News from Connecting Country

Is landscape restoration working?
We are super lucky to have secured local Newstead resident and blog royalty, the wonderful Geoff Park, as a guest blog author this week, exploring the question of ‘Is landscape restoration working?’ This topic is close to our hearts, given Connecting Country’s decade of landscape restoration work and ecological monitoring. READ MORE

Team Awesome: our volunteers add 17,000 records to Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
Databases are only as good as the data that is entered (or not entered) into them, with many important decisions relying on databases being up to date and conclusive. Connecting Country and our monitoring partners have collected tens of thousands of wildlife records over the past decade. READ MORE

The value of small patches of remnant vegetation: 14 May 2020 webinar
One of the biggest challenges for restoration projects across the region is habitat fragmentation and how to manage isolated patches of remnant vegetation. Connecting Country has been working for over a decade to restore our fragmented landscape through strategic planning, and working with local landowners to help protect and restore wildlife habitat and connect areas. READ MORE

Calendar competition highlights: Week 3
A couple of weeks ago we announced our inaugural Connecting Country calendar competition and entries have been flowing in steadily.  Our theme is woodland birds and this photo competition is open to all Connecting Country members and people of the Mount Alexander region. The aim of the competition is to highlight our special woodland birds. READ MORE

Please visit our website for all our news, events and further information.

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Connecting Country
PO Box 437
Castlemaine, Vic 3450
Ph: 03 5472 1594

Biodiversity Grants Program – Hepburn Shire Council

The Hepburn Shire Community Biodiversity Grants Program is now open for applications.

Community groups, including environmental groups, schools and other incorporated or auspiced groups, are encouraged to apply. 

Projects for amounts up to $5,000 will be considered.

Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate how their project link to the objectives in the Hepburn Shire’s Biodiversity Strategy.  Projects need to demonstrate sound ecological basis and value for money.  

Eligible projects might include:

  • on-ground works such as planting weed control, pest animal control on public land or private land in Hepburn          
  • publications, electronic media or events aimed at raising awareness of biodiversity issues and promoting action
  • activities such as training and networking activities that increase capacity and sustainability of volunteer groups

Applications close 1st June 2020.  Recommendations to Council will be made at the June Ordinary Council Meeting in June.

For more information, please contact Brian Bainbridge, Hepburn Shire Council’s Biodiversity Officer via email at or via phone on 03 5321 6488.

Prospective applicants must contact the Biodiversity Officer prior to submitting an application.

In addition to email and phone, the Biodiversity Officer is available for (socially distanced) site meetings or Zoom to discuss your project applications Monday to Thursday.  

The application form, including Guidelines is available here;

The projects funded under the first round of these grants last year are described below:

Blampied-Kooroocheang Landcare Group Inc. was awarded $4860 for the project New Community Spray Cart 2019.’ The grant will co-fund purchase of a spray cart to be used in environmental weed control by Landcare members on private property and roadsides. 

Friends of Cornish Hill Inc. was awarded $3689 for the project ‘Understanding the natural world’. The grant will co-fund a program of on-ground planting and educational programs with community and schools.

Friends of Creswick’s Park Lake Botanical Reserve was awarded $900 for the project  ‘Completion of planting of Victorian Section, Tolhurst Plan’.  The grant will  purchase local Blackwood trees to for landscaping of the Creswick Park Lake Botanical reserve.

Glenlyon Upper Loddon Landcare group was awarded $4860 for the project Enhancing the Glenlyon Biolink’. The grant will co-fund on-ground planting and weed control works and a consultant’s restoration plan for the Glenlyon biolink on the Loddon River.

Wattle Flat-Pootilla Landcare Group was awarded $4831 for the project  ‘Slaty Creek Wildlife Corridor’. The grant will co-fund preparation and planting of a wildlife corridor in Slaty Creek.

Wombat Forestcare Inc. was awarded $4860 for the project  ‘Grow Wild: Gardening to sustain Wildlife in the Hepburn Shire’.  The grant will co-fund publication of a guide to using local plants in garden or property to attract wildlife.

Webinars and Online Events

Webinar. Shows thought bubbles with tech icons.

While you may not be able to get out and about in the environment at the moment – there is still plenty to participate in. This post contains upcoming or recorded webinars and online events for Landcare and environmental volunteer groups/networks and staff.

Managing your pastures in a changing climate
This recorded Webinar presented by Macedon Ranges Shire by Colin Seis (world renowned farmer) discusses how to establish and maintain flourishing pastures while improving soil health in an ever-changing climate. LISTEN or WATCH

Autumn feed budgeting
This live Webinar organised by Agriculture Victoria and presented by Dr. Catherine Bunter (District Veterinary Officer, Agriculture Victoria) will run on Wednesday 6 May from 7:30pm to 08:30pm. REGISTER HERE

Koala Tree Planting
This Online Workshop organised by the Koala Clancy Foundation VIC and Bangalow Koalas NSW is for groups interested in setting up their own koala tree planting project or including koalas in existing projects. The Workshop will be held on Thursday 7 May from 3pm to 5pm. Places are limited to 20 people per workshop. Please email to register.

Stories from the forefront of Conservation
Join this ZOOM Webinar organised by Trust for Nature on Thursday 7 May from 12pm to 1.30pm. Presenters include Dave Wandin (Fire Elder), Noushka Reiter (Orchid Scientist, Royal Botanic Gardens), Dan Harley (Threatened Species Biologist, Zoos Victoria) and Ben Cullen (Trust for Nature). ZOOM LINK and INFORMATION

Home garden soil health

This live Webinar is aimed at the home gardener and organised by Macedon Ranges Shire Council. Presented by Declan McDonald (soil scientist), the webinar will run on Friday 8 May from 2:30pm to 3:30pm. Please email Vanessa at to register. Please include any questions that you would like to ask Declan and remember that registrations close at midnight on Thursday 7 May. INFORMATION

Soil health for the paddock
This live Webinar is aimed at small to large scale property holders and organised by Macedon Ranges Shire Council. Presented by Declan McDonald (soil scientist) the Webinar will run on Friday 8 May from 4pm to 5pm. Please email Vanessa at to register. Please include any questions that you would like to ask Declan and remember that registrations close at midnight on Thursday 7 May. INFORMATION

Financial literacy for farm business decision making
This live Webinar has been organised by Agriculture Victoria and will run on Tuesday 12 May from 2pm to 4pm and on Wednesday 13 May from 7pm to 9pm. REGISTER HERE or contact Meridian Agriculture on 5341 6100 or email For further information please contact Paul Blackshaw 0427 546 643 or

Grasses & Pastures
Join this ZOOM Webinar presented by Graeme Hand on Thursday 21 May from 1pm. REGISTER HERE