From The Editor

Welcome to our Autumn issue. As you will read, we have made a good start to the year, and have some good things planned to follow. But FOGG  is not just about activities. We also need to be active in protecting and looking after our park. That’s why we are enclosing the petition from the Victorian National Parks Association calling for far better funding for our National Parks.  Some of you may have seen the front page article of the Age back in January, pointing out just how small the budget of Parks Victoria is. So do please sign, either online or by putting it in the mail.

In his piece president Rod discusses the problem of the cairns that continue to be rebuilt, and what can be done about them. There are similar issues in each of the towns surrounding the GNP. How are we going to ensure that … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, From the Editor

What The Prez Sez

Hello FOGGies, another quarter has flown by. We have had a mixture of science and volunteer work. Passive and active. Our promotion of activities is bringing guests and new members to each activity, and credit for this must go to Janbert Brewer for his efforts. We know how great our group and its activities are, now others are hearing it too. We have even made it onto  ABC Mornings! Our dedicated little group is really kicking goals at the moment.

Our first activity this quarter was Susannah Hale’s PhD research presentation “Longterm Responses to Fire and Climatic Variability in the Grampians National Park”. It is great to see the enthusiasm of someone working on a longterm project within the park. Susannah has been involved in the smoky mouse study from early on as an honours student, and has a real love for these cute little marsupials.

Cleanup Australia Day has … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, President Report

From Our Very Busy Ranger In Chief

David Roberts, Area Chief Ranger, Grampians Gariwerd

Over the past 6-8 weeks, there have been many activities undertaken that have been very important to the Grampians National Park now and into the future.

Cleanup Australia Day Week – Grampians Style

A full week of activities was planned and undertaken by over 200+ volunteers, community members and Parks Victoria staff across the Grampians National Park and surrounding Reserves. The intent of the activities was to focus on the high visitor use areas and really promote the right behaviours expected when visitors visit our natural areas. There is a need to reinvigorate the message “leave no Trace” and we’d welcome any opportunity for FoGGS, and other volunteer forums to spread the message through all available forums.

Sallow Wattle “Mechanical Control”

The next phase of our Sallow Wattle control has been underway with the use of a mulching machine grooming semi mature wattle … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, From Parks Victoria

Committee Meeting February 2016

Membership fees At the AGM it was tabled that we discuss an increase in subscription fees at a committee meeting in time for the new membership year on 1 July 2016. The membership has been $10 since 2006 with various costs increasing markedly since then it was agreed we needed to increase membership fees. We also discussed whether to offer associate membership for those who just want to get the newsletter and don’t necessarily wish to be active members. However, we decided to just have 2 levels of ordinary membership being $20 for a single and $25 for a family (those living under the same roof). This level of membership will allow us to pay increasing insurance, postal and other running costs.

Activities for rest of year

A  proposed activity calendar was drawn up in order to be well organised and able to advertise our activities more widely in the … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Meeting Report

Student Presentation at February Meeting

Susannah Hale, a PhD student from Deakin University, spoke to us about the findings of a study on ‘The Effect of Fire and Climate on Small Mammals’. The study started after the 2006 Bushfires and has been running nine years. There were 36 study sites established and each are of 150 square metres. When surveying the sites, baited Elliot traps are used and are checked twice daily, captured animals being tagged, weighed and measured before release. Populations go through a boom and bust phase which are affected by the previous 18 months rainfall and the ‘time since fire’. In the years straight after fire, exotic species predominate. In the first year of the study, 85% of captures were exotics. The house mouse occupies areas quickly after fires and then declines. Four years after fire, 91% of captures were native species.

Small mammals respond strongly to ‘time since fire’; native species … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Meeting Report

Cleanup Australia Day

2016-02-5 _116On Saturday March 5th FOGGs held their contribution to Cleanup Australia Day.

Our event was a combined activity involving Park Staff, Wimmera 4wd club, Horsham bush walkers, Conservation Volunteers and some expert rock climbers. The aim was to collect rubbish and clean up the beauty spots within the park. As the day was a FOGG innovation we were given our choice of location.

12 FOGGs and Matthew (a volunteer from Macau), met at the Reids lookout car park at 9 am. We were met there by Ranger Matt White from Parks Vic, and his partner Stephanie.

Although the view was partially hidden by fog, the day was forecast to be warm, and the sun was already showing its strength. A rollout awning, washing water and chilled drinking water were set up for our amenities. Kitted up with high vis vests, gloves, bags and pickup sticks we were ready to be … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report

Cultural Arts Site Excursion

I don’t get to enough FOGGs activities because I live in Melbourne and get caught up in activities there. However, as a passionate student of the Aboriginal story of Gariwerd, I made sure I could be at the cultural sites excursion run by Ben Gunn on April 9th. We 2016-04-08 FOGG_29met up at Buandik and I noticed a few keen non FOGGs members also turned up, having found out by various means (thanks to the wonders of the internet) that this rare opportunity was being offered.

Twenty of us set off up the Goat Track – some by foot and some by car to the location Ben had chosen for our adventure. As we tramped through the bush to visit three sites in all, Ben generously filled us in on many aspects of the archaeology of Gariwerd art sites and discoveries. We learned about the changing nature of interpretations … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Natural Values

Brushtail Rock-Wallaby Site

Although there have been issues with remote cameras in the last month, the two young at foot were alive and healthy when last detected in early March (as in photo).

The quoll has not been seen since last July, so it has either moved away or died.… Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Natural Values

Platypus Survey

The Wimmera CMA conducted a platypus survey  of the McKenzie River near Zumsteins in early April. It showed that despite the ongoing extremely dry conditions the fragile population is holding its own. They captured a new juvenile about 4 months old, the fourth year in a row that this has happened. They also recaptured  a 16 month old female. The Wimmera CMA chief executive said that environmental water releases through ongoing dry conditions  had a focus on maintaining suitable conditions for as long as possible so platypus, fish, bug and plant communities could stay in good shape.

Members of the public (including us FOGGIES) are urged to register any sighting on the platypusSPOT.org website.  Enjoy the very informative site anyway!Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Natural Values

Advisory Group Report

As usual, the March meeting of the AG had a very full agenda, which we struggled to complete. The main discussion was an update on the Grampians Peak trail.  Dave has mentioned in his piece just what a huge task this is, and now here is the somewhat more detailed presentation the AG were given. The money for the trail ( $30.2 million)  has to be spent by September 2019 so there is a real urgency now. The finished track will be 144km long (61km existing track, 83km new), with 10 hiker camps, 1 new school camp, several trail heads and carparks, with waymarking, interpretative signage, link and maintenance tracks. In addition an online booking system and phone apps need to be developed. A massive task. At this stage no funding has been set aside for maintenance equipment and facilities (such as quad bikes to service the camp sites) and … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Meeting Report