Cradle to C oast l i n e s Edition 4â€˘ 2015
Newsletter of the Cradle Coast Natural Resource Management Committee
In this issue: E x e c u tiv e O f f icerâ€™ s Message
In s p ir in g Our Kids
U p co min g Ev en ts
Looking after our coasts and waterways
Image: Little Penguin by Raelee Turner
News & Events
A message from Richard “Our NRM team works across a wide range of community groups and government departments and at times we hear of potential threats where we all need to give a hand to raise awareness. Sometimes all it takes is for people in our community to alert the authorities when they notice changes in the environment. If something looks odd, then it’s likely there is something amiss. Recently we have heard of two such cases. The first is Myrtle Rust which is a dangerous plant disease that can infect our eucalyptus, tea tree, paperbarks, willow myrtle and bottlebrush. Biosecurity Tasmania and DPIPWE* is asking us all in the North-West to be on the look-out for Myrtle Rust this summer, as they prepare for an expected outbreak with the warmer weather. It’s very hard to detect in cooler weather, but as it gets warmer, the rust turns a bright yellow colour and releases spores enabling it to spread. The other instance is the unusual marine event on Penguin Beach that was reported to us in
mid-October. After further investigation and contacting marine experts, it was established that the amphipods washed up in their thousands were Themisto australis. These amphipods are very common in plankton and are usually found attached to lions-mane jellyfish, Cyanea capillata. Two theories are that the adults spawn and then die off, or that recent strong northerlies might have driven the jellyfish inshore along the north coast of Tasmania, dumping the amphipods on our beaches. Either way, occurrences such as these are not common and we need to continue monitoring our beaches for further signs.”
Richard Ingram, Executive Officer Cradle Coast NRM
If you see it, don’t touch it. Take a photo, tie a ribbon to mark the plant and call the hotline with the location. (03) 6165 3785.
Bright egg-yellow pustules of myrtle rust on the leaves and stems of a Lophomyrtus plant. Image courtesy of DPIPWE, Ziqing Yuan.
Themista australis (amphipods).
*DPIPWE: Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment.
Events and News
Planting with a purpose What to plant or what not to plant? That is the question that Ruth Mollison wants every North-Western garden owner to ask themselves when next at their local nursery. Ruth is an expert in local native vegetation, making her a prime choice to conduct workshops on Coastal Gardens. Held just as the weather is warming and gardeners begin to spend weekends tending their yards, the workshops were held at Wynyard and Port Sorell for general public enthusiasts keen to learn.
impact on the wildlife and environment around you.” Thirty people attended the workshops where they got hands on with mixing soils for propagation, taking cuttings and planting seeds. They also had Ruth run through the basics of garden design, what to consider when choosing plants and some suggestions on how to have the wow factor. Participant feedback was very positive with comments such as “Hands on learning is best – well done!” “What an awesome workshop.” “Relaxed and informative and generous with knowledge and materials.”
Ruth said she often felt frustrated seeing what people planted in their yards, completely unaware of the impact they were having on the environment.
Cradle Coast NRM Education Officer Sherrie Jaffray said ordinary citizens with a garden were the target for the workshops.
“If you live near a reserve it is beneficial to plant native flowers and shrubs because some plants are considered weeds and can spread,” Ruth said.
“We even had two people new to the area who had moved from Western Australia and they really enjoyed learning about the difference in vegetation here,” Sherrie said.
“Different plants attract different types of birds, lizards and insects too. It’s good to know how your plants
“They can now make informed decisions on what to plant and this is what makes a difference.”
Ruth demonstrating cuttings
Barry and Todd do school rounds Barry the lobster, shown poking out of the esky, had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of students as he made the school rounds with well-known ‘Lobster Man’ Todd Walsh. Mr Walsh (and the lobster) conducted education sessions at Boat Harbour and Somerset Primary Schools, and Yolla District High School, to teach children about the endangered Giant Freshwater Lobster and how rivers and streams work. The lobster can grow up to six kilograms and is native to only Tasmanian waters. Todd has been a lobster enthusiast most of his adult life. He partners with Cradle Coast NRM to conduct water quality and Giant Freshwater Lobster monitoring in various catchments and also provides education about the need for clean rivers and habitat retention, which is critical for the lobsters’ survival.
Barry weighs in at almost three kilograms making him perfect stimulus for holding the children’s attention. Todd also showed juvenile lobsters and talked about how to look after the environment where they live in the catchments across the North-West region. Our next issue will reveal Todd’s exciting new initiative with the CSIRO. Meanwhile, Barry is resting back in his river, waiting for his next day out. Stay tuned!
Kids give teachers a run for the environment After such a successful Kids Teaching Kids Event in September, Cradle Coast NRM is hoping to make it an annual occurrence. With more than 165 children from six schools across the Cradle Coast congregating to learn from each other, Education Officer Sherrie Jaffray said coordination was a challenge but the results were super rewarding. “To see kids as young as eight stand up with so much confidence and share knowledge that they spent time researching was just wonderful,” Sherrie said. “Every single student involved was excited and passionate about their role and contribution on the day.” (This included Sherrie’s own son who was part of the workshop teaching the ins and outs of water bugs.) Kids Teaching Kids (KTK) is a national programme run out of Melbourne with the aim to Inspire Future Environmental Leaders using the approach of learning from the Heart, Hands and Head. The ambition goes hand in hand with the goals of the Cradle Coast NRM team which advocates and acts to
protect the environment for long-term sustainability and balance with industry. “Instead of organisations such as ours going out to schools and asking guest speakers to present talks, KTK enables children to choose environmental topics they are passionate about and then demonstrate their knowledge through hosting their own workshop for other kids,” she said. “I was blown away with some of the detail and complexity of some of the workshops which ranged from sustainable electricity and tackling wombat mange, to identifying water bugs and how to re-use marine debris.” Thousands of kids across Australia take part in KTK Week. Only two were held in Tasmania at Cradle Coast and Hobart. Sherrie is already harnessing support for another even larger event next year and is seeking interest from local schools to be involved or host the event. “Yolla School did a great job as host this year, and they incorporated a farm tour of their own school grounds at the close of the event.”
“Because we did a KTK event we could teach everyone about the green and gold frog. We did an amazing job job.” Bonita
“If we do it again we could make lots of new friends and make a big difference to the world. happen Bella If we do that, big things can happen.” 4
Some brilliant budding scientists were discovered in the recent University of Tasmania (UTAS) Science Investigation Awards held at the Cradle Coast Campus in September.
“All great science starts with a curious mind, making school-aged kids great little thinkers for some very complex topics.”
The awards are held each year to encourage schoolaged children to take up a career in science. And it seems there is a healthy level of interest in science with more than 280 entries this year received.
It comes as no surprise that Tom’s mentoree was one of the winners recognised. Children as young as 10 participated and impressed with their projects ranging from de-ironising water to roofing engineering and soil experiments.
Cradle Coast NRM was one of the partners for the event providing sponsorship for the winners as well as mentoring and serving on the judging panel.
NRM’s Education Officer Sherrie Jaffray said the event gave students the chance to meet people in the industry and engage in real life investigations.
NRM Landcare Facilitator Tom O’Malley, who has a background in Microbiology and Plant Pathology, was happy to play a mentoring role for one of the students based in Burnie.
Sherrie said winning a science award was enough to inspire students to re-think their career paths.
Tom said the student’s entry was about testing the relative ability of different strains of the Fusarium fungus at growing in media contaminated with heavy metals such as Zinc, Lead and Nickel. “It’s a topic related to my own post graduate university studies, so I was able to impart some knowledge and technical expertise. It involves investigating whether some genetic variants of this fungus are more effective at growing in the presence of such heavy metals, which in turn indicates whether they may be capable of remediating land suffering the effects from heavy metal contamination.” He said working scientists can really help students gain the confidence to spend more time on scientific discovery whether it is part of school curriculum, or their own spare time.
Inspiring young scientists
“There was one student I spoke to who actually said they changed their minds on subjects for University after winning their age-group this year. “Sometimes they just need some encouragement and recognition to give them that confidence to choose science.”
“So many of our Science Investigation Award winners placed extremely highly in the Tasmanian Science Talent Search (TSTS) with rankings matching the order that you as judges scored them in – which shows the dedication and thoroughness that you and your judging group put into the day. Thank you.” Adam Mostogl, Event Organiser and 2015 Tasmanian of the Year.
Science week celebrated in the west coast August saw many of our schools in the North-West participate in Science Week.
worksheets and making awareness posters to take home.
Of special note was the West Coast gathering at Mountain Heights District High School which was attended by students from the surrounding schools of Queenstown, Strahan, Roseberry and Zeehan.
Other presentations were made from TAS Water, the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Secrett Lab and Fishcare Tasmania.
Cradle Coast NRM was part of the line-up presenting a fun workshop on marine debris and our role in the region. The workshop involved a hands-on session of creating their own clean beach, conducting debris audit on
Our team involved said it was great this year to have a Science Week event hosted for the more remote schools in the west. The ideas exchanged and knowledge shared made for a worthwhile day out.
Project News Project Coordinator Hazel Britton
Workshop gives more Penguin power in North West The North West’s penguin population is set to continue in safe hands following the Little Penguin workshop held recently to equip and educate new volunteer guides.
Volunteers committed to gathering a decade of data Asking volunteers to commit to a decade-long project seems like a tall ask. But to the lead volunteers of our Shorebird Monitoring project, the challenge is more than welcomed. Six years on, the volunteer team for this important project remains healthy at 85-strong with Project Coordinator Hazel Britton still at the helm. Many of the lead volunteers are avid birdwatchers and recognise the value in the protection of the six species of local shorebirds, which include the endangered Hooded Plover. But it will be another four years before the critical data they are gathering is considered robust enough for a baseline. The Cradle Coast Authority’s NRM team helps facilitate the workshops that ensure volunteers are kept in plentiful supply and are suitably upskilled. It also ensures the data is shared and recorded accordingly in the Birdlife Australia’s Shorebird 2020 Atlas Project, the State-wide Natural Values Atlas and to Birdlife Tasmania. Project Lead Dionna Newton said the project was a great example of how government money can be wisely spent with ongoing support and active participation of the community. “We are very much dependent on our volunteers, who are contributing to Tasmania’s scientific records,” Dionna said.
The workshop held at Cradle Coast Authority in Burnie attracted 30 attendees who heard from well credentialed presenters Peter Dann and Ingrid Albion. Peter travelled from Phillip Island Nature Parks in Victoria where he is the Research Manager and Penguin Foundation Director. He spoke on life history, distribution, survival, threats and recent research of penguins on Phillip Island. Ingrid is the Interpretation and Education Officer from Tasmania Parks and Wildlife. She spoke on the art of interpretation in achieving the best out of penguin guiding. With more than 10,000 visitors to the Lillico Penguin Viewing platform and Burnie Penguin Centre each year, the demand for volunteer guides is high. The two Friends of Penguins Groups in Burnie and Devonport ensure visitors are provided a unique experience of not only seeing the birds but getting a well-informed commentary about their habits, habitat and lifecycle. Cradle Coast NRM Coordinator Anna Wind said the guides have a tremendous opportunity to connect local issues threatening penguins such as predators, pollution and habitat degradation with global dangers such as climate change. Tasmania is home to 63% of the world’s Little Penguin population. Only 17% of fledglings survive the year and just 12% reach breeding age.
“Projects of this longevity are rare and for volunteers to commit to seeing through a decade of data collection is special indeed. “We thank all our volunteers for their contribution, especially Hazel who ensures all the forms are completed and submitted across 45 stretches of beach each season.” Dionna said the volunteers played an instrumental role in spreading education and awareness and passing their knowledge onto others. “We now have enough data to start looking at conservation action through initiatives such as school and community education and weed reduction on beaches.”
Penguin workshop attendees
The bi-annual Tasmanian Landcare Conference and Awards were held in the serene setting of Cygnet and Huonville this year in October.
Cradle Coast NRM’s Biodiversity Coordinator, William Hogg, presented a paper on the Decision Support System (DSS) for planning fires.
The event was well attended and received by the Landcare community. The awards evening on the Saturday was a great success with environmental volunteers and professionals, youth leaders, indigenous groups, community groups and farmers recognised for their efforts.
The DSS was developed by Cradle Coast NRM for State land management agencies to consider biodiversity values in fuel reduction burning well into the future.
The theme of the 2015 Tasmanian Landcare conference was “taking charge of change”, with guest speakers presenting on how to cement the future of the Landcare movement in an ever changing climatic, political and social environment.
2015 Tasmanian Landcare Conference and Awards
Large land managers are faced with complex decisions of when and where to burn, and so the DSS provides a solution that optimises land managers’ goals for reducing fuel loads, maintaining a diversity of fauna populations and implementing the ideal fire frequency for each vegetation type.
The event MC for the weekend was Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia), who strongly promoted youth and alternative styles of community engagement throughout the event, and provided plenty of laughs.
“The holistic ecosystem health is taken into account in the design of the system, and shows a map of when and where to carry out prescribed burns in the landscape to optimise biodiversity values,” Will said.
Keynote speakers such as Alexandra Gartmann and Professor Andrew Campbell were well received along with various presentations given throughout the day focusing on innovation, success and knowledge.
In addition to providing sponsorship towards running the event, Cradle Coast NRM gave financial assistance to enable seven Landcare and community group volunteers to attend the conference.
Are you ready for the fire season? If there was a time when “not in my backyard” thinking should be shunned it would be bushfire season, especially this year with a long hot summer coming on the back of a cold winter. Not only should land and homeowners have their own fire season plan ready, but they should engage and help neighbours to do likewise. Tasmania Fire Service has launched some great online help tools with checklists and templates to ensure we all have a plan in the event of a fire. Whether you intend to ‘Leave Early’ or ‘Stay and Defend’ your property when under threat, the planning is vitally important. For the downloads and bushfire planning forums go to: www.bushfirereadyneighbourhoods.tas.gov.au
Your Cradle Coast NRM Team R ichard In gram Executi v e O f f i c e r
Upcoming Events December
G ra nt P e arc e Opera ti on s M an age r
COASTCARE WEEK LAUNCH
Er ns t K emm e re r S trategy & Im pl e me n t a t ion M a na g e r W i l l i am Ho gg C oordi nato r: B i o di ve r s it y
Date: Friday 4 December 2015 Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm Venue: Function Room, Cradle Coast Authority Offices, 1-3 Spring St, Burnie Launch of Coastcare Week 2015 ‘Connecting the Coast’ and announcement of successful Natural Connections grants by Brett Whiteley MP, Federal Member for Braddon.
Anna Win d C oordi nato r: Co asta l Di o nna N e w to n Project Officer: Coastal, Estuarine & Marine S herri e J af f ray Pr o j ect Of f i c e r: C o m m u nit y Ed u c a t ion M ark Wi s n i e w sk i Pr o j ect Of f i c e r: G IS a nd N R M
Presentation on the El Nino effect on Bass Strait and its implications for the region and the changes it brings by Damian Heran, Fishcare Coordinator, DPIPWE. A community groups networking opportunity not to be missed. Afternoon tea will be supplied. RSVP:
S pencer G i bbs C oordi nato r: Pro du c t iv e L a nd s c a p e s Tom O’M al l e y R egi ona l L an dc are Fa c ilit a t or
Contact and follow us: ( 0 3 ) 6433 8400 nrm@c radl e c o ast . c om w w w . c radl e c o ast nr m . c om facebo o k . c o m /C r a d le C oa s t N R M
Anna Wind, Coastal Coordinator, Cradle Coast NRM on 6433 8423 or 0429 804 449 by 24 November
VEGETATION CONDITION ASSESSMENT TRAINING Date: Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December 2015 Time: Two full days Venue: Day one (theory) – Elizabeth Town Bakery Cafe Day two – Surrounding field sites The course is intended for beginners through to users familiar with the method who are seeking to gain formal accreditation. The hands-on workshop will guide participants through the theory (Day 1) and practical field session (Day 2) of the VCA method. The training is suitable for NRM professionals, consultants and others who need to assess the condition of vegetation to support their environmental projects. Registration is essential by Monday 23 November as places are strictly limited. Tickets are $30 for volunteer members of community groups and students, and $100 for NRM professionals. RSVP:
William Hogg, Biodiversity Coordinator email@example.com or 64338433
Unless otherwise acknowledged, this publication and the projects featured are supported by Cradle Coast NRM, through funding from the Australian Government.
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Cradle Coast NRM 1-3 Spring Street PO Box 338 Burnie TAS 7320
ph: 03 6433 8400 fax: 03 6431 7014 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cradle Coast NRM is an independent committee hosted by the Cradle Coast Authority
Cradle Coast NRM's newsletter, Cradle to Coastlines. Edition 4, 2015.