1 September 2015

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Counting all creatures, great and small

Roadside resting: A record will be made of all creatures within the Western Port Biosphere area for one week during October. These tawny frogmouths spend daylight hours in a tree overhanging a road. Picture: Keith Platt

AN unusual census is being organised by the Western Port Biosphere. Schools, community groups and individuals are being asked to record sightings of animals, birds, reptiles, plants and insects for one week next month. The 2142 square kilometre biosphere covers the municipalities of Frankston, Mornington Peninsula, Casey, Cardinia and Bass Coast as well as French Island. The Lifesearch program – “citizen science in action” – is designed to increase knowledge about biodiversity within the biosphere and how to manage and protect it for the future. The Western Port Biosphere contains national and marine parks, rural agriculture and urbangrowth areas and its flora and fauna – including breeding colonies of the little penguins, koalas, Australian fur seal and short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) – are seen as major draw cards for visitors. The biosphere is also home to rare, threatened and vulnerable species such as the endangered southern brown bandicoot and hooded plover. Western Port is listed under the Convention

on Wetlands of International Importance as habitat for migratory species under the Ramsar Convention. The biosphere - designated in 2002 under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program is seeking expressions of interest for up to five honorary positions on its board with the terms of half the current board members expiring in November. Candidates should have experience in environment or natural resources, strategic or business planning, tourism, communications, marketing, or financial management. The Board also wants to hear from people with experience in not-for-profit administration and governance, community engagement, education and research, commercial law, arts and culture. The biosphere’s role is to “foster conservation and sustainable development by facilitating partnerships to create an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future for Western Port”. Applications for board membership close 15 September. Details: www.biosphere.org.au Keith Platt

Green living options on show at The Briars FOR more than a decade, Sustainable House Day has allowed thousands to visit leading “green” homes that are environmentally friendly, cheap to run and comfortable to live in. Visitors to Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Eco Living Display Centre on Sunday 13 September can get inspiration and ideas, see sustainable upgrades and take part in workshops “Going Solar” and “Create a sustainable home”. The centre, at The Briars, Mt

Martha, is retrofitted to display a range of sustainable ideas, including solar passive design, thermal mass, solar power and wind power, solar hot water, ventilation and devices to save “stand-by” power. The centre will show a range of options for insulation, window coverings, glazing, energy-efficient lighting and appliances and water-efficiency measures. The garden has a range of rainwater tanks, drip-fed irrigation, compost

and a worm farm, raingarden, no-dig garden beds and wicking beds. Workshops: Going solar - 10am-noon. Find out about generating power from the sun. Learn about different solar power and solar hot water systems, potential energy savings and options for managing your power. Bookings essential, 5987 3078. The cost is $15. Create a sustainable home 1-2.30pm. Learn about the most sustainable building choices for your

home. Discover energy efficient products, including heating and cooling systems, windows and building materials. Bookings essential, 5987 3078. Cost $15. Free tours of the Eco Centre 10am3pm. The Briars Eco Living Display Centre is at 450 Nepean Highway, Mt Martha. Details: mornpen.vic.gov.au; sustainablehouseday.com for other open houses.

Energy saver: The Eco Living Display Centre at The Briars.

Western Port News 1 September 2015

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