FROM THE EDITOR DECEMBER 2011 – Margo S

Welcome to the summer edition of the FOGG newsletter. I’m writing this on Thursday 22 December after another dramatic summer downpour at the weekend, which I’m sure you will have heard about. Much less damage than the January one. Mt Victory Rd is open again today, one lane only at the Halls Gap end, with traffic lights. There’s some damage round the Plantation area on Mt Zero Rd, but the walking tracks repairs have stood up well. The Parks office was flooded, but nuisance level only. All the water storages and lakes have responded quickly: Bellfield is 91% full, Fyans and Lonsdale both 83%, Wartook 88% and Wartook 76%. The total GWM system has twice the water as at this time last year.
With the roads open at last it is great to be able to get out and explore the Park again. The flowers this year have been so good. And still are. I took the newly open and extended walk to Turret Falls last week and counted eight different daisy species. There’s now a little lookout back to the falls.

On a sad note, we note the passing of Jane Williams, one of our founding members. Jane had done so much for the Grampians over the years. Through their Pomonal Wildflower Nursery, she and Phil propagated thousands of plants for revegetation and beautification of camp and picnic sites in the park, as well as for so many Landcare projects. So much expertise and enthusiasm lost. Our deepest sympathy to Phil and the family.

SOME USEFUL LINKS
For information on what is open and closed in Grampians National Park please visit the Parks Victoria website www.parks.vic.gov.au Grampians Tourism are also continually updating the map of which roads are open. www.grampianstourism.com.au

FROM THE EDITOR SPRING 2011 – Margo

The Big Wet Continues:
The season of Larneuk – nesting birds has just finished. Its description starts with Bleak mists, freezing winds and rain. Well, for the second year in a row this was true until the last two weeks when it has been just so beautiful – sunny and warm at last. And masses of wonderful rain, continuing to fall. Read the article by Leigh on what the water has meant for her. One not so good result has been that the strong winds are still bringing down so many trees, stressed from the drought and now in waterlogged soft soil.
As at 25 August, Bellfield Reservoir is at 90% full, Lake Lonsdale is 100%, Wartook is 94%, Moora Moora is 90%. Even Rocklands is 66% up from 3% last year. Overall in the Grampians Wimmera Mallee water storages are now at 70% compared to 18.5% last year, 18.7 the year before that and 5.7 in 2009. Wonderful! There’s a useful chart at www.gwmwater.org.au .

Once again, Spring presents as an extremely busy time with all the Threatened Species activities which are our major way of volunteering in the Park. The contribution of lay enthusiasts to the body of knowledge about plants and animals is invaluable. Plus it is so enjoyable to get out into different areas of the Park and learn from each other.
Then there’s the Grampians Wildflower Show at the end of September. This is not actually a FOGG activity, but it would not survive without FOGG involvement. The HG community is very grateful for your support. We really would love some more volunteers in all areas, setting up on Tuesday and Wednesday, flower guides inside and out, on the door, helping with children’s activities, helping with the shop, and serving teas. Contact Mandy on 5356 4646 or email For more info see:
www.grampianswildflowershow.org.au .

FROM THE EDITOR JUNE 2011

Welcome to the winter edition of our newsletter.
You will not be surprised that much of our energy, and that of the Park staff, is still solidly on flood recovery, and that is going to continue for some months – actually years. In addition, the interesting work of monitoring the effects of drought and fire followed by flood and landslide will continue on for some years too.
The two major through roads are still blocked, although it is hoped that shortly the road from Halls Gap to Dunkeld will open as far as the Mirranatwa Gap road, giving access through Victoria Valley to the south. The road from Wartook is open as far as the Boroka Lookout turn off, but the slip above Venus Baths cuts the Wonderland area off from Halls Gap. VICROADS are working as hard as they can and we just have to learn to be patient. The same is true of the park staff working on tracks. I know some groups are very keen to step in and help, but the assessment process is complex. By our next newsletter we should be clearer on what FOGGS are able to do.
In the meantime, it is so beautiful to see everything so lush and green. On the long weekend I drove up to Boroka Lookout via Mckenzie Falls and Reid Lookout on the just re-opened road. I was intrigued to see that with the continued damp and the lack of traffic that parts of the road were distinctly green with moss. Those of you who live further afield, do come up; marvel at the power of the water, and enjoy the new life. Spring should be dramatic.

BEYOND THE SMOKE BOOKS

It is now five years after the fires, and four years after the publication of the book produced by a committee led by FOGGS. The book was financed by grants from Parks Vic, Norman Wettenhall Foundation, and SHARE (Uniting Church Relief Fund). Profits have been used for relief work via SHARE and Grampians Community Health and FOGGS. We have also sent free books to other fire affected communities across Australia. The committee feels that the book has accomplished its purposes and that we should no longer handle sales of it. Requests have dwindled to only a dribble. In view of the way the recent flood has affected local businesses we felt that we could donate copies to them, for them to use as they thought best. Many are becoming coffee table books in local motels, others are being sold and profits going to SES, others will continue to be sold to interested tourists and the profits staying in the community.

FROM THE EDITOR, APRIL 2011

Thanks once again to our USA based artist Cynthia for the honeybee. It’s a blue-banded bee. Cynthia writes: When looking up what the local bee species are I was utterly charmed to discover blue-banded bees and their habit of sleeping in groups, clinging with their mouths to little plant stems; and also found a scientific paper saying that using blue-banded bees as tomato pollinators results in 11-21% larger tomatoes. So this is Amegilla chlorocyanea with a tomato flower. This is the first time I’ve drawn a bee, so hopefully it’s up to snuff and doesn’t horrify any entomologists. 🙂
We’re very happy with our blue-banded bee Cynthia, and hope the research project successfully demonstrates that there’s no need to import bumblebees to support our horticultural industries.
Much of this newsletter is taken up with flood recovery issues. The last newsletter came out very soon after the event, and we spoke about things being closed “for several weeks”. Now we know it’s many months, and some places are changed beyond recognition. It will be interesting to watch the way the new landscape evolves. As it’s been a natural event, little will be done to deal with fallen trees and piles of rocks, except where they impact on infrastructure, access and safety. Meanwhile those of us who live close by can enjoy the look and sound of water in our creeks and lakes, and the extra greenness.
The FOGG committee I’m sure speaks for all members when we assure local staff of our sympathy and support at this stressful time. We are all having to learn patience. There is so much people would like to do to help, but damage assessment is a specialised field and work just has to wait until it is complete.
In the meantime we lobby for financial help.

AUTUMN NEWSLETTER 2011

GWANGEL MORRON – season of honeybees
Mid March to early June

IN THIS ISSUE
NEWS FLASH
President’s Report
From the Park Desk
Welcome Ryan Duffy
Flood Updates
Fogg Meeting Reports
Political Correspondence
Activity Reports
Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies Update
Advisory Group report
Various Snippets
Natural Values News reports
Beyond the Smoke Books
Website News
Poetry Corner
Email address request
Activity Calendar

Grampians Flood Recovery Update

h3. Last Updated 3rd March

This page will give the latest Park Note for the flood recovery work in the Grampians National Park.

2011-02-25-Recovery-Note-Grampians-National-Park.pdf

From Parks Victoria:

bq.. Grampians Update – Friday 25 February 2011

Please see the attached latest flood recovery update for the Grampians National Park. New openings include the Coppermine Track (4WD) and Pohlners Road North of Coppermine Track in the Northern part of the Park.

Parks Victoria is continuing to work towards openings in the Western side of the Grampians National Park. We were hoping to have some sites open by the Long Weekend in March. However due to extensive assessment requirements and the complexity of on-ground works, these sites will not open as planned. Parks Victoria will now endeavour to open areas for Easter and we will provide you with further information on the sites we will opening as it becomes available.

p. Further update can be found at “Parks Victoria’s website”:http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_display.cfm?park=109

WEB PAGE NEWS

Our web page continues to attract attention from time to time. Recently there was an email from a French veterinary student wanting some experience with our native animals.

And we have received drawings of our wildlife from a young artist from the USA who is a regular visitor. Her email and support is typical of our enquiries from the website. The artwork she has donated to FOGGs is featured on our “home page”:http://www.foggs-online.org/. We are very grateful Cynthia and look forward to more in the future.


bq.. Message: Dear Friends of Grampians Gariwend,

I’m a graduate student in the Science Illustration program at California State University and am writing to ask if I might be useful as an illustration volunteer/intern for any of your projects. Samples of my artwork are online here:

==http://picasaweb.google.com/megatherium/ScienceIllustration?fgl=true&pli=1#==

“http://picasaweb.google.com/megatherium/ScienceIllustration?fgl=true&pli=1#”:http://picasaweb.google.com/megatherium/ScienceIllustration?fgl=true&pli=1#

I’ve been lucky enough to travel around a fair bit of Australia, and of all the many places there I’ve visited and loved, the Grampians were a real highlight. Some of the things I’ll always remember are the abundant kangaroos and birds, seeing wild (and astonishingly friendly) echidnas for the first time, the lovely geology, hearing from a Pomonal landowner about the orchid and grass tree blooms emerging from the ashes, and seeing some of the changes and regrowth for myself, 15 months on from the fire.

I’d be delighted if I could contribute in any way to promoting the conservation and appreciation of the Park, whether through nature trail guides, interpretive signs, field guides, instructions or diagrams, cover pages for publications or presentations, figures in articles or scientific papers, or other educational resources.

I can work in traditional 3-D and 2-D media, including ink, clay, graphite, colored pencil, small-scale cast and smithed metals, scratchboard, and watercolor, as well as digital media. I also have a bachelor’s degree in biology, and have several years’ experience doing a variety of lab, greenhouse, and field work (for soil microbiology and evolutionary botany).

I am available part-time or full-time from September 2010 anytime through the first half of 2011. I can work remotely, or would be more than happy to come to Australia for a few weeks or months. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like further information about anything.

Thank you for you consideration.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Clark


Spring Newsletter – From the Editor

_Margo Sietsma_
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Download the newsletter here ->
“FOGG Newsletter Spring 2010.pdf (FOGG Newsletter – Spring 2010)”:http://www.foggs-online.org/file_download/5/FOGG Newsletter Spring 2010.pdf
Or read the individual articles by clicking “Newsletters” on the right.
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The season of _Larneuk – nesting birds_ is just finishing. Its description starts with _Bleak mists, freezing winds and rain_. Well this year it hasn’t been particularly cold but it has felt like it! And masses of wonderful rain, better than last year even. If it hasn’t been raining the clouds have sat solidly in the valleys. So far in August rain has fallen on Mt William on 26 days, as against the long term average of 14.The good news too is that this time the water has been soaking in so well. One not so good result has been that the strong winds have brought down so many trees, stressed from the drought and now in waterlogged soft soil.

As at 25 August, Bellfield Reservoir is at 42% full, compared with 24% this time last year,and 17% the year before. Overall in the Grampians Wimmera Mallee water storages we are now at 18.5% compared to 18.7 last year and 5.7 the year before. Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water have a “useful chart”:www.gwmwater.org.au.

Once again, Petyan (Spring) presents as an extremely busy time. Well over half of our yearly activities are squashed into a few months. Do try to be involved in at least some of them. The Threatened Species activities are our major way of volunteering in the Park. The contribution of enthusiasts to the body of knowledge about plants and animals is invaluable. Plus it is so enjoyable to get out and learn. One of our winter activities was a talk on the rare Grampians Bitter-Pea. After the talk a couple of us realised that one of the flower arrangements in the HG Hall painted by Henrietta D’Alton in 1886 featured this plant. Her amateur enthusiasm has resulted in a valuable record.

We’ll be selling cards featuring her work at the Wildflower show at the end of September. This is not actually a FOGG activity, but it would not survive without FOGG involvement. The HG community is very grateful for your support.

In addition to the flowers (picked under licence plus from nurseries and private property, all “unimproved” local varieties) there will be displays on Stan’s beloved plants with separate male and female flowers, Threatened Species Group, Brushtailed Rock Wallaby project, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and Project Platypus Landcare group. There will be a retrospective of Ken Woodcock’s illustrations. Plus craft activities for children (and adults). This year again the flowers will be arranged in communities, and databases and reference books will be available for general use. There will also be daily bus tours to see the flowers in the wild. On the same weekend you can also admire Australian native plants for the garden at Pomonal’s show.

We really would love some more volunteers in all areas, setting up on Tuesday and Wednesday, flower guides inside and out, on the door, helping with children’s activities, helping with the shop. Contact Mandy on 5356 4646 or email “wadge at exemail.com.au” For more info see “www.grampianswildflowershow.org.au”:www.grampianswildflowershow.org.au.

In addition to the flowers (picked under licence plus from nurseries and private property, all “unimproved” local varieties) there will be displays on Stan’s beloved plants with separate male and female flowers, Threatened Species Group, Brushtailed Rock Wallaby project, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and Project Platypus Landcare group. There will be a retrospective of Ken Woodcock’s illustrations. Plus craft activities for children (and adults). This year again the flowers will be arranged in communities, and databases and reference books will be available for general use. There will also be daily bus tours to see the flowers in the wild. On the same weekend you can also admire Australian native plants for the garden at Pomonal’s show.

But as well as coming to our activities, you can contribute to the well being of our Park by looking up the proposed Fire Operations Plan on the web and making your comments on it. Go to the “DSE website”:www.dse.vic.gov.au/burns then click on Fire Operations Burns and then View Proposed Burns.

(Acting) President’s Piece

I have been in London for the past 5 weeks waiting for the birth of our first grandchild so I feel rather out of touch with what is happening in the Grampians.

We have heard that there have been good rains so it sounds as if it will be a wonderful spring for wildflowers. Judging by the Orchid leaves that were coming through before I left, it should be a particularly good year for them as well.

This brings me to our AGM in September where we should have a very interesting time
searching for Orchids, some which are now quite rare. *Can I encourage members to
come and bring their friends as we would really like to see some new people with
new ideas and enthusiasms on the committee.*

Proo Pyke