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Autumn/ Winter 2013

New Landcare Group formed!....story page 3

Upper Barwon Landcare Network Contact Page Executive Contacts President Peter Greig—Murroon Landcare 5236 3229 Vice President David Curry—Otway Agroforestry Network 5236 3221 Public Officer/Treasurer Stewart Mathison—Barwon Rivercare 5267 2054 Secretary Loraine Cosgriff—Murroon Landcare 5236 3393 Board Members Carol McGregor —Wurdale Landcare 5288 7082 Andrew Stewart—Otway Agroforestry Network 5236 3277 Jim Lidgerwood—Barwon Rivercare 5288 7294 Richard Gilbert—East Otway Landcare 5236 3243 Andrew Blankfield - East Otway Landcare

Group Contacts

Barwon Rivercare Group President Jim Lidgerwood 5288 7294 Secretary Rod Stone 0439 067 636 Treasurer Deb McDonald Birregurra Community Group President Ian Court Secretary Russell Garraway 5236 2395 Treasurer Brian Lawrence 5236 2356 Birregurra Creek Landcare Group President Paul Drewry 5236 2294 Secretary Claire Dennis 5236 2399 Treasurer Lyn Genua 52315909 East Otway Landcare Group President Jennifer Morrow 5288 7144 Secretary Jill Stewart 5236 3206 Treasurer Peter Thomas 5236 3269   Friends of Deans Creek President Glen Conner 5231 2922 Secretary Jill Madden 5231 1284   Gerangamete & District Landcare Group President Nerissa Lovric 5233 4695 Secretary/Treasurer Kaz Standish 5236 6331  

Irrewarra Farmcare Group President Peter Dooley 5233 6229 Treasurer Will Hanson 5233 6279 Secretary Bruce Bilney 0417 372 219 Murroon Landcare Group President Loraine Cosgriff 5236 3393 Vice President Simon Mooney 5236 3315 Secretary Mary Jane Gannon 5236 3333 Treasurer Katrine Juleff 5236 3238   Otway Agroforestry Network President Kaye Rodden 5265 1241 Coordinator Andrew Stewart 5236 3277 Otway ReGen Landcare Group President Hannah Stewart 0447 045 459 Secretary Beck Readhead 0438 963 841 Treasurer Georgie Readhead   Wurdale Landcare Group President Carol McGregor 5288 7082 Secretary Nikke Thompson

Staff Co Ordinator Neil McInnes 0427 316 396 Facilitator/Education Mandy Baker 0427 316 395   Administration Officer John Readhead  


57 Main Street Birregurra 3242 ph 5236 2401 Tree Talk is produced by the Upper Barwon Landcare Network Printing by Birregurra General Store. Deadline next edition of Tree Talk is first week of October 2013—articles and photos from our members are most welcome. Please contact Mandy Baker 0427 316 395 or email;

Disclaimer—This publication may be of assistance to you but the Upper Barwon Landcare Network and staff do not guarantee that this publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Upper Barwon Landcare Network and staff.


Welcome to Tree Talk Autumn/ Winter 2013 In this edition... P 4 - 5 P 6 - 7 P 7 - 9 P 10 - 11 P 12 - 13 P 14 P 15 P 16 P 17 P 18 -19

Presidents Report Corangamite Landcare Awards Group Reports Otway Agroforstry Network African Trip Carbon Farming Case Study Secrets of Fox Trapping Species of the Upper Barwon Compost Field Day Beating around the Bush The Spot - Tail Quoll

A very big thank you to all our contributors !

NEW Landcare Group Formed Otway reGEN Landcare Group “We are a bunch of 20-something-year-olds who care about our earth. We have all grown up in the Otways and since moving on and experiencing the world beyond the bush we have come to realise just how special and beautiful our rural area is. We view ourselves as the other ‘Planeteers’ cherishing our environment, planting one tree at a time. We wish for others to experience and enjoy what we have been so lucky as to grow up with by inviting them to join us on adventures. Through earth caring, music and creativity we want to educate and excite others about the environment. “ The ReGEN group have got off to a flying start with plans for a 2 day festival in Deans Marsh in September called “Getting Gritty”. The weekend will include tree planting at a local site, an interactive ‘art in the environment’ activity, music, food, and a fun farm tour. The group will target membership of 20 something year olds ( must be over 18 to join) using facebook and other social media. Membership fees are $10 per year which gives free entry to the festival - a ‘member only’ event. Funds from a Caring For our Country Landcare Grant; ’ReGENerating Landcare” have helped to facilitate the formation of the group. If you are a 20 something year old, or know one who could be interested in joining, ring Hannah 0447 045 459 or Bec 0438 963 841 Pictured on front cover clockwise from top left: the ReGEN members, ReGEN logo designed by Bec Readhead, stick art structure by Lily Randall and Martin Beaver (1,200 sticks down, 10,000 to go), ‘Getting Gritty’Poster designed by Michelle Stewart.


From the President How nice was it to find several local examples of Landcare re-discovering its enthusiasms in just the way that Les Robinson – in his talk at the annual dinner – suggested was happening all over the nation? Local revival As a self-professed “changeologist”, Les has investigated such phenomena to conclude that re-vitalization happens when: A new way of doing things is introduced, as long as it’s Surprising but non-threatening, and gets people talking, and Fills some need. So he was pleased to hear about these local home-grown stories: • Pageant at East Otways Bambra wetlands • Biological farming trials in Murroon and Focus Farms project • Landcare champions in schools • Otways Regeneration Landcare Group (for those in their twenties) • Walking the Barwon, (a new idea from Jennifer Morrow, in its early stages, but rapidly developing). These grass-roots revivals are happening because the basic idea of Landcare just won’t go away: neighbours helping each other and improving their land and neighbourhoods for the next generation. Government amnesia Meanwhile, however, the other side of Landcare as it was originally conceived (by VFF’s Heather Mitchell, and State conservation minister Joan Kirner, in 1986) has gradually faded in its role: that is, government helping locals do better what comes naturally, but which also helps the general public (and thus justifies government help). Governments’ amnesia in this matter is understandable – but unhelpful to governments’ own stated causes: sustainable economic development. To help governments recover their memory, efforts are being made by peak bodies, such as Australian Landcare Council (Andrew Stewart), Victorian Landcare Council, National Landcare Network, CMAs, and Victorian Catchment Management Council. There are some signs that these efforts may pay off – judging by feedback from shadow minister Greg Hunt – mainly because it makes good economic and environmental sense. And in another local development, a “stewardship” project is attempting to re-connect the linkages between grass-roots and government, starting at the regional level, with participation by UBLN and other networks and CCMA. It’s hoped that these reconnections will spread to local government and many others involved in caring for the land in their own ways. New Executive Coming back to the annual meeting in May, which was attended by 70 people, I’m pleased to welcome the following executive members, some returning, and some new: David Curry; Loraine Cosgriff; Andrew Stewart; Jim Lidgerwood; Richard Gilbert (all returning); Andrew Blankfield; Carol McGregor (new). And I want to thank most sincerely those who are moving on: Darryl Hoffman; Geoff Sydenham; Lily Randall; and Stewart Mathison. All have done their bit with great


diligence, but a special thanks must go to Stewart, for long and distinguished service in several roles, including President, Treasurer, and now Public Officer (pro tem). His dedication, wisdom, local knowledge and unswerving integrity are legendary – even irreplaceable – and we all owe him a great debt. I include here a plea: Each group in the network has a right to two votes at the Executive, but several are currently vacant. I’m hoping members will see value for their group and the movement in coming along when they can. It can be very rewarding. Stewardship Landcare went national in 1997, using the proceeds of privatisation, and CMAs were created to broker the relationship between government and landowners, and to integrate the government agencies’ work. The term NRM (natural resource management) was coined to reflect this intervention, but it still means pretty much what Landcare does. Meanwhile, other government agencies had been caring for the land (and water) in their own ways: local government; water authorities; agencies for primary production and environment protection. Their efforts always had some connection to landowners and citizens (as rate-payers, irrigators, farmers etc) but not quite with the same devolutionary intent as in the Landcare model. And they hadn’t been well integrated on the ground. Over time, the devolutionary idea has faded, as governments have gradually followed the natural urge to control decisions, rather than trusting and motivating those closer to the ground. And decisions by agencies became again isolated into their areas of specialization, rather than being integrated. By 2003, this situation led to the notion of “stewardship” being explored, to try to restore the trust and motivation elements into the NRM governance system, which now involved many participants in complex and little-understood linkages between governments and landowners. Among the ideas explored were: “voluntary standards” (of good land management); “market-based instruments” (for efficiency in prioritizing government funding); and “social learning” (citizens and agency personnel learning by sharing with their peers). Systemic Inquiry This last idea is being currently pursued by several Landcare networks and the Corangamite CMA .They are hoping that by understanding and clarifying their separate roles, all participants in the NRM system will be able to minimize duplication and maximize collaboration, and in the process, re-build the mutual trust and motivation which is essential to efficiency. The process is called “systemic inquiry” because it potentially involves the whole complex NRM system, even though it’s starting at the community end of the chain. It is being facilitated by Moragh Mackay, a nationally recognized expert in this emerging field. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! -Peter Greig

Landcare Questionnaire In the last edition of Tree Talk we included a questionnaire to our members looking for feedback on the magazine and suggestions on any improvements, ideas or articles that may be relevant to our readers. Thank you to all those who responded, with an overwhelmingly positive response. It seems that most people enjoy the mix of articles, with many respondents particularly enjoying the regular contributor articles ie.’ Beating around the Bush’ and ‘Species of the Upper Barwon’. There was suggestion that a regular contribution on native fauna would be interesting, so in this edition we have included a story on Quolls by Wildlife Ecologist and part time Deans Marsh resident Dr. Jenny Nelson. If you know any local birdie or animal enthusiast, maybe you could suggest they have something to offer next time? Happy reading!! ! ! ! ! ! ! -ed.! ! ! !


Corangamite Landcare Awards 2013 Birregurra Champions win Junior Landcare Team Award In May the Birregurra Primary school Landcare Champion Club won the 2013 Junior Landcare Team Award for Corangamite. The award was presented after a luncheon attended by over 100 landcare members and friends at 'Tarndwarncoort'. The group have been participating in environmental activities including testing and monitoring water in the creek and Barwon River which run through Birregurra. They have run an anti-littering campaign (you may have seen the posters in shop windows) and are working in partnership with the Birregurra Community Group plans to beautify and develop the Birregurra Champions pictured above with Janet Gordon Park. The children have also learnt about riverbank revegetation by visiting Lachie and Janet Gordon’s farm , and recently visited the Mt Rothwell sanctuary at Little River where they got up close and personal with a variety of marsupials, many of them rare, in a night time walk. Congratulations to the worthy recipients Abbey, Skye, Alex, Molly and Hannah, well done!

Regional award win for Landcare Partnerships Barwon Water’s long-standing partnerships with Upper Barwon Landcare Network and others in the region were recognised at the recent Corangamite Landcare Awards, held at the historic Tarndwarncoort Homestead. The Landcare Agency Partnership Award was presented to Barwon Water for its Landcare Partnerships Program, which has been running for more than 10 years. Barwon Water has invested over $1 million in Landcare and a further $500,000 in river health projects over the life of the program.

Carl and Steve with their Landcare Award

General Manager of Strategy and Planning Carl Bicknell and Senior Environmental Planner Steve Reddington collected the award on behalf of the organisation. Upper Barwon Landcare Network receives funding from Barwon Water as part of the partnership, which has a strong focus on protecting and improving the health of water supply catchments and waterways downstream.


Barwon Water prefers its community-based partnership model over the more common project-specific models. The partnership funds enable the network to employ a Landcare co-ordinator, helping ease the burden on landowners and volunteers. Barwon Water also provides funding for waterway projects through its river health partnership with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority. Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s Regional Landcare Co-ordinator Tracey McRae announced that the regional award winners will now be in the running for the state-wide Victorian Landcare Awards to be held later this year.

Corangamite Landcare Award recipients 2013 Individual Landcarer Award – Simon Cook Landcare Innovation and Sustainable Agriculture Award – Craig and Tanya Davis Young Landcare Leader Award – Ammie Jackson Corangamite Landcare Coordinator Award – Mandy Coulson Junior Landcare Award – Birregurra Primary School Landcare Champion Club Corangamite Community Group Award –Moorabool Catchment Landcare Group Corangamite Landcare Network Award – Woady Yaloak Catchment Group. Coastcare Community Award – Bellarine Catchment Network, Swan Bay Environment Association and the Borough of Queenscliffe Landcare Agency Partnership Award – Barwon Water Corangamite Landcare Honour Roll Inductees – National Landcare Network’s Roger Hardley and Bellarine Landcare Group’s Geoff McFarlane.

Birregurra Community Group - Trees For Mum On Mothers Day the Birregurra Community Group in partnership with Landcare and the Community Health Centre, ran a planting activity in the Birregurra Park called ‘Trees for Mum’. This was an opportunity for Birregurra residents to plant a tree/ shrub in memory of or on behalf of their Mum. Claire Dennis from the Birregurra Creek Landcare Group designed a planting plan of indigenous flowering species such as banksias around the southern boundary of the park and also around the Barwon Water site. A total of 140 plants were put in the ground by members and residents alike, (Aeysha pictured here with Poppy Geoff). A record of who planted which tree has been kept as a legacy of the event. It is hoped that the Trees For Mum event could be an annual day and is a wonderful way to help beautify the township. The Group is now working on revegetating the (yet unnamed) creek which runs through the park, with extensive weed removal already achieved. A series of working bees are planned for the early spring which the Birregurra Community are encouraged and invited to participate in.


Barwon River Care Group

Gerangamete & District Landcare Group

at Barwon Park

Bird watching for all ages!

Sunday 7th of April saw the Barwon River Care Group conduct their April meeting at Barwon Park. It was simply a magnificent setting. A dinner in the Barwon Park dining room! All the food was prepared elsewhere and kept warm or cold until required in the Barwon Park kitchen. Jim Lidgerwood, our President, provided the roast beef that was cooked beautifully. Jim and secretary, Rod Stone, also prepared potatoes and roast pumpkin. Other members of the group brought along salads and sweets. Thirty members fitted into the dinning room comfortably. It is estimated that we could have, without being too squashed, forty people sitting down for a meal with sufficient space for a food table where people could serve themselves. It is a pity that butlers are no longer available or we could have used the Butler’s Room to serve the food as happened in Mrs Austin’s day. However, instead of using the 1870’s timber “Esky” that is part of the dinning room furniture, people used their own car fridges to keep their drinks cold.

The Gerangamete and District Landcare Group recently held a family ‘learn to bird watch’ session followed by a group BBQ at the Forrest Primary School. Fourteen adults and ten children attended the event. Bird watchers as young as three, were decked out with binoculars and were raring to go in search of unsuspecting birds!. Michael and Louise Delahunty kindly hosted the event on their large dam at Gerangamete, which we discovered is a haven for a wide variety of local water birds. (pictued on back cover) Trevor Pescott from the Geelong Field Naturalists shared his wealth of experience on the essentials of bird watching. These included the 4 B’s, binoculars, boots, books and birds!. Everyone then took to the shoreline, binoculars scanning the water and surrounding habitat for birds. There was lots of chatting amongst the adults as they consulted their field guides and shared tips. The younger enthusiasts were also spotted picking up objects such as feathers and rocks, getting muddy and generally having a ball!.

During the break between courses the upstairs lights were switched off and many people went “ghost hunting”. However, unlike Mrs Austin’s days, they had the assistance of torches if things became too spooky. Fortunately no ghosts were sighted. After the meal we retreated to the courtyard for a presentation by Donna Smithyman from Corangamite Catchment Management Authority on future directions Barwon Park could take with environmental management. More of this in future Stars. All who attended felt they had a great night out. Eating in the dining room in the gathering gloom is simply an experience not to be missed. If your group/club would like to try it, contact Trudie Toyne, our Barwon Park manager. - Mick O’Mara

Campfire at the Forrest School

A camp fire and BBQ in the sustainable garden area at the Forrest School topped the day off nicely. The group’s next event is planned for the 28th of July at the Forrest Guest House. Enid Mayfield from Geelong will give a talk about her new book- Flora of the Otway Plain and Ranges 2. For more information contact Nerissa Lovric, 52334695.


East Otway Landcare Group Two activities were organised , one in April - a “Bird Workshop” and another in June on “Fox Control” before we all hunkered down, or for some, who like a sandpiper, flew away for the winter. Our meeting in April was on a very wild and windy day so that all self respecting birds at the Bambra Wetlands were hanging on high to a branch or hiding deep in the canopy. Despite that we enjoyed being led by Elinor Campbell from ANGAIR. We took the scope to Richard Weatherhead and Belinda Mackenzies wetland and watched a few water birds before assembling at the Bambra hall for a shared dinner followed by a wonderful powerpoint presentation given by Elinor. It was a really enjoyable afternoon/evening. On 1st June we were lucky to have a presentation by Melbourne University student Bronwyn Radsky. Bronwyn is working in this area studying the effects of fuel reduction burning on mammals and their vulnerability to predatation by foxes. As part of Bronwyn’s work she has been catching foxes, putting radio collars on them and tracking them. It was fascinating to hear about Bronwyn’s work, she was very generous with her knowledge on fox handing (notes included on page 14) . She also recommended a set of notes provided by the NSW department if Primary Industries, which I have found very useful. She has also said anyone particularly interested in fox trapping may have the opportunity

to help her with trapping in the spring. I was especially fascinated by ‘Fred’ who she had caught near the Breakfast Creek burn area, who, sick of country life, took himself the Anglesea to live the life of a city fox, bins and tips being easier than the Bambra wildlife. It was a really worthwhile and interesting afternoon in the Bambra Hall, with a dedicated and committed person in Bronwyn. She has offered to return and speak to us again at the completion of her study. Do not miss her next presentation to us. Next event is our weekend of Landcare/Music/ Orchid walks, and a repeat performance of the Pageant at the Bambra Wetlands n October. - Jennifer Morrow

fox with native swamp rat picture courtesy University of Melbourne

Have you ever wanted to be an animal? This could just be your chance, or at least to act the part! The Bambra Wetland Pageant is on again by popular demand! We are short of a couple of actors for our cast of 15 or so insects, animals, musician (taken), and of course the Spirit (sorry that one is taken). Time - 3pm, Place (you guessed it), Date - Saturday October 19th. There will be a good bit happening all that weekend at the Wetland. It will kick off around dusk on Friday night, come a bit earlier if you are camping for the weekend to get the best campsite (and set up your tent in daylight) There will be food, stories and music around the campfire, there may be some planting, there may an art installation, the rest is up to you to make happen. If you have an idea to discuss, or want to be an animal - please ring Richard on 0427050284


Ugandan Master TreeGrower Program Australian Agroforestry Foundation In May 2013, as a result of an invitation from Dr. Joy Tukahirwa, who works for the World Agroforestry Centre, a team from Australia joined with local scientists, NGO extension agents, government oďŹƒcials, journalists and more than 50 local landholders in Kabale, Uganda, for the first African Master TreeGrower program. The Australian contingent consisted of OAN members including Rowan Reid, Mike and Wendy Robinson-Koss, Marianne Stewart, David Curry, Jill and Andrew Stewart. Clinton Tepper from Beyond Subsistence also joined the team. Uganda is highly populated with 35 million people inhabiting an area similar in size to Victoria and yielding a density, on average, of about 140 people per square km. Like most countries, Uganda has cleared too much vegetation and serious erosion and soil degradation has occurred. This, coupled with the high human population density is posing significant challenges to developing sustainable farming systems and placing pressure on the ecology and natural systems. Uganda is a net importer of timber products, but has the potential to reverse this (similar to Australia). The Master Tree Growers program included a five day intensive course for landholders and their supporters in Kabale; a one-day public field day attended by more than 70 people; the formation of the Kabale Agroforestry Network; site visits by members of the Australian team to the properties and projects of participants (also in Kampala region); and a three-day intensive training course for professional foresters who work with farmers in Kampala.

Kabale is in southern Uganda where the elevation varies from 1500m to 3000m and rainfall about 1200mm. Tropical growing conditions coupled with rich volcanic soils lead to high growth rates where growth results for 6 year old trees may take 10 years in the Upper Barwon Landcare Network area. More than 50 people from this district participated in the program where some farmers had 1 acre and 1 cow to others with up to 50 acres. Participants included Evelyne of Kieve Plantations who leases 1000 acres from the government growing Pinus petula and eucalypts for sawlogs and a 500,000 seedling nursery, with proceeds going to her village to build schools, a health centre and other infrastructure so badly needed. A Christian minister also attended as his church is responsible for managing farm land. The farms grow a great variety of produce from tropical fruits such as mangoes, oranges, avocados, passion-fruit , bananas, and pineapples to vegetables including beans, climbing tomatoes, eggplants, cassava, sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes. Ground nuts are grown along with millet, sorghum and maize and apples are being adapted for tropical conditions. Other cash crops include coee, tea, honey, sugar, tobacco and honey. One farmer had 20 varieties of food plants growing as an impressive permaculture on eight acres with six full time workers. The first permaculture book could have been written in this area! Edible fences around farm boundaries are common and colliandra was popular in this regard with its highly digestible soft foliage being a favorite of livestock whilst its root structure fixes atmospheric nitrogen to enrich the soil. Some farm boundaries were bordered by the Australian silky-oak (Grevillea robusta), which does not compete greatly with farm plants but


provides shade and shelter and valuable timber along with significant leaf mulch. Many eucalypts have been introduced from South African tree breeding programs including Euc. Saligna (Sydney blue gum), Grevillea robusta (Silky oak) and Euc. grandis x Euc. camaldulensis (Flooded gum x Red gum). The Flooded gum x Red gum is popular because of high growth rates and ability to coppice, resulting in many leaders shooting after harvest from the remaining stump. If managed appropriately the re-growth can be used for climbing bean stakes, small poles for scaffolding, larger poles for power lines, sawlogs for construction and furniture whilst unsuitable timber for these purposes can be processed to produce charcoal. Charcoal is an extremely popular product used for cooking throughout Africa and responsible for over-clearing of many landscapes. Some people do not like Eucalypts as they consider they use too much water. Others think that with strategic placement they can be of great benefit bringing multiple values to farming systems and communities. Of the remaining vegetation, Uganda has a great diversity of flora and fauna. There are some outstanding native trees such as Prunus africana, which is not only visually attractive but produces excellent timber, used in house building, for furniture and poles and as fuel. For traditional medicine, bark infusion serves as a purgative, also used in treatment of prostate cancer; the bark is also pounded, water added and the red liquid drunk as a remedy for stomachache. A leaf infusion is taken to improve appetite. The immediate impact of the Master TreeGrower Program has been extraordinarily positive suggesting that it does indeed represent a very different approach to forestry and agroforestry development in Uganda and one that is highly regarded by landholders, service providers, NGOs and even government agencies and their officers. An enthusiastic steering committee has been formed to guide the Kabale Agroforestry Network

(KAN) into a future of developing sustainable and productive farming systems. KAN has accepted the offer of OAN to mentor their group. Sharing experiences and exchanging ideas and knowledge proved to be a powerful learning experience for both the Kabale farmers and the Australian team. For further inquiry and/or those interested in joining OAN, phone: Andrew Stewart on 0448 363 277 or email: A blog of the Uganda trip can be viewed at

Pictures from left to right: 1. Dr Sammy Carson (ICRAF) leads a field visit to farms in the Nairobi region where farmers are integrating timber production with their farming activities. 2. Participants discuss land management options to combat soil erosion and water quality issues in the Kyantobe catchment 3. Participants in the First African Master TreeGrower Course, Kabale, 2013 4. Dr Joy Tukahirwa (centre) with the Australians. From left: David Curry, Marianne Stewart, Andrew Stewart, Rowan Reid, Wendy Robinson-Koss, Mike RobinsonKoss and Jill Stewart.


Carbon Sequestration Have you ever wondered if your property is assisting in the reduction of carbon emissions by locking up carbon in your pastures and trees? Whole Farm Planning consultant, John Marriott recently provided an analysis of a Wensleydale farm business to explore this question. Peter and Carol McGregor put up their hands and showed interest in having the assessment as farmers who were curious to know whether their property had changed from being one of counteracting carbon emissions to becoming one of carbon sequestration. Whilst the McGregors have been regular planting out areas on their property for the past 11 years, their intentions was not primarily with the concept of becoming carbon sequesters in mind. They saw that there was much to do in terms of preserving the creek that ran through their property, also to provide shelter for livestock, increase the biodiversity in the area and provision of improved soils. Hence, over 12,000 trees and shrubs have been planted on approximately 8% of their property in the past 11 years and vast improvements made to their soils and pastures.



The analysis conducted by John Marriott provided evidence that, by planting out this amount of the property not only improved the carbon sequestration of the land, but did not compromise the income generated for the farming business! ! ! ! ! ! ! -Carol McGregor

Graph 1. GRAPH 1– percentage of the farm planted to trees in the last 7 years


Graph 2. GRAPH 2– increase in total cattle over the last 7 years GRAPH 3– gross farm income over the last 7 years GRAPH 4- Increase of sequestration and improved Net CO2

Graph 3.

Graph 4.

The accompanying graphs indicate that while Peter & Carol McGregor were regularly planting trees over a 7 year period (Graph 1 – percentage of Farmed Area planted to trees), they were still able to increase their stock numbers (Graph 2) and improve their farm income (Graph 3 – see the trend line for Farm Income per hectare). The increase in stock numbers and hence the detrimental effect on their carbon footprint was more than offset by the extra sequestration created by the trees on the farm (Graph 4), and this is not to mention the effect on bird and wildlife habitat, biodiversity, soil stabilisation, shade & shelter for the animals and the general aesthetic improvement of the landscape. !


-John Marriott

* This workshop was funded as part of the ‘Rural Health Project” which is aimed at exploring the environmental, agricultural, financial and personal health of the farm and farm family.


Secrets of Fox Trapping ✦

Must have rubber-lined jaws offset by at least 6 mm, spring on anchor chain, a swivel on either end of chain – anything else is illegal.

Recommend Oneida Victor Soft Catch Coil Spring Traps - #1 ½

Prior to use, traps need to be fire-tuned: file trigger smooth, adjust pan tension, wax

Once traps are prepared, avoid touching with bare hands (they will smell you!)

Traps need to be securely anchored with a stake or similar

Placing traps: -

Pictured, male fox in trap from (see useful links below ) ✦

To avoid catching wallabies, ravens, eagles and other wildlife:

Look for fox scats, tracks, landscape features likely to be used by foxes ( e.g. saddles between two gullies)

To reduce the chance of injury to bycatch and foxes: -

Check every 12 hours if possible so that any bycatch can be released asap ( max. 24 hours)


Do not set traps near a log that an animal could jump over while its foot is caught in the trap – increases likelihood of breaking leg


Never set traps on paths or animal runways- nearby is ok but the trap must not be where an animal using the track is likely to step on it


Never set traps next to a large carcass that will attract birds and other scavengers ( buried meat is ok)


Make sure the pan tension is correct (about 3 pounds) so that the trap won’t be set off if a smaller animal runs over it – this also makes sure that the fox will be caught when it steps on the trap

Fox attractants:

Think about how you are going to dispose of the fox once you catch it



Dead chook, fox scats, meat, fish, blood, commercial lures, feathers, hole, dead cat... Use of native mammals for bait is illegal Beware of hydatids – wear gloves, wash your hands, never handle fox scats with bare hands


Trapping information and regulations: • will send you a free DVD on fox and dog trapping) • (regulations for leg hold trapping in Victoria) •FOX006 – trapping of foxes using cage traps ( NSW Department of Primary Industries ) •FOX005 – trapping of foxes using padded-jaw traps ( NSW Department of Primary Industries)- very useful advice about setting traps, avoiding bycatch Trapping suppliers: F & T Harvesters (USA) – Get Trapped ( Qld) – Professional Trapping Supplies (Qld) – Cat Traps - available Anglesea - Bronwyn Radsky, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne


Species of the Upper Barwon Blanket Leaf BEDFORDIA ARBORESCENS Family: Asteraceae- one of the largest plant families in the world (includes lettuce, artichoke, sunflower and ragwort). Locally, the family is also well represented and includes the genera Olearia (daisy bush), Cassinia (dogwood), Chrysocephalum (everlastings) and Microseris (murrnong or yam daisy). Bedfordia= named for Sir John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford and a patron of Botany Arborescens= becoming woody in the stalk The common name refers to the underside of the leaf which is soft and downy. Description: small tree to about 5-8m tall and 3-5m wide. In the Upper Barwon region, blanket leaf grows mostly in the higher rainfall (above 800mm rainfall) forests or in sheltered gullies. The tree prefers deep, moist, well drained soils in dappled shade. You’ll find it growing in association with many tree and understorey species including mountain grey gum, blackwood, tree ferns, musk daisy, satinwood, prickly currant, bush pea and Christmas bush. The yellow flowers arrive in late spring with the wind blown seeds maturing in February. The soft downy leaves are found radiating out from the ends of branches often with dead leaves hanging on underneath. In some areas, blanket leaf can dominate the understorey offering a beautiful “rainforest” appearance especially after rain or during fog. You will also note the scented crushed leaves are one of the ingredients of that beautiful Otway forest smell, along with satinwood, fireweed and a few others. Blanket leaf will coppice after a mild fire, but will suffer in severe fires or droughts especially on the fringe of its range- north facing foothills and sandy loam soils. Reintroduction of the species into bushfire affected areas is somewhat slow because of the reliance on wind blown seed to come in from unburnt areas. The seed is quite small so when sowing do not bury seed too deeply. In fact, many daisy species actually need some light for germination. No seed pre treatment is necessary however fresh seed (or properly stored seed) should be used for best results. Uses For revegetation projects, blanket leaf is limited to areas of high rainfall in our region where it has been used extensively in willow removal and/ or stream bank erosion projects. An excellent tree for attracting birds- the light fluffy seeds and the soft downy leaves are a useful addition to a bird’s nest. In fact, according to Chris from Barwon Downs, wrens use spider webs to tie the leaves together while still on the tree and build their nest inside. Indigenous use of the leaves include lining a coolamon (cradle). And of course, how could I forget the most important use of blanket leaf- and it goes by many names but I’ll stop at just two: bushman’s dunny paper or bushman’s wipe. You get the idea! - Mike Robinson - Koss, Otway Greening Nursery


Farm Scale Compost Field Day Over seventy people attended a 'Farm Scale Composting' field day in August. Charlie and Tina Earl hosted the day at their Winchelsea property. Declan McDonald (Soil Specialist, DPI), Kevin Wilkinson (Principal Research Scientist DPI) and Tony Evans (Camperdown Compost Company) led discussions and provided technical advice about compost feedstocks and processing. There was detailed discussion on compost feedstocks & recipes, maintaining moisture & temperature levels, when and how often to turn & aerate, windrow dimensions, spreading and benefits to soils. Nicola Thom from Sustainability Victoria commented on EPA and local government requirements and landholder obligations so as not to cause any environmental problems or impacts on neighbours. One of the main focuses of the day was the opportunistic use of feedstocks (we don't use the word 'waste') that can become available periodically - spoiled or old hay is a good example. Charlie had been very active in collecting a wide range of material including: • Pig and poultry manures • Material from Dairy feedpads and tracks • Municipal garden organics • Woodchips • Spoiled hay (grass, pea, lucerne) • Cereal straw • Sawdust Included in the field day were some demonstrations of batching up, windrow construction and turning using a large muck spreader, excavator, telehandler and Seymour turner. Dave and Steve Lewer demonstrated spreading compost plus working in with Speed Discs and seed drill. To see some video footage type 'Charlie's compost' into You Tube or go to watch?v=4NBTkEPLFPs Coming up in the future will be some related workshops with themes: • Interpreting soil test results • Nutrient budgeting • Making compost to suit particular soils Calculating paddock sizes There are a couple of easy to use programs on the internet based on Google Maps / Google Earth that make it very easy to calculate areas of paddocks or odd shapes. Both are similar in appearance and functionality with user instructions at the bottom of their pages. Google Earth allows you to draw lines and measure distances. It also allows you to draw areas (polygons) on your computer screen but does not give you any measurements. Both Draft Logic and Free Maps calculate areas and permitter lengths. - Neil McInnes


Beating about the bush I love winter...I suppose I am bred for it. Give me the bracing chill any day rather than extreme heat! I don’t call this winter. The trees do not lose their leaves, the ground is not covered with snow and the soil is still warm enough for plants to grow and some to flower; and that is what my eye is drawn to at this time of year; colour and beauty. What about the uplifting splash of winter colour as one encounters a flame or scarlet robin? I’ve got visits from both these wonderful birds, escaping the harsher winter of the high country of the great divide. Of course only the male of the species comes with the vibrant colour, luckily he is not shy and very happy to show off whilst flitting form fence post to fence post. It can be tricky to tell the flame from the scarlet at first glance, although once you have your ‘eye in’ you wonder how you could have been so ill informed. Has anyone been down to Distillery creek at Aireys Inlet? This is red ironbark country and they are in flower at the moment, clusters of white, pink and red flowers hanging from the bell shaped calyces. The bush is alive with the calls of birds, busy there. The harsh voices of Wattle Birds and the shattering of smaller honeyeaters are all to be heard. So too are the varied notes of parrots which ofter pick off the flowers in hundreds, carpeting the ground under the trees.

Winter orchids are appearing in great numbers, not strictly colour, but always an exciting find. Rosettes of nodding greenhoods (Pterostylis nutans), probably our most widespread orchid if undisturbed, forms large leafy patches. The leaves have a delightful wavy edge, keep an eye out for them. I have also seen some tall greenhoods emerging (Pterostylis melagramma), not yet in flower, but it won’t be long. Ok, I admit not the sexiest of the orchids, some might say they resemble tall grass, but that’s the joy...finding them unexpectedly doing their own thing amongst the tangle of wire grass and bracken. Not as many fungi this year due to the late break. Usually we have a carpet of fly agaric (Amarita muscaria) along the road verge next to the pine trees, not this year, but deeper in the wet Otway forest there is a variety of gilled, bracket, corals, fans and jellies of the most amazing variation of sizes and colours. What I have been close to and intimate with this season are the black wallabies and the eastern grey kangaroos who disliked the late autumn break as much as us farmers. Hungry and malnourished they came to graze on our roadsides and in our paddocks. Despite competing with them for feed for the cattle the joy they have given me, watching their daily activities and parenting, has well and truly compensated. One joey was spotted amusing him or herself by magpie chasing for hours. So pull on your wellies, drag out a warm coat, get out there, spot yourself an Correa reflexa with its gorgeous tubular bell flowers, find a carnivorous scented sundew, be delighted by a flash of red and green king parrot. Have the senses filled by the happy croaking of our frogs, listen for the eastern common froglet winding its watch, the spotted marsh frog knocking two sticks together or the pobblebonk well....pobblebonking!! Have fun!

There is also colour to be found in the wattles. More species start to flower, and more abundantly, as we approach spring .

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The Spot-tailed Quoll The Spot-tailed Quoll, or Tiger Quoll, is the largest marsupial carnivore remaining on mainland Australia. Similar in size to a domestic cat, they are easily recognised by their reddish-brown coat that is covered in distinct white spots which extend over the animal’s body and down its long tail. Spot-tailed Quolls are forestdwelling animals that live in a wide range of habitats, from rainforest to sub-alpine woodland. They require large areas to find enough food to survive and raise their young – each female quoll occupies her own patch of forest, her ‘home range’, that is often around 600 hectares, while males live in areas of over 1000 hectares. Spot-tailed Quolls hunt a wide variety of prey, including birds, lizards, frogs and mammals, although medium-sized mammals such as possums, gliders, and rabbits are preferred. Carrion (dead animals) and insects are also eaten. They are excellent climbers and will climb into the canopies of tall eucalypts to hunt possums and gliders while they sleep in their tree hollow dens during the day. An abundance of potential prey is a key factor determining whether a patch of forest is suitable habitat for Spot-tailed Quolls. They shelter and raise their young in dens, which may be in tree hollows, large hollow logs, caves, boulder piles, rock crevices or disused wombat burrows. Each animal uses a number of different dens, so plenty of den sites are also important. Within their home ranges, Spot-tailed Quolls have ‘latrines’ where several animals come to deposit their droppings or scats. Latrines are thought to provide these solitary animals a means of communication without having to come face to face, such as females telling males they are ready to mate, to mark the boundaries of their home ranges, and to let each other know who’s around. Searching for and locating latrines is one method that has been used successfully to locate Spot-tailed Quolls. ‘Detector dogs’, or dogs trained to locate scats, are currently being used in the Otways to search for quolls. Although once widely distributed in south-eastern Australia from Queensland to South Australia and throughout Tasmania, the mainland range of the Spot-tailed Quoll has reduced by 50-90%. The main reason for this decline has been a loss of habitat through clearing for agriculture and urban development. In some areas, remaining patches of forest are just too small to support healthy populations. Forest activities that reduce prey and den sites such as timber harvesting and inappropriate fire regimes degrade remaining habitat. Foxes, cats and wild dogs may compete with quolls for food, and possibly kill them, which may also contribute to declines. In Victoria, the Otway Ranges was once considered one of the species’ strongholds in this state. However, they have undergone a significant decline and although people occasionally report seeing a ‘strange spotted animal’, the last time some hard evidence was found was in 2004 during a survey conducted by a community group. That is until last year when a ‘ginger and white spotted animal that sort of looked like an oversized possum’ jumped onto a back deck in Lorne, and left a scat before wandering off. This scat was collected and DNA tests confirmed the animal was a Spot-tailed Quoll. Another scat was located later that month in the Cape Otway area, this was also confirmed as belonging to a Spot-tailed Quoll. Unfortunately, an extensive follow-up survey in forest between Deans Marsh and Lorne using infrared cameras that are activated when an animal moves within their field of view, failed to photograph any Spottailed Quolls. One animal that was commonly photographed was the feral cat. Feral cats are now common throughout the Otway forests and are a possible threat, particularly to young quolls, which are only around 400 g when they first leave their mothers and would be easily killed by an adult cat. What you can do Because Spot-tailed Quolls need such large areas of forest, land holders can help provide quoll habitat by retaining native vegetation on their properties and replanting areas where vegetation has been removed. Retaining large old trees with hollows and fallen logs will provide dens for Spot-tailed Quolls and their prey.


Foxes may compete with Spot-tailed Quolls for food, or may even kill them. Buried poised baits can effectively control foxes without threatening quolls. ! ! ! ! Keeping dogs and cats indoors or fenced in will avoid any unwanted encounters that could be harmful not only to Spot-tailed Quolls but also to your pets. Spot-tailed Quolls love chooks, and many have lost their lives raiding chook pens. If you live close to forested areas, quollproofing your chook pen will keep your chooks safe and avoid any unwanted attention by quolls.Road-related deaths are not uncommon, particularly of animals scavenging road kill. Being careful when driving through possible Spot-tailed Quoll habitat, particularly at night, will help avoid colliding with a quoll and other wildlife. Report any sightings to your local DEPI office. Spot-tailed Quolls are officially classified as ‘endangered’ and are protected by both state and federal legislation. Any sightings are very important and help direct local conservation effort! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Dr Jenny Nelson, Senior Scientist-Wildlife Ecology, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research

Controlling rabbits with aluminium phosphide tablets

Aluminium phosphide products are classed as ‘Dangerous Goods’, and are generally Class 4.3, 6.1 or both. Diamonds on the reverse of the labels identify Dangerous Goods.

Land owners and managers are legally required to control rabbits on their property under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. Using aluminium phosphide tablets is one way to fumigate rabbit burrows for rabbit control.

Class 4.3 products are “Dangerous When Wet” and Class 6 are “Toxic”, and together this is a potentially hazardous combination.

Aluminium phosphide tablets are supplied in a solid, shelf stable form. When exposed to the humid environment inside a rabbit burrow, the tablets react with moisture in the air to liberate highly toxic phosphine gas. Each 3 gram tablet liberates 1 gram of phosphine gas when it reacts with the moisture in the air. While the Directions for Use are easy to follow, there are a few issues users should be mindful of before using these products: All metallic phosphide products including aluminium phosphide are Schedule 7 Dangerous Poisons, which makes them ‘restricted use’ chemicals in Victoria. The user must hold an Agricultural Chemical User Permit (ACUP), or be working under the direct and immediate supervision of an ACUP holder. Not all aluminium phosphide products are approved for controlling rabbits. As these products are ‘restricted use’ chemicals, they must only be used according to their label directions. Only the following products have approval for use in controlling rabbits: a. Quickphos Fumigation Tablets b. Farmoz Pestex Fumigation Tablets c. Farmalinx Grainpro Fumigation Tablets d. Apparent Phosphine fumigation Tablets.

If aluminium phosphide tablets get wet, under the right combination of conditions, a reaction called ‘deflagration’ may occur. Deflagration is uncontrolled rapid burning which is only slightly less rapid and violent than an explosion. The label statement “DO NOT add water to the tablets” is both legally enforceable and sound advice. The reaction of aluminium phosphide tablets is riskier when they are wet, and even more risky in the presence of a wet acid environment. This makes the recent practice by some of pushing the tablets into an orange and rolling it down the burrow a recipe for potential disaster, as the wet, acid environment inside the orange is more likely to start a deflagration reaction. No rabbit is worth losing your fingers over, and in any case, there is no more phosphine liberated by the tablets stuffed in an orange than if they were simply placed down the burrow and the entrance sealed. The moral of this story is to apply the principles of Integrated Pest Management, use an aluminium phosphide product approved for rabbit control and to use the product according to the label directions. Alan Roberts - Plant and Chemical Operations


reprinted with permission from DEPI Chemical Industry News No. 75 Summer/Autumn 2013


Photos clockwise from top left - Bird watching in Gerangamete, African MTG participant graduate, Trees for Mum plantings in Birregurra, removing Quoll from cage trap, Impressive permaculture in the Kabale district with 20 different food crops.

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Tree Talk Autumn/Winter 2013  

New Landcare Group formed!

Tree Talk Autumn/Winter 2013  

New Landcare Group formed!