This year saw a very busy September to December calendar. We didn’t have a Wildflower Show but we had many Threatened Species Group monitoring activities, plus the re-opening of Zumsteins, plus protesting about lack of action on climate change. In between we have been busy reading various reports and responding to proposals, as you will read elsewhere.

SEPTEMBER 4: TSG monitoring of Caladenia fulva (Tawny Spider Orchid) in Stawell area. A very successful day; we found over 80 of them and they are so beautiful. Also seen: waxlips, pink fingers, blue fingers, blue stars, green hoods, mosquito orchids, plus daisies, flame heath, daphne heath … Photos from most of the TSG monitoring days will be up on the website bit by bit. 04-versi & tentac 15-P1010986sml




SEPTEMBER 22: REOPENING OF ZUMSTEINS PICNIC AREA   Not actually a FOGG activity, but there were quite a few of us there. The restoration of the area is very good, particularly the way the creek access has been improved – children are loving it. The speeches were excellent – not skirting around some of the unhappy history of relationships between locals and Parks management (at local and Melbourne levels) – but looking at the future with confidence. There was an excellent slide show of local use of the site from early years, plus displays of various kinds. Congratulations to all involved.

OCTOBER 11: A Threatened Species Group activity, together with DEPI and Parks and ANOS (Australian Native orchid society) surveying an area along the Henty Highway badly burnt in February, particularly looking at the response by a rare sun orchid. Six were found, but not yet in flower. But it was stunning – so many other orchids and lilies and more. The small grass tree that grows at that end of the Park was just beginning to put up its spikes. I have since seen some great photos from a FOGG member of them in full splendour in November. 

OCTOBER 15: More orchid survey work, this time near Lake Fyans, counting candy spider orchids. It was fascinating watching Noushka at work hand pollinating some, preparatory to collecting seed for her research work on propagating for reintroduction.

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OCTOBER 30,31 Plants of the Wimmera workshop in Horsham. Just Wendy, Gail and I were able to go and learn (or try to) how to identify peas and other troublesome plants.

NOVEMBER 9: TSG survey of a threatened pea (Sphaerolobiumacanthos.(Grampians Globe-pea) at Pomonal. A very small group walked along a fire trail to survey for this rare pea. Why do orchids capture our imagination more than any other plant families? We only found 3, whereas two years ago they found 8 and four years ago 12. We did see two huge and happy black goats, which may be one of the reasons for the decline. They were reported to Parks. In December Noushka and I explored another known site near Calectesia Falls and found several, but didn’t spend a great deal of time on it. 

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NOVEMBER 17 Climate Action Day at Zumsteins. Proo had suggested that FOGGS join in the picnic that the local Wartook group had organised, which we did at fairly short notice, but with a good turn up. We had a convivial picnic with like minded friends and posed for photos for the press releases. 

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From the Editor, January 2014

(which is now also:From the President)

Welcome to the Summer edition of the newsletter. I am not yet including a report on the damage to our Park as the picture is not clear yet. So much infrastructure gone, so much loss of habitat. I  finalised the newsletter to members on the third day of the heatwave, with worrying news coming in as I was photocopying it  of fires in different areas of the park. I was in a hurry to give enough notice of an Australia day weekend activity. Which of course had to be cancelled because of our horrid fire.

As you will see from our activity reports we ended 2013 at a gallop, with so many plant surveys, but also issues we had to respond to.

I came across an article reprinted in FriendsNet from VNPA. (see later) I think it is very important as we consider which issues to worry about. Unless we have public sentiment in favour of parks, we will not see public money being spent on their maintenance or on protecting biodiversity. I am concerned that it seems that the public mood is swinging against anything considered “green”. And that this is a far greater concern than skirmishes over particular issues. I would be interested in your comments.

It is good to be able to report on one small win from the lobbying work that we and other groups have done. Areas burned by wild fires and escapes in areas pre-planned for fuel treatments will now be counted in calculating how much to burn. Environment Minister Ryan Smith approved the policy change despite government officials previously repeatedly saying bushfires were not part of the official count. Let’s hope that this year we don’t lose too much Between the fires of 2006 and 2013 so much of our Park has been burnt.

In other good news we hope we have quolls in the Park. One was captured on film at the Rock Wallaby site. There is some discussion of this in my report on the AG meeting in October. Many congratulations and thanks to the skills of Daryl Panther who sets up the cameras, and to the thoroughness of Ryan Duffy, Ben Holmes and all the local team in recognising they had something very unusual on their screens.