Celebration for local volunteers

Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) were announced joint winners of the Victorian Coastal Awards for Excellence Natural Environment category in the annual ceremony held on October 15.

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Jan Juc Coast Action were dubbed ‘Coastal Champions’ for their 21 years of continual commitment to the protection and enhancement of the Jan Juc cliffs. Photo: Jan Juc Coast Action

The Awards, held by the Victorian Coastal Council, celebrate the outstanding work of individuals and groups in enhancing and protecting Victoria’s coastal and marine environments.

Eight awards were presented to groups and individuals who have made outstanding environmental contributions to the Victorian Coast.

Award winners in each category were:

  • Natural Environment (2x): Parks Victoria and Sea Search Program – Ten Years of Corner Inlet Community Seagrass Monitoring & Jan Juc Coast Action Group – 21 Years of Jan Juc Coast Action
  • Education: BirdLife Australia – Bringing the coast to the classroom
  • Planning and Management: Environmental Protection Authority – The Victorian Marine Operational Model
  • Community Engagement: Friends of Beware Reef – Community Engagement & Marine Species Monitoring
  • Design and Building: Frankston City Council – McCulloch Avenue Boardwalk
  • Victorian Marine Science Consortium – Postgraduate Award: Marlene Rodriguez-Malagon – Postgraduate marine research
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement – Bob Semmens

Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said this year’s finalists and award winners have been exemplary.

“I’m proud of how we take real responsibility for the welfare of our coast, which not only improves the health of the environment, but also the livability of our communities.

“It is important we understand the threats to our coastal and marine environments, and the ways in which communities can take action to help limit their impacts,” she said.

Over the past 21 years, JJCA has rehabilitated four kilometers of coastal foreshore and continues to improve this area through monthly working bees conducting activities including the removal of pest species, fencing and revegetation.

In recent years, the group’s focus has shifted from revegetation and access control to targeted threatened species and raising environmental awareness through engaging with the community.

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Jan Juc Coast Action Chairman Luke Hynes with members from Jan Juc Coast Action at the October working bee earlier this year. Photo: Ferne Millen

Recently JJCA launched their online searchable plant database the Surf Coast Nature Search, that aims to help support an increase in environmental awareness among locals and holiday makers.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) works closely with environmental volunteer groups that work on the GORCC managed land and was thrilled to see JJCA receive the award.

GORCC Community Liaison Manager Jane Lovejoy said the award was well deserved and a testament to the hard work volunteers donate each year to protect the coast.

“Volunteer groups continue to be the backbone of GORCC’s conservation efforts with 11 groups working directly on our managed land.

“It is fantastic to see local environmental volunteer groups receive recognition for their consistent contributions to enhancing our precious coastal environment,” she said.

Coastal conservation is everyone’s responsibility. How do you help keep our coast beautiful?

Surfrider community clean up for Jan Juc

The Surfrider Foundation, and Plastic Bay Free Torquay recently worked together to conduct a Jan Juc litter blitz, uncovering some interesting items of rubbish along the way.

Volunteers from and members from the local community helped collect 25 large bags of litter – litter that would otherwise be left to impact our oceans.

Volunteers display the 25 bags of rubbish collected on the day. Photo: Surfrider (Surf Coast)

Items collected included old carpet, a broken fishing rod, a body-board, a tent and lots of plastic and glass tumblers.

The Surfrider Foundation has been holding regular beach clean ups along the Surf Coast since 1996 to reduce the presence of litter on beaches and promote community participation.

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Volunteers gearing up to clean up the coast. Photo: Surfrider (Surf Coast)

Hot refreshments were provided by Mark Clatworthy from Ocean Gind who donated the day’s profits to the Surfrider Foundation.

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The Ocean Grind caravan at Jan Juc carpark to provide support the Surf Coast Surfriders Foundation volunteers.

The Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast partners with Plastic Bag Free Torquay and the Take 3 initiative, working in collaboration to reduce plastic pollution along the Surf Coast.

How can I help?

  • Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags when you go grocery shopping.
  • Keep reusable bags handy in the boot, glove box, backpack or handbag to use when shopping.
  • Reuse plastic bags you have accumulated at home as garbage bin liners, freezing food or while walking your dog.
  • Collect rubbish you see when walking along the coast and put it in the bin.
  • Help spread the word! Education is so important in reducing plastic pollution, so please help educate and inspire others to look after the environment.
  • Volunteer with a local environmental group and start making a difference in your area

And remember ….

Refuse disposable plastic, Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle and Respond by picking up rubbish.

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Photo courtesy of brother.com

Interested in volunteering and making a difference?  Visit our website here for more information on local coastal volunteer groups.

Have you found any strange items of rubbish on the beach? Let us know in the comments below!

Plant Tool in Production

An innovative, searchable plant database is in production thanks to grant funding, donations and the work of Jan Juc Coast Action volunteers.

The online tool, which will allow people to identify indigenous species and environmental weeds growing in the Jan Juc area, will provide in-depth information about local flora.

Jan Juc Coast Action is working with a range of partners on the project, including the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Boojum, a local online design business.

The project was recently awarded a GORCC Coastal Grant of $2500 and has also received support through a State Government Coastcare Grant.

Jan Juc Coast Action volunteers Graeme Stockton (left) Geoff Morgan and GORCC Conservation supervisor Georgie Beale
Jan Juc Coast Action volunteers Graeme Stockton (left) Geoff Morgan and GORCC Conservation supervisor Georgie Beale are picture with the Indigenous Olearia plant in Jan Juc

Jan Juc Coast Action volunteer Graeme ­­Stockton said the database will help to protect local flora and fauna by allowing coastal property owners to identify environmental weeds in their gardens and offering them indigenous alternatives.

“Environmental weeds are harmful plants that quickly spread to nearby habitats causing severe damage to the fragile coastal environment.

“We only have a thin strip of natural coastal habitat left and residential gardens are located very close to these fragile environments,” he said.

Jan Juc Coast Action hopes the database will be expanded beyond Jan Juc in the future to cover indigenous plants and weeds right along the GORCC managed coast.

“It would be ideal to see this tool expanded to become a comprehensive database of not only flora along GORCC-managed land but fauna as well,” said Mr. Stockton.

Boojum Lead Designer Roland Maxwell who has been working with the volunteers to create the website, has donated hundreds of hours to the project.

“The database will be searchable in a range of ways including flower colour, size, leaf shape and more,” he said.

The platform has been designed to be as flexible and user friendly as possible.

The website is flexible enough to support future growth to the database and potential extensions of the project such as applications for mobile,” said Mr Maxwell.

GORCC is supporting the project through both grant funding and in-kind assistance.

GORCC Community Liaison Manager Jane Lovejoy said the website is set to become an indispensable tool that can be used by volunteers, community members and educators alike.

“This tool will be a fabulous education resource for school groups that we engage through our education programs.

“Additionally, those who love the coast and enjoy walking along the Jan Juc Cliffs and admiring indigenous species will be able to accurately determine what plant they’re looking at,” she said.

More information on coastal volunteering and the GORCC Coastal Grants program is available at www.gorcc.com.au.

This article was published in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column

 

Rare orchid survives on edge

A little known orchid is existing on the Jan Juc cliff top, its precarious survival an unexpected and happy surprise for local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA).

The rare and state significant orchid Swamp Diuris (Diuris palustris) formerly populated areas near Melbourne but became locally extinct due to urban development.

JJCA has been working to ensure the orchid’s survival.  In 2010 the group pollinated the flowers and collected seed.  The delicate operation consisted of members getting down on their hands and knees to pollinate the tiny orchid flowers with tooth-picks.

Graeme Stockton and Roma Edwards from JJCA in the process of planting minute “home grown” Diuris seedlings. PHOTO: Ian Edwards

JJCA member Ian Edwards was one of the volunteers assisting in the project.

“We simulated the action of the tiny native bees or wasps that may be the natural pollinator and by late summer it was possible to collect some of the dust-like seed,” said Mr. Edwards.

Last year JJCA volunteers also found large numbers of Sun Orchids (Thelymitra spp.) and Onion Orchids (Microtis spp.) in the remnant native grassland of the Jan Juc clifftop, these also rely on the presence of specific soil fungi and specific insect pollinators.

JJCA Chairman Luke Hynes said like the Swamp Diuris, the Sun Orchids and Onion Orchids also rely on the presence of specific soil fungi and specific insect pollinators.

“We had seen few previously, but with the regular rainfall this year there is a profusion,” he said.

JJCA Committee member Graeme Stockton said the introduction of foreign pasture grasses, and invasion by a host of weeds and escaped garden plants have crowded out much of the original vegetation.

“We are amazed that so many indigenous plants have survived the past century and a half and they deserve all the assistance we can provide,” he said.   

Springtime brings an abundance of wildflowers along the coast – what have you spotted this season?

To get involved with JJCA  contact Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438

Heart of coast restored by hand

Jan Juc Coast Action will work with local volunteers throughout a two year project to restore grasslands atop the Jan Juc cliffs.

Jan Juc Coast Action hopes the Jan Juc grasslands restoration will have the same success as the Grassy Groundcover Restoration Project which spanned three years and restored native grasslands across Victoria.

“The Grassy Ground Cover Restoration Project demonstrated that it is possible to recreate grasslands,” said native grasslands expert Paul Gibson Roy.

Jan Juc Coast Action Chairperson, Luke Hynes, said the project is to begin in late August.

“Grasslands are a vegetation type that has been severely depleted across Victoria.

 “Grasslands are a vegetation type that has been severely depleted across Victoria.

“We should be trying to maintain and enhance the grassland areas of the Jan Juc cliffs as there are only a few examples of this vegetation type remaining,” said Mr Hynes.

The project is based on the techniques developed by Mr. Gibson Roy.

“There is less than one per cent of native grasslands remaining, they could be considered one of the most endangered species in Australia,” said Mr. Gibson Roy.

Jan Juc Coast Action will use the same techniques used in the Grassy Ground Cover Restoration to restore the Jan Juc grasslands.

Mr Hynes said the grassland restoration involves taking off the top 10 to 15 cm of soil which will remove the high level nutrient soil and any weed seed in the soil.

“We will then reseed back into the exposed soil with native grassland seeds.

“The low nutrient, weed seed free soil should provide a great substrate for the native grasslands species to thrive,” said Mr Hynes.

Volunteers have been actively involved the Grassy Groundcover Restoration project and the Jan Juc Coast Action Grasslands Restoration.

“Volunteers are incredibly important. Most of our research was undertaken on farms and public land and the project relied heavily on farmers and the community, “said Mr Gibson Roy.

Learn more about coastal volunteering in this Coast Action/Coastcare video clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV80QxX_19o

Mike Bodsworth, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Project Manager said that GORCC is supportive of Jan Juc Coast Action’s initiative.

Jan Juc Coast Action working bees take place on the first Sunday of each month

For more information on Jan Juc Coast Action click here or if you would like to volunteer contact Luke Hynes ph. 0406 113 438 or email luke@beaconecological.com.au

Have a look at these links for more information.

Coast Action/Coastcare

Grassy Groundcover Gazette

Greening Australia

Jan Juc Coast Action

Volunteering on the Surf Coast

This column bought to you by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, to visit the  GORCC website click here.

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Tuesday 23 August 2011

Are you or anyone you know involved in the Jan Juc grasslands restoration?

Are you interested in coastal volunteering?

Do you know of any other environmental projects happening on the Surf Coast?

Let us know your thoughts and opinions!