19 October 2015

Page 10

NEWS DESK

Partners active on the home front

Grants for coast works MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council will receive $50,000 to upgrade Caraar Creek coastal cliff pathways and $27,000 to improve beach access at the northern end of Moondah Beach, Mt Eliza. The grants are among almost $700,000 going to 15 public land managers, including volunteer organisations, to improve public coastal access and safety. They were announced last week by state environment, climate change and water minister Lisa Neville. Other grants include $55,000 to the City of Frankston for a seawall and public access ramp near Seaford Life Saving Club, and $19,000 to tackle beach assess erosion. Mornington Peninsula Shire will receive $6410 for enhancing beach access on the Whitecliffs to Cameron Bight foreshore, Rye, and $24,400 for

safety improvements at Fishermen’s beach. Ms Neville said through the coastal environments program the state government was committed to protecting the environment while ensuring better coastal infrastructure for safer and more enjoyable user experiences. The government has approved 21 separate grant applications by coastal committees of management, which are run by volunteers and coastal councils. “We are committed to providing better coastal infrastructure that makes it safer and more enjoyable for beach goers and coastal enthusiasts,” she said. “We recognise the importance of supporting the dedicated coastal public land managers that make our coastline safe and accessible.”

ARTIFICIAL tree hollows – although not the real thing – are still important to the conservation of Australian hollow-nesting animals. They complement the diminishing number of old, natural hollows, which take many years to form, but which are often lost when mature trees are chopped or fall down. This time of year there is much competition for the few available nesting spots. Bats, possums, gliders, owls, parrots, ducks, kookaburras, rosellas and kingfishers, as well as various species of frogs, snakes and skinks, are all searching for homes. Students at Mt Eliza Secondary College’s Real Time Learning program decided to help. Flynn, Oliver, Balin, Sebastien, Ava, Trinity, Benjamin, Floyd, Kira, Charlie-Rose and Ashcka used marine ply to put into practise skills learned from their Mornington Men’s Shed mentors when making the bat and sugar glider boxes mid-year. After much drilling and screwing the timber templates together, they added shredded bark and wood shavings to the bottom of the parrot box to make it attractive to eastern rosellas, which partner for life. Between four-eight eggs are laid by the female rosella who is fed by the male during incubation. These birds forage on the ground for seeds, grasses and insects and, in the trees, for nectar. The students will plant native grasses and shrubs under the nesting boxes at Tony O'Connor’s Mt Martha Landcare property – bordering Balcombe Creek – and in their school grounds to attract more ground feeding native birds.

Boxing lesson: Richard from Mornington Men’s shed helping Flynn and Trinity build a nesting box.

The nesting boxes are fitted into the forks of trees, and secured by threading wire through a piece of old garden hose to attach around the trunks. Two larger nesting boxes were made as homes for Australian wood ducks. They are often found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands and pastures foraging for grasses, clover, other herbs and, occasionally, insects.

The ducks lay up to 10 eggs in tree hollows near water. The students will place the nesting boxes around the wetlands at Mr O’Connor’s, where they have been working on several environmental projects each Thursday. Copies of the nesting box patterns are available from teacher Narelle Debenham at ndebenham@mesc.vic. edu.au

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Open seven days a week, 8am–4pm (closed Good Friday and Christmas Day)

Hard waste, green waste and recyclable material such as cardboard and scrap metal will be accepted. Asbestos, hazardous substances, food, liquid and medical waste will not be accepted. For further details please visit: frankston.vic.gov.au/FRRRC or phone 1300 322 322

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