” he said.

How do St Bernard’s students give back to the environment? 

St Bernard’s campus director, Mark Smith, said the program taught the students about the need for everyone to take responsibility for the protection and preservation of the natural environment.

“We wanted them to contribute to an ongoing community project that fitted with our theme of environmental awareness – and the project was a perfect fit,” he said.

“The students are all from the city and spend four weeks at the school’s Santa Monica Campus each year. The students have benefited by gaining a better understanding of the coastal environment, especially in terms of learning about what plants are Indigenous and why it is advisable to plant them – and how invasive species have affected the coast and dunes.”

Year 9 student Josh Saliba is one of many St Bernard’s College students who have helped restore Anglesea Heath back to its natural state.

What other benefits have emerged from the project?

Mr Rayner said plenty of positive feedback had been received about the restored site.

“The view from the nearby lookout is magnificent and people have said to me that it’s now arguably one of the best views along the Great Ocean Road.”

The project was made possible through Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, ACA and ANGAIR funding.

Have you seen the coastal reserve above the Anglesea Surf Club recently?

Tell us what you think of the transformation!

Want to get involved in GORCC’s Environmental Education Program for schools? Click here for more information.

Interested in protecting and preserving the coast? Find out more about environmental volunteering on the coast here.

Check out what other local schools have done lately to protect our beautiful coast.

Action and art for conservation

Queens Park blitz a group effort

Queens Park blitz a group effort

Students, corporate and environmental volunteers and land management agencies joined forces recently in a bid eradicate two of the worst weeds on the coast.

Year nine and 10 students from Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 and ANZ bank staff were amongst the group volunteers keen to protect Lorne’s iconic Queens Park.

Queens Park is 25 hectares of parkland which also includes Teddy’s lookout andlocal volunteer groups and schools often work in conjunction with the GORCC to both remove weeds and restore the area.

This event was organised by the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN) in an attempt to win the tough battle against Bridal Creepers and Boneseed weeds in coastal regions and across the Otway Plain and ranges coastal regions.

Brial Creepers smother native plants so it’s vital we control them now!

OCCN project facilitator Luke Hynes says Boneseed and Bridal Creeper are known as two of the worst weeds in Australia as they are spread very quickly.

“Boneseed and Bridal Creeper are emerging weeds in this area and it is essential we control these weeds before they become established,” he said.

For more information about Bridal Creepers and Bonseed weeds, click the links below:

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said Queens Park is of high environmental significance and is home to some very unique animals.

“Many of the native animals who live in Queens Park are also threatened such as the Swift Parrott, the Rufous Bristlebird and the near threatened Swamp Anrichenus,” she said.

ANZ business analyst Georgie Roberts made the trip down to the coast from Melbourne with fellow co-workers, who are given the opportunity to do one day of volunteering each year.

“This year we decided to leave Melbourne and travel to Lorne because Queens Park is such a beautiful area and we were keen to get out of the office and spend a day helping to protect the coastal environment,” she said.

Lone-Aireys Inlet P-12 students and ANZ private banking staff were satisfied with their contribution to preserving the natural environment of Queens Park.

Friends of Queens Park President John Wilson said that working bees are common place in this area.

“We conduct regular working bees with volunteers and other local environmental groups including LorneCare, who generously give their time to clear weeds in the park and help to improve biodiversity in Queens Park,” he said.

How can I get involved in volunteering?

To find out more about the OCCN please visit their website

Friends of Queens Park also hold regular working bees in the area- If you are interested in their work, don’t hesitate to call 52891689 for more information.

For more information about environmental volunteering, please visit our website here.

New direction for conservation

The Otway Community Conservation Group recently held a  workshop  to  address future directions and potential projects for the management, protection and enhancement of biodiversity in the Otway region.

The Rufous Bristlebird is threatened by habitat loss. Improvement of wildlife corridors will help to preserve and increase habitat for a range of species, including the threatened Rufous Bristlebird pictured above, which has decreased in numbers dues to habitat loss and is now confined to a small pocket of coast in the Surf Coast and Otway regions.

OCCN facilitator Luke Hynes was encouraged by the outcomes of the workshop and feedback given by all representatives.

“Suggested project areas included further networking between groups, improving wildlife corridors, controlling pest plants and animals and increasing community engagement and education,” he said.

Why is biodiversity important?

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale believes biodiversity is important in order to protect our unique Australian flora and fauna.

“Conserving and enhancing this biodiversity in the Otway region will provide us with a much healthier and more resilient ecosystem.

“Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world and much of our flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else.

It is this unique landscape which gives us our identity as a country and the more we learn about, understand and respect our environment the better off we will all be,” she said.

Check out this video clip about biodiversity.  The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is working with volunteers to take direct action against invasive weeds and other critical threats to our coast’s precious biodiversity. But we need your help too.

Who attended the workshop? 

Around 30 natural resource managment staff and community volunteers attended the workshop.

Representatives from the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Parks Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, local councils, coastal land managers, VicRoads, Conservation Volunteers Australia, ALCOA, Otway Conservation Ecology Centre, local Landcare networks and conservation groups also attended the workshop.

OCCN chairperson Roger Ganly said he was thrilled with the strong turnout, thanking all those who attended.

“We had a great representation from a cross section of the community and natural resource management sector across the Otway region,” he said.

 How do I find out more?

For more information please contact the OCCN Project facilitator Luke Hynes – PH: 0406 113 438; E: or visit their website

You can also check out other blogs we have posted on the OCCN:

Input sought on Otways biodiversity.

Community Conservation Network forges ahead.

New network to protect Otways

Input sought on Otways biodiversity

Do you have some more free time during your Easter Holidays? Why not come along to the upcoming planning workshop for the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN) later this month?

After a successful first year, the OCCN is inviting the community to have their input at a new workshop about the future protection of biodiversity in the Otway region.

The OCCN are coordinating an effort to tackle Bridal Creeper and Boneseed weeds in the Otways through ground control, as well as mapping.

Bridal Creeper taking over native vegetation (photo: OCCN)

This Clip produced by the OCCN shows volunteers removing Boneseed  on three Victorian Properties:

OCCN Facilitator Luke Hynes said that these weeds are having a devasting effect on our local environment and coastline. He said that it is also the perfect opportunity to share information and discuss how to encourage biodiversity in a community-oriented environment.

“We are now planning future projects and community input is vital,” he said.

Who else will be there?

Representatives from Great Ocean Road Coast Committe (GORCC), Parks Victoria, VicRoads, The Department of Sustainabilty and Environment, The Corangmite Catchment Management Authority, Landcare,  local councils, coastal land managers, Trust for Nature and other conservation groups, will also be there contributing their ideas.

‘We are asking for input and are looking forward to seeing to see representatives from the community on the 18th of April,‘ said Mr. Hynes



One of the unique creatures that OCCN strives to protect



What are the details?

When: Wednesday 18th April, from 10am-12pm.

Where: Otway Estate, 10 Hoveys Road, Barongarook.

Lunch will also be provided!

RSVP:  If you’re interesting in coming along to the workshop, please RSVP to Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438 for catering purposes.

If you’d like more information contact OCCN Project facilitator Luke Hynes – PH 0406 113 438 E: or visit our website



By coming along to this workshop, you can help keep our coastline beautiful too!



We would love to see you there!

Check out our past blogs about the OCCN here:

Community Conservation Network forges ahead.

Weeding out coastal invaders.

New network to protect Otways.