Know someone who deserves recognition for the work they do???

The Victorian Regional Achievement & Community Awards are designed to encourage, acknowledge and reward the valuable contributions individuals, communities and businesses are making throughout regional and rural Victoria.

Nominations close 31 July 2020 so start putting your application together! Entry is free, and anyone can nominate! You can enter an individual, group, business or organisation into one or more of the 9 categories below.

  1. Business Achievement Award – REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT VICTORIA
  2. Community Education Award – GOTAFE
  3. Leadership and Innovation Award – REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT VICTORIA
  4. Agricultural Innovation Award – PRIME SUPER
  5. Customer Service Award – RICOH
  6. Community Group Award – GOTAFE
  7. Community resilience Award – DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT, LAND, WATER and PLANNING
  8. Excellence in Aged Care – PRIME SUPER
  9. Community Hero Award – AWARDS AUSTRALIA

To enter go to the ONLINE PORTAL and select the category you wish to enter from the drop down nomination award menu and answer a few simple questions.

If you are time poor, but want to recognise someone use the online REFERRAL SYSTEM. It takes about two minutes to complete the form and the team at VRACA does the rest! They will get in contact with your nominee and have them complete the questions.

Prizes include $2,000 into an account in the winners name from Bank of Melbourne or air time packages on PRIME7 for category winners. 

One of the nine category winners will be named the “Bank of Melbourne Regional Achiever of the Year” and will receive an additional $2,000 and state trophy.

To find out more about the Awards, please visit the website or contact Talia Bebarfald, Awards Administrative Assistant on 9720 1638.

Wild Families

Nature at Home activities and articles in Park Watch magazine

While we continue to navigate these challenging times together, we hope you and your family are staying safe and well and finding ways to connect to nature.

We are very much looking forward to running special Wild Families activities again, when the time is right. 

For now, we thought you would enjoy building up your nature knowledge at home by reading some interesting articles.

Park Watch magazine is the quarterly magazine of the Victorian National Parks Association. It includes articles on conservation issues across Victoria and celebrates the wealth of nature we have in our state. 

Check out some of the content with the family in the latest edition. 

Nature at home

While many Victorians find themselves back on Stage 3 restrictions, now is a good time to revisit ideas for enjoying and learning about nature at home.

Try one of the Wild Families ‘Nature At Home’ activities, such as creating an adventure book, making leaf art or watching birds, on page 40.  

Special Species – Magpies

Did you know Magpies can remember individual human faces and are highly social animals? 

You can read all about one of Australia’s most well loved birds, on page 36

The march of the Spider Crabs

Every year, through March to July, our southern coastal waters are visited by bizarre, alien-like crabs, coming together in their thousands. 

Read all about this extraordinary annual event and see a letter from Sir David Attenborough calling for a halt on fishing for Spider Crabs on page 32. 

Park Watch also boasts a range of other informative articles on nature conservation in Victoria for after the kids head off to bed. This includes articles on our ongoing work advocating for the protection of forests across the state, new Victorian threatened species laws, an opportunity to explore Coopracambra National Park from home, and a chance to test your knowledge on Victorian bushfire management with our quiz.  Read the full edition of Park Watch

Happy reading!

Caitlin Griffith
Manager, Community Learning and Engagement
(03) 9341 6500

An insight into Platypus in the Upper Campaspe and Coliban River Catchments!

Photo @ Zoos Victoria

The Platypus Project

The Platypus Project aimed to address the lack of contemporary knowledge about platypus and blackfish populations by investigating the current distribution of platypus and blackfish throughout the upper Campaspe region using environmental DNA (eDNA). Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a non-invasive sampling technique that detects genetic material from a target species secreted into the surrounding environment (e.g. water).

The Platypus Project was a partnership between Upper Campaspe Landcare Network and Melbourne-based scientific research and environmental company EnviroDNA with funding provided by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Staff from Coliban Water and the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) assisted as key partners.

The Project had a strong community engagement focus and included school visits, community talks, local radio and newspaper articles, as well as training and participation of local students and residents in the fieldwork to collect water samples and undertake river health assessments.

Senior ecologist and platypus expert Dr Josh Griffiths from EnviroDNA led the project and provided the technical knowledge and advice to Citizen Scientists participating in this Project.

The community engagement activities aimed to encourage local residents to take an active interest in the health of their local waterways and conservation issues.

The data generated will identify declines against historical information, where available, and provide a comprehensive baseline for future monitoring and direct management actions to improve the long term viability of platypus and blackfish populations.

The results will create a key planning blueprint for future waterway management and platypus conservation efforts in the region.

This information is crucial for conservation strategies and planning. The UCLN will work with local and state government, Catchment Management Authorities and the broader community to develop actions to protect these amazing monotremes.

Dr Josh Griffiths from EnviroDNA has recently published the end of Project Report entitled Mapping the distribution of platypuses and blackfish in the upper Campaspe region using citizen scientists and environmental DNA.

Dr Josh Griffiths discusses the Platypus Project

Please contact UCLN Facilitator, Rebekah Ritchie at or on 0432 491 789 to receive a copy of the Final Report.

Go to platypusSPOT on Facebook for more information (platypusSPOT is a citizen-science and community engagement platform to help improve the conservation status of the iconic platypus).

NOTE – portions of this article are direct extracts taken from the BACKGROUND – Mapping the distribution of platypuses and blackfish in the upper Campaspe region using citizen scientists and environmental DNA.