Welcome to our summer newsletter.
Please note that our first activity for the year is on February 24th at 4pm in the Mural Room in the Parks Office at Brambuk. Hear about the research done by two of our members Ben Gunn and Bill Gardner.
Then on Saturday March 3 we are having our annual cleanup activity followed by a BBQ lunch. Because a replacement for Caity has not yet been appointed we have been asked to take on more responsibility. If you are able to help please contact us asap so we can work out sites and activities. See below.
April 13 Friday at 5pm Mike Stevens will catch us up to date on what is happening re environmental issues in our park. Some of us will then be heading to Cavendish’s Red Gum Festival the next morning to put up a display on the history of our Red Gum Walk in Victoria Valley.
You will notice a couple of references to the rapidly increasing number of tourists coming to the area to the joy of the tourism folk and the local councils. Dave has commented on the increase in rubbish, but there has also been an increase in rescues of lost and injured hikers. And then the drowning at McKenzie Falls. We are not alone of course, the Twelve Apostles area has the same situation and I have been reading articles on how overcrowded USA parks are and the problems this causes. Incredible photos of human traffic jams at Zion canyon, which I remember visiting peacefully not that many years ago. We as individuals and as a group are not anti-tourism. We boast about the place to our friends and we want to see it loved and appreciated. But how do we prevent people loving a place to death? How do our hard working park staff keep stupid people safe? They either don’t read signs, or ignore them anyway. And expect mobile phone coverage everywhere. Only a minority of visitors of course, but they do waste so much time and some cause so much damage to fragile environments.
Enough of my soapbox. I have run out of space!
Please note that if you have not renewed your membership your period of grace has expired and this will be your last newsletter.
There are always new challenges and new opportunities and your membership is important in our advocacy role, even if you find it difficult to come to our activities.
A sad piece of news is that we have probably lost all the work that the three RMIT students did on researching the heritage of the Stawell Field Naturalists. The computer and backups were stolen from Sophie’s car, along with her cameras and other valuables. The computer was found but badly damaged. We still are holding out faint hopes that experts may be able to retrieve something, but nothing so far. All that work, not just the student work, but that of the field naturalists and others who gave up their time to talk to them.
And a bit of good news. Congratulations to our member Ben Gunn who can now add the letters Ph.D after his name. The title of his thesis is “Art of the Ancestors” We look forward to hearing more about it from him soon. We have learnt so much from Ben about the Grampians art sites, but much of his work has also been in the north of the country.
This newsletter is becoming so full that I am going to have to omit some interesting pieces I had intended to include. I made a submission to the Inquiry into the control of invasive animals on Crown land and have received the Summary Booklet. It will come up for discussion at the end of the year so I’ll report further then.
Three of us attended a training session by Parks on their new Volunteer site “Park Connect” and it looks as if it could be useful to us. More next time but take a look at it. But it won’t replace having a real live person on the ground. Check it out www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au
Our most recent activity was our AGM and Wendy’s AGM report will come later. The good news is we have some new faces on our committee which is really good. The sad bit is farewelling two hard working members, our treasurer Mabel and our secretary Wendy are both heading for a rest. Hard acts to follow.
I have been doing this role for quite a few years now, and have accepted to continue. I do enjoy it, but would love someone to volunteer to assist and maybe take over slowly. You don’t have to live anywhere close by. I recently discovered that the media person for Wimmera CMA lives in southern NSW. If she can do it, so can one of you city members!
Welcome to the winter newsletter, whether you are receiving it in the post or by email. Remember that you can also access previous newsletters via our website http://friendsofgrampiansgariwerd.org.au
It has ended up quite a long missive this time, and still more and more interesting and important mail keeps arriving as I try to get this out. One of my long term interests has been how to better manage and control the feral animals which cause such huge damage to our flora and fauna. You may have seen that the Threatened Species Commissioner (federal) is campaigning against feral cats, and yesterday I received the report from the Victorian Parliamentary committee’s report on feral animals with more of an emphasis on deer and goats. So I am really pleased that our July meeting will hear from an expert on deer, and I hope that in our next issue we’ll have a report on this and the cat issue for those of you unable to attend.
Please note that it’s time to renew your membership, via the form included.
Please check if we have your correct email address so we can contact you with late news.
Welcome to our second newsletter for 2017. It seems no time at all since the last one, yet I’ve had no difficulty filling it. In fact I am postponing till next time an update on the Peaks Trail and on the films on the Stawell Field Naturalists produced by the RMIT student team.
There are only a couple of photos in the newsletter as we don’t want to make the file too big. But there could be more on our website when the news goes up there for all to see in a couple of weeks. And remember, you can access articles from previous newsletters there as well. Thank you Frank van der Peet for this service. And there’s our Facebook page as well.
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 details of the specific area we will be cleaning up and meeting spot will be sent to people closer to the date.
Last year was the wettest in the Grampians since 1964 and the Park has benefited greatly, except that the weeds have enjoyed it too. There are magnificent displays of flowers in all the higher areas this month still, do try to get out to look at them.
Our next activity is coming up very soon, Sunday October 16 – a wildflower walk near Lake Fyans to which we are inviting people who have come to the lake to celebrate its 100th birthday. Our AGM was to have been October 15 but due to a host of problems with getting this newsletter ready we have postponed it to November. Details for October 16 and November 19 are on the calendar page, but I do want to emphasise the importance of our AGM where we will be electing officebearers, hoping to continue with mixing newcomers and longer term members. It is vital that we ensure that we remain relevant to both our longterm members and newcomers.
Please note that if you have not renewed your membership your period of grace has expired and this will be your last newsletter. Our Park needs Friends in so many areas. We always have advocated on behalf of the Park, we have given feedback to management, we have sought to educate the public. But there are always new challenges and new opportunities and your membership is important in our advocacy role, even if you find it difficult to come to our activities.
Welcome to the winter newsletter, whether you are receiving it in the post or by email. Remember that you can also access previous newsletters via our website http://friendsofgrampiansgariwerd.org.au [but you already know that because you are reading this!]
Please note that it’s time to renew your membership, via the form included. Also note the increase in fees to cover our extra insurance and postage costs.
Please check if we have your correct email address so we can contact you with late news.
This issue is missing a report from our Ranger in Charge, Dave Roberts, who is just so busy at the moment. But we do have a report from our meeting with him in July and also a comprehensive update from Tammy Schoo.
There is also no Advisory Group Report as we have not held a meeting since the last newsletter. The next meeting is in August with a theme of Fire Ecology, Fire Risk Landscapes and Fire Management Strategies for the Grampians NP. Nor is there a Round Table report as neither Wendy or I could attend the last meeting, and we haven’t seen the minutes yet.
Our AGM will be in October and will creep up on us quickly. All office positions will be open for election. It is also good to have fresh folk on the committee which we have been achieving in the last couple of years. Do let us know if you are interested in any position. You don’t even need to live locally as much can be done by email these days.
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 the tourism sector cares for the precious values of the Park? Yes, we want people to love the Park and enjoy their time in the area, but how do we stop the Park being loved to death? Here in Halls Gap where I live we thought we had had a small win over the helicopter rides over the Park when the owners were forced to move their base to Stawell rather than Pomonal, and promised not to fly over our townships and our valley. But last week they actually landed in Halls Gap, before heading up the valley and over Lake Bellfield, and their flight path was right over the territory of a pair of wedge-tail eagles, as well as other raptors, which are very sensitive to intruders on their patch. A heated discussion then arose on social media, some strongly objecting to the helicopters, but others just as loud saying that the whole tourist industry would shut down if people weren’t allowed to do this sort of thing. Now I believe that shouting achieves very little, that some tourism actually benefits the Park, some is benign. But some tourism threatens everything the Park stands for. The tourists we want to attract are those who come here to enjoy the beauty and richness of our environment, but how do we educate those business owners (not all, thankfully) who can only see the immediate cash benefits to themselves? I don’t see how we as an organisation can do this, but those of us who live in the area must try to have our say when we have the opportunity. Tourism, particularly overseas tourism, is expected to continue to increase, so this is so important, not just in Halls Gap but also Dunkeld and the Wartook valley.
Remember that Joni Mitchell song?
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
Welcome to our summer newsletter, again a little late. First the Christmas rush, then the January hibernation. Please note that our first activity for the year is on Friday 19th February 5.30 pm in the Mural room Brambuk, where we will hear some really interesting results from research in the park, followed by the opportunity to have a meal together.
The report on our AGM is well buried in this newsletter, so I will break the news here: we have a new president! Welcome to Rodney, who has been on our committee for the past year. FOGGS, like quite a few similar groups, needs to look at its role into the future and it is good to have the next generation leading us.
Welcome to our Petyan edition of our newsletter. My apologies for a late and rather brief newsletter. Time has run away from me yet again and you need to get it in time. Between going to England for my son’s wedding , having the newlyweds here on a visit and preparing for the Wildflower Walkabout in Halls gap this weekend this newsletter has had little priority. Better luck next time.
We have had three group activities since the last newsletter, and the committee made a submission to Ararat Council on an application for a commercial helipad in Pomonal.
Our next activity is coming up very soon, October 17 is our AGM. Details are on the calendar page, but I do want to reiterate the importance of electing officebearers, mixing newcomers with the longer term members. FOGG has been in existence for 30 years by now and some of our committee members have been with us for much of that time. It has been good to have new members, but we could do with more. It is vital that we ensure that we remain relevant to both our longterm members and newcomers.
Please note that if you have not renewed your membership your period of grace has expired and this will be your last newsletter. Our Park needs Friends in so many areas. We always have advocated on behalf of the Park, we have given feedback to management, we have sought to educate the public. But there are always new challenges and new opportunities and your membership is important in our advocacy role.