PRESIDENT’S REPORT

I would like to take the opportunity to thank those who attended the day of the Ptilotus erubescens count on the 12th January doing the hard yard in the actual counting of the flower-heads. Several new points were achieved on the day: 2nd highest number counted = 5696 Flower-heads; first observation of two clumps of semi developed heads; (they are the red ones on the web site). See below for the complete statistics for the day. The ‘Exclude Rabbits only’ count of 847 was below expectations compared with other areas. On reinspection of this area, it would appear by the number of Grey Kangaroo scats (pellets) they grazed the area before the day, so reducing the number of heads.

After forwarding the results of the day, I received this letter from Dr Frank Udovicic, Plant Sciences, National Hebarium of Victoria.

“Dear Stan,
Thanks very much for sending us your latest Ptilotus survey results. You are certainly building up a very comprehensive data set. I showed it to Nevlle Walsh & he was also most interested.
All the best for 2008.
Regards, Frank”.

Since the letter, Nevlle Walsh has suggested that we do an article for the “Victorian Naturalist Magazine” Are there any FOGG members who can help to evaluate all this data and cram it into a small readable /understandable article? It would be so valuable.

I have now obtained the rainfall record from GWM Water for the Wartook Reservoir in the Mt Difficult Basin. These figures have proved very interesting, 1994 to 31 December 2007 = 13 years – the average rainfall for the Wartook Reservior is 795.9mm (31.5″); Wartook Valley = 561.3 mm (22.5″) but in the last 4 months of 2007 Wartook Valley had a slightly better fall than the reservoir.

Wartook Res Wartook Valley
Sept 37.4 mm 60 mm
Oct 53.4 mm 9 mm
Nov 92 mm 89 mm
Dec 23.6 mm 53.5 mm

Total 206.4 mm 211.5 mm

The last 4 months rain fall seems to affect the flower-head production.

Stan Parfett

PRESIDENT’S REPORT Summer 2007

Since taking on this task, I have worked on establishing better communications with Parks Vic, DSE Fire Management Team and DSE Flora & Fauna Section.

After several meetings with various members of these groups it has become obvious that quite a few people have been keeping their finds of rare or interesting plants a secret from others and especially PV – Environment Team, DSE – Flora & Fauna and DSE – Fire Management & Planning.

When finding an unknown plant or animal, record its location. Get it officially identified, ensure that all staff of the relevant sections of PV & DSE are advised of its presence before involving other groups.

Do not rely on the inter department communication systems, because occasionally vital details are omitted. I must quote that in an email invitation recently received some vital information was not included – the Date, Time and Location, while all other relevant information was included. Just a human over-sight, which we all can be guilty of.

On the 13th November some FOGG’s members were involved in a very interesting tour of some of the Northern Grampians previous Fuel Reduction Burns and proposed 2008 burns. It was a very interesting day with plenty of discussion during the time. Our thanks go to Geoff Evans DSE Fire Team and Graham Parks PV. Also to Dot and Errol Hoffmann for the BBQ lunch under the car port out of the sun. Over lunch we made an arrangement for the tour of the Autumn Burns marked in the DSE -fire teams and Graham’s calendars for Saturday 21st June 2008. Full details closer to that time.

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas, and best wishes for 2008. I hope to see many of you at an activity next year.

Stan

Editor’s note: Stan has dug out an old article of his that may be of interest as we are continually coming across unfamiliar plants since the fire.

Out-going Presidents Report.

Proo Pyke September 2007

Members have been involved in a wide variety of activities this year. Starting with the annual Ptilotus count, I think all of us were surprised to find any, given the extraordinarily dry conditions.

This was followed by the enormously successful Beyond Smoke Festival thanks to the very hard work of two of our members, Margo and David.

There have been several very enjoyable threatened species activities despite some inclement weather and rather varied success in finding the sought – for species. So, thanks to Sylvia for organising these.

The “Thin Green Line” film night was successful and raised around $150 to support rangers injured in their line of work across the world.

We have had several information sessions; weed spotting, the fire operations plan 07/08 and research into the fire response of grass trees in the Mount Zero area. We were also invited to make a presentation to the Parliamentary Enquiry into Bush Fires, which Margo and I duly attended with some trepidation. We seemed to be well received and felt the points we made were listened to.

The printing of our new membership brochure was exciting and hope it will attract some new members to the group. Thanks to Frank, we now have a very friendly to use Web Site which we hope members will become familiar with, and that it will become an important means of communicating within the group.

Stan generously agreed to become President of FOGG at our AGM and I wish him as much enjoyment as I had in the position. We all agreed at the meeting that it was important for the health of the group that the positions of responsibility are shared around. So we hope members will consider seriously offering to take on the positions of treasurer, secretary or newsletter editor next year. We try to ensure these jobs are not too onerous and it is a good way to get to know and influence the work of FOGG.

I’m very pleased to report that Graham has been given funding to appoint a team of ten to continue work on restoring tracks in the park and that he is fairly confident that it will be possible to do the restoration work necessary for the Red Gum Walk during the year 2008.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their help and support over the last two years, especially Kathy , Margo, Dot and Stan.

President’s Report June 2007

The April/May rains have been wonderful for the Grampians. It is a delight to walk through the bush particularly the burnt areas and see a host of young plants springing to life. The wildflower display should be wonderful this year.

From the newsletter you will see that we have had a very busy first six months. The Beyond The Smoke Festival was a huge success and great fun for anyone who attended any of the events. Congratulations to Margo, David and Sylvia in particular for seeing this large and very time consuming project through from beginning to end. Anyone who hasn’t yet bought the book should do so, they will be delighted with it.

While it was disappointing to see how burnt the Red Gum walk was, it was wonderful to see that Bill and Hennie’s table had survived unscathed. Those of us present felt inspired to pursue funding to rehabilitate the walk with a particular emphasise on change to the landscape over time, including the affect of fire.

From letters printed in this newsletter you will see that we have had some concerns about the implementation of the Fire Operations Plan this year. We are concerned that considerable political pressure is being exerted to increase control burning in the Park to protect private property interests and that this pressure may well override ecological considerations. I therefore encourage members to attend the discussions on the Fire Operations Plan for 2008 on Aug 3 at 3 pm. It is important
that a more reasoned voice with a genuine interest in the environmental values of the Park can be heard.

On the 31st July we are lucky to have the opportunity to be part of a simultaneous world Premier of ‘The Thin Green Line’. The Halls Gap Film Society has kindly offered their support and equipment to make this happen. Please bring family and friends; it should be a fun night and an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the work of Park Rangers across the world. All money raised will go towards supporting families of rangers killed in the line of duty.

I look forward to seeing members at future activities whether it be as trained weed spotters or just out to learn more about fungi and orchids, enjoy a cup of Ewan’s ham hock soup, sharing lunch and helping to plan for the rehabilitation of the Red Gum walk or helping Sylvia to track down the elusive threatened species in the Park.