Visitor from Tennessee

I was surprised and pleased to have an email via the webpage from the USA. Janet Martin, a friend of the Great Smoky Mountains NP in Tennessee, would be in Halls Gap in early November, was FOGGS doing anything then? Well, we had nothing planned, but I was free and had such good memories of visiting her park back in the 1980’s with my husband when he was on a work visit to nearby Huntsville, Alabama. So on a perfect November day we climbed most of the way up Mt Rosea, enjoying magnificent views and wildflowers.


Book News and Reviews

As reported previously, we have been discussing the resources available to the public about our park. The VNPA asked us to make some comments on their 2005 publication “Discovering the Grampians-Gariwerd”. It has some really good information, but unfortunately so much has changed here with fires and floods since then. We have given a fairly detailed response for them to chew over. We also passed on the comment that Ian McCanns wildflower book, now out of print, was really missed.

Out next week is a publication by Horsham Historical Society “ Zumsteins – A Century of Memories”. It is big – 322 pages and over 200 photographs. The cost is $50. I have ordered one and will write a review next issue.

In the meantime, online resources and apps continue to be developed. I haven’t had a chance to have a close look but here are two of local interest.

Biodiversity of the Western Volcanic Plains

This site has been developed as an online outreach curriculum program for primary and secondary students and community members, focusing on the biodiversity of the Western Volcanic Plains. The site will eventually contain seven online learning objects. Each learning object will focus on a specific aspect of biodiversity including plant and animal identification, grassland foodwebs, mapping of species, assessment and mapping of plant quadrats and an investigation of the ongoing threats to species by managing grassland ecosystems, consulting with experts, undertaking real and virtual grassland excursions and completing an interactive quiz. Each learning object will be accompanied by comprehensive student and teacher resources.


The flora and fauna of the Western Volcanic Plains, Victoria, Australia is unique with many species endemic to ecosystems within this bioregion. Over 160 animals and over 250 plant species are comprehensively described, most with multiple images taken within the natural habitat of the species. Identifying animal calls are provided with distribution maps including both past and current sightings recorded by the Atlas of Living Australia.

This Field Guide app provides the opportunity for users to map and upload sightings of any of the listed species within the Western Volcanic Plains, to contribute to a growing database of sightings of both common and threatened grassland species. Sightings are mapped and displayed on the Ecolinc Biodiversity of the Western Volcanic Plains website, which provides additional resources and learning objects relevant to the biodiversity of grassland ecosystems within this region. These are designed to be used by school students and community members.
Ecolinc is a Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) Science Specialist Centre. This Field Guide app is a component of an educational online outreach program entitled Biodiversity of the Western Volcanic Plains.

There’s also a Field Guide to Victorian Fauna by Museum Victoria available as an app for Iphones.

“The animals found in the south eastern Australian State of Victoria are unique and diverse. Detailed descriptions of animals, maps of distribution, and endangered species status combine with stunning imagery and sounds to provide a valuable reference that can be used in urban, bush and coastal environments.” The content has been developed by scientists at Museum Victoria, Australia’s largest public museum organisation.
The app holds descriptions of over 950 species encompassing birds, fishes, frogs, lizards, snakes, mammals, freshwater, terrestrial and marine invertebrates, spiders, and insects including butterflies. From animals found in rockpools, minibeasts in your garden, to wildlife you might see in the bush. We’ve put in a lot of species, but it’s still a fraction of the complete fauna of Victoria. Our scientists will continue to add additional species and refine descriptions over time.

This app is one of a suite of field guides for each state and territory, developed by Australia’s leading natural history museums.

Getting Kids into National Parks

Apropos of the Advisory Group discussion on the topic of children and National Parks, National Parks Association of Queensland Inc (NPAQ) has recently launched a free guide booklet called Getting Kids into National Parks to help us get our youth connected to the natural world.  The booklet can be downloaded at