Update On The Orchid Conservation Program

Our contractors have erected a locked fence to keep grazing animals away from the highly endangered orchid  Caladenia audasii —(or McIvor Spider-orchid, Audas Spider-orchid) in the Stawell Ironbarks Forest, and there is a remote camera to deter any human predators. The team will keep a close eye on it and when (if?) it flowers it will be crosspollinated from the other surviving colony near Bendigo and eventually more plants can be grown at Cranbourne then released back into the wild.… Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Winter Newsletter, Activity Report, Natural Values

Walks For The Less Abled

A new booklet is under way with support from PV, FOGGS and the Wimmera Sports Assembly. Long term members may remember that we were deeply involved in the first book back in 1999.… Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Winter Newsletter, Activity Report

Stawell Field Naturalists History

We were recently approached as to whether we were interested in supporting a project whereby RMIT students in the final year of their Bachelor of Environment Programs  would conduct interviews and document the  history of this group. We were delighted to co-operate as it was largely through the efforts of the Field Nats that our Park was established, and the knowledge collected by the group over the years has been enormous. Ian McCann  and Thelma Argall were founding members. The project has been listed for the students to choose from, and at least one is interested and will be interviewed next week.… Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Winter Newsletter, Activity Report

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

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

Fire Recovery And Related Issues

Management of grazing animals in the burnt areas is a problem (goats and deer). They are using Judas goats, but would prefer to be able to shoot from helicopters. Deer management remains a real difficulty because of their protected status still.

Several research agreements are in place to study fire and fauna relationships, and sallow wattle is part of this.

Both the Stapylton campground repair and the work at Zumsteins are expected to be complete by the end of June. McKenzie falls is on track but won’t be complete until next year. The picnic area and bridge at Golton Gorge may not be repaired, as the Peaks trail in that area is likely to open up other beauty spots. They plan to close the existing Troopers creek campground and move it to dead Bullock Creek, but the Management plan would need adjustment.

New cultural heritage sites found after the fires … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report

Honour For Ranger Pru Daley

In the Australia Day honours list, Pru Daley was awarded the Australian Fires Services  medal, and received it in person at Government House in Melbourne this week.

Quoting from the nomination: “Ms Daley has devoted 22 years of service with Parks Victoria, and its former agencies, working as a Park Information Officer, Ranger, Team Leader and Program Coordinator Tourism. She has participated in numerous incident management teams for major bushfires and demonstrated exceptional liaison and communications skills in dealing with the community, both during the bushfire and recovery stages…….Additionally she has contributed to training course content and supported delivery of training. She is known for building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with local media organisations which have resulted in more accurate and timely information on incidents being transmitted. Ms Daley has also been involved in the development and delivery of the Halls Gap Community Safety Project which has championed the importance … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report