Workshop – A layman’s guide to fauna surveys with Ecologist & Zoologist John Harris

If you have ever wondered who is visiting your backyard, local environment or Landcare site, this is the Workshop for you!
A juvenile Greater Glider found during a spotlighting event – CREDIT Elizabeth Parsons

On 12 November, from 10am to 12pm, Ecologist & Zoologist John Harris will be teaching us how to observe, record and identify indigenous animals using methods that don’t require a permit!

Come along to an amazing private property in Newham and learn about tracks & scats & the legality of using call backs & video recorders.

This amazing skillset will be a huge bonus to any Landcare members wanting to record fauna at their revegetation / project sites, or even if you just want to impress your friends and family with your knowledge of the difference between kangaroo & wallaby scat!

Please email me at ucln@uppercampaspelandcare.org.au or phone ​0432 491 789 to reserve your place!

We look forward to seeing you there – Bek 🦋

John Harris (BASc, GDipEd) – Director and Principal Zoologist / Ecologist

Throughout his career, John has worked in both the environmental and education sectors, often combining the two. He has been in the education sector for over 20 years as a primary school teacher and secondary Biology/Science teacher as well as Environment and Sustainability Manager. John has also worked for National Parks and Wildlife in Queensland as a ranger, the Department of Conservation and Environment (now DELWP – Vic) and is currently our Principal ecological consultant

As an environmental consultant, John has worked with a number of larger consultancies as a senior environmental consultant or subcontractor. He has been involved in flora and fauna surveys, habitat hectare assessments, vegetation mapping, environmental audits, flora and fauna salvaging (spotter/catcher) and as sustainability adviser in Victoria and interstate. He has authored many assessment reports, flora and fauna management plans, EPBC Act (Commonwealth) and Environmental Effects Statement (Victoria) referrals.

John has had vast experience with the ResourceSmart Schools program in Victoria. He has presented at conferences and workshops across Australia and published a number of articles on environmental education for teaching and parent journals. He is also a past president of Environmental Education Victoria (formerly the Victorian Association for Environmental Education). Combined with his experience in schools, John has also been actively involved in environmental education in the community as a guest speaker and workshop presenter at various organizations including the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, gardening clubs, Landcare groups, scouts, “friends of” groups and churches. He has also presented workshops for a number of local governments including the City of Whittlesea, Manningham City Council and Frankston City Council.

ABOUT THIS EVENT

This event is funded by the 2021 Community Volunteers Action Grants – Stream 1.

The Community Volunteer Action Grants support communities and community organisations to protect and enhance their natural environment. The grant program is funded by the Victorian Government’s Sustainability Fund which seeks to build community capacity, support community adaptation, and improve ecosystem resilience to climate change.

The Community Volunteer Action Grants program supports the two key goals of Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037, the Victorian Government’s commitment to protecting the future of Victoria’s biodiversity, and Victorians Volunteering for Nature – Environmental Volunteering Plan a coordinated and revitalised approach to environmental volunteering across the State.

This event forms part of the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network’s CVA Grant project – Upper Campaspe Catchment Pollinator Corridors – engaging community, improving biodiversity.

Control serrated tussock before seeding

A large infestation of serrated tussock in a grazing paddock near Bacchus Marsh Victoria (VSTWP).

Now is the ideal time to check your property for the noxious weed serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma). The recent rains and warm start to spring in some parts of Victoria has been good for pastures and crops, but unfortunately, also good for the growth of serrated tussock. Controlling serrated tussock before the plant goes to seed is critical to prevent further spread, lost productivity and increased control requirements.

“Before seeding, serrated tussock has a lime green appearance. When seeding the flowerheads have a distinctive purple colour developing as the seeds ripen in late spring and early summer. These features help serrated tussock stand out from the native tussock grasses,” Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party Chairperson Lance Jennison said.

A serrated tussock plant in seed. Note the small purple seeds (VSTWP).

The VSTWP has developed an online video and information sheet to help landowners identify the unwanted grass, at http://www.serratedtussock.com/how-identify-serrated-tussock

“Serrated tussock has a fine leaf and will roll smoothly between the index finger and thumb, while native tussocks feel as though they have flat edges,” Mr Jennison said. “The leaves also feel rough when you run your fingers downwards due to fine serrations,” he said. “A mature serrated tussock plant can produce thousands of seeds in a season, blowing up to 20 kilometres from the parent plant.”

Before they flower and seed, serrated tussock plants can be controlled with a registered herbicide, manual removal or cultivation . “Having a healthy pasture and competitive ground cover is one of the most important aspects to weed management. Serrated tussock is a prime example of a weed that does not like competition and well established pastures,” Mr Jennison said.

It’s estimated that serrated tussock now covers more than 250,000 hectares of land in Victoria. Treating plants prior to seeding is vital to prevent further spread across Victoria and impacts on our agricultural and environmental assets. It is best to control serrated tussock before it gets out of control. Large infestations require ongoing management and the integration of a number of control techniques, which can cost large sums of money and time.

The VSTWP recently commissioned case studies on the economic costs of not treating serrated tussock, which concluded that if serrated tussock is left to infest a property or landscape, the cost of controlling it will be at least five times higher than if it was prevented in the first instance”. This is a massive cost saving and an important message to deliver to landowners who have untreated plants on their property.

For further information, please visit www.serratedtussock.com, or contact the VSTWP on

info@serratedtussock.com

Pollinators in Focus!

An invitation to participate in a photographic workshop in Glenlyon

Bats, bees, birds, butterflies, insects, moths, and wind each assist plants with the pollination process using unique, highly specialized and diverse methods. To date, no study has been conducted on pollinators in the Upper Campaspe Catchment – and that is where you come in!

We would like to encourage you, the Upper Campaspe Catchment community, to record, photograph and report on the many specialised native plant-pollinator relationships that you observe in your area.

We would love you to join our team of Citizen Scientists creating a data base of indigenous pollinators in the Upper Campaspe catchment!

Blue Banded and Allied Digger Bee in flight towards Nepeta x faassenii – Cat Mint © John Walter

As part of our Pollinator Project, we are inviting you to spend the weekend with the UCLN in Glenlyon on 8 & 9 October from 1pm to 4pm, and learn how to ‘photograph’ native insects from our resident pollinator photographer – UCLN President John Walter.

The Pollinators in Focus workshop will be run in two parts over two days – Saturday 8th will be theory based at the Glenlyon Town Hall, while Sunday 9th will be a practical run in a local private garden!

Please email ucln@uppercampaspelandcare.org or call UCLN Landcare Facilitator, Rebekah on 0432 491 789 to reserve your place!

For more images of your local pollinators or to share images you have taken, please visit our iNaturalistAU Projects:

UCLN Pollinator Hunters

or

UCLN Pollinators of Central Victoria