December 2016

Welcome to our summer newsletter.  Please note that our first activity for the year is on Sunday 5th February 4.30 pm in the Mural room Brambuk, where we will again start the year by hearing from a student doing research in the park, followed by the opportunity to have a meal together. ( You will remember that FOGGs donated some money to the Museum some time ago to help with student research projects). This year we have a presentation from Samantha Barron who has just started her PhD after completing her honours on Sallow Wattle. The sallow wattle explosion is a real threat to the Park and so research on it is very important.

Then in March we are having our annual cleanup activity followed by a BBQ lunch. Last year we worked on the Balconies track, the year before on the Ian McCann reserve near Stawell.  More … Read the rest

December 2016

Hello foggies, welcome to my annual presidents report . Those who attended the AGM have heard it all before, but for those who haven’t, I waffled something like this….

This year we have held a number of activities in conjunction with other groups in the park, and supported some activities that have been run by Parks Vic by providing people to man tables and work stations. Our own Cleanup day initiative was taken on by others this year with great success. 4 wheel drivers, climbing groups, walkers and park staff all joined in to clean up at some of the iconic sites within the park. Its amazing to hear the support we get from the public too, with much praise offered at all sites. This event will continue to grow! I have already ranted about the stone cairns previously so I will stay calm, but it disappoints me … Read the rest

Mark Whyte, Team Leader Assets and Services Grampians Gariwerd  

In May 2016 I was lucky enough to represent Parks Victoria at the 8th World Ranger Congress in Colorado. This tour included a shadow assignment in Yellowstone National Park and recreational visits to Zion and Grand Canyon.

I spent 4 days on a Shadow Assignment in Yellowstone NP and was blown away by the sheer scale of the operation, Yellowstone NP has nearly the equivalent number of employees during the summer months as the whole of Parks Victoria.

The World Ranger Congress was an amazing week, set in Rocky Mountain NP and featuring delegates from 68 countries. On the first morning I had breakfast with Rangers from Finland, Belize, India and a Masai Warrior from Kenya, quite a cultural experience.

It was humbling to hear stories from African, Asian and South American Rangers about the work they do counteracting poaching. … Read the rest

We don’t have an update from PV for this issue, but it was good to see the project co-ordinator Anne Wilson on WIN TV explaining that experienced hikers from various bushwalking groups are being asked for input to guide in fine tuning the route. So we fervently hope that some items in the similar ambitious proposal at Mt Hotham don’t get reconsidered here in our Park. The VNPA magazine reports that Parks Victoria, in liaison with Regional Development Victoria, is planning a multi-million dollar revamp of the walking tracks between the Falls Creek and Mount Hotham alpine resorts, with the aim of discouraging use by the current self-sufficient bushwalkers, who they say are low spenders. They are aiming at the ‘high-yield’ luxury market, with the provision of privately built and serviced lodges along the track.

The full ‘Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing’ is a five day walk, with four overnight … Read the rest

October 2016

As Rod says in his president’s report it was a  wild wet day but a worthwhile exercise to raise our profile a little and to enjoy seeing how a wet winter had transformed the nearby woodlands. The photos give you a feel of it I hope. I believe there are plans to publish a book on the day, and I will let you know if that happens.

MargoRead the rest

19 November 2016

We had a good attendance at our AGM. Reports were presented by the president (see separate article) and the treasurer again thanking Ron Goudy for auditing our books and our bank balance at the end of June 2016 being $8,615.89.

Election of office bearers see this year’s committee as:

  • President: Rodney Thompson
  • Vice President: Leigh Gunn
  • Secretary: Wendy Bedggood
  • Treasurer: Mabel Brouwer
  • Committee Members: Margo Sietsma, Ben Gunn, Janbert Brower and Judith Thompson
  • Newsletter Editor: Margo Sietsma
  • Webmaster: Frank van der Peet

We continued with a general meeting and ideas for next years activities were; an Insect day, (as this year’s was unable to go ahead), a reptile day, Clam Shrimps with Brian Tims, a bat event possibly jointly with a landcare group, and  several people expressed an interest in Grasses and having a day on them. Good walks are always popular though no specific suggestions were … Read the rest

Stawell Field Naturalists Films

11 December 2016

As we reported in June and September we have been using three RMIT students to document the work of the Stawell Field Naturalists and, in particular, the legacy of Ian McCann. The students worked on the documents preserved by the Stawell Historical Society and filmed interviews with long time members and people who had worked with them. So in December we invited them to present their work.

After a chapter of accidents, amusing in hindsight but tense at the time, the quite large audience managed to look at two films: one on the Field Naturalists generally, and one on Ian McCann. The students had struggled somewhat with such a wet year and some recording issues, but the films were well received, particularly the Ian McCann one. There is still more footage which we hope can be edited into another film or two. Plus there are some very … Read the rest

 

Advisory Group – Oct 2016 and Nov 2016

The AG has met twice since our last newsletter.

20 October

Well, not really an AG meeting, but we were part of the annual fire conference. The main theme of the presentations was the ten years since the Mt Lubra fire: what had been learnt, what was different now, new challenges. Then we went out to look at some of the challenges surrounding the current fire plan. Some of the same material was presented at the Roundtable meeting that Wendy reports on in this newsletter, so I’ll try to be brief.

Police Superintendent Paul Margetts, who was stationed in Halls Gap in 2006 but has since been promoted to a senior position in Horsham, gave us a most appropriate quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also unique for their apparent Read the rest

 

Round Table Report – Nov 2016

The last Roundtable meeting for the year was held on 30th November and its focus was the upcoming planned burns.

There are several strategic burns planned to manage fuel loads and reduce bushfire risk for the Halls Gap community. In order to carry out these burns there will be a significant impact on the tourist industry and residents of Halls Gap.

There are a number of fires planned to be carried out over a couple of years and done in a way to give a patchwork effect on the bush and at the same time reduce the overall fuel loads. There was a lot of discussion on the lack of real time information on planned burns and how the lack of warning can impact on tourist operators. There needs to be a better way of getting information out to those in the tourist industry as well as the public. … Read the rest

 

Kookaburra Awards

FOGGs were represented at the bi-ennial awards presented by Parks Victoria for the western half  of the state.

It was good to see recognition for outstanding work by several more or less local folk.

  • The late Bernie Fox received a lifetime achievement award for a huge amount of work, including Mallee Fowl protection activities in the Little Desert area;
  • Dr  David Stratton for the Trailrider and Sherpa programme to help disabled people get out into the parks; and,
  • Advisory Group member Tracey Skinner for her years of work at Arapiles.

Read the rest